In Our Own Backyard - Nature Immersion for Youth...and Parents!
Parent Chaperone Fanny Falcon stands with her son Jeremy and three classmates from Waldo Rohnert Elementary School, proudly showing off "Bob," a Native Hazelnut the group planted as part of their Stewardship Day at Jacob's Ranch with the In Our Own Backyard Program (IOOBY).
Fanny Falcon and her son's class "adopted" Jacob's Ranch (the Sonoma Mountain North Slope, soon to become an open Regional Park) for the entire school year. Over the course of four themed visits, the group discovered Pacific Giant Salamanders living in the headwaters of Matanzas Creek, planted native understory in the redwood grove, and trekked up to the open grasslands and the "Umbrella Tree" where expansive views knock the socks off even the most avid Sonoma County hiker. "You could fly off this mountain!" said one student, when seeing the view for the first time. Another was nearly speechless and simply said: "Whooa."
At the end of the year, and on her last visit to Jacob's Ranch, Fanny Falcon wrote the following note about her experience with the IOOBY Program:
"This has been one of the most amazing field trips I ever shared with my son Jeremy. I learned a lot, even though I missed the first hike. I really want to do this more often with my family and friends. Take it as an invitation!"
The In Our Own Backyard Program can be a life-altering experience for hundreds of Sonoma County children each year - as it offers them a unique opportunity to connect deeply over time with a protected property near where they live. That this transformative experience, in the case of Fanny and Jeremy, has leaped beyond the individual student, and into the family sphere, is another success for LandPaths.
LandPaths recognizes family as a critical shaper of life-long habits - influencing everything from the food we eat to how we spend our hard-earned free time. LandPaths enhances family experiences by bringing them outdoors with IOOBY (and many other family-oriented programs) to explore and connect with the land where we live.
In Our Own Backyard brings nearly 1,000 children and over 150 Parent Volunteers outdoors each year, over the course of four, full-day field trips - truly adopting a protected property through learning and stewardship. Opportunities abound for these students and families to take that "next step" into the great outdoors with LandPaths - be it through returning to their adopted property on their own, signing up for Owl Camp, participating in our Family Outings series, obtaining a Willow Creek Permit, or even becoming a volunteer.
We accept your invitation, or challenge, Fanny, to continue offering innovative opportunities for everyone to find and pursue their own connection to Sonoma County's Big Outside. And in turn invite you (all of you) to join us, and see what happens!
Click here for more information about the LandPaths' In Our Own Backyard Program.
Click here for information on the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District - generous supporters of Waldo Rohnert and many other Sonoma County schools who visit Open Space protected properties with the In Our Own Backyard Progam.
Contents (c) 2008 by Land Partners Through Stewardship (Landpaths) Site Credits