AT&T presents a generous contribution to Wild Earth in support of transformative nature immersion experiences for Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh’s teens.
Pictured above (from left to right are Row 1: Brittany Diaz, Ciara Ortega, Heather Hines (Teen Program Director), Ariana Rodriguez, Jaslyn Martinez, Tiffany Niles (Youth Program Technician, Orange County Youth Bureau), Ed Bergstraesser (Director of External Affairs, AT&T), David Brownstein (Executive Director, Wild Earth), Kevin White (Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh), Jennifer Schwartz Berky (Hone Strategic LLC, Development Consulting), LashJanae Walker, Casey Caldwell, Paola Martinez-Brant Row 2: Briana Harrigan, Simone Green, Ashanti Patterson, Alira Jones, Briana Honora, Paul Hager, Malachi Motley, Archie Stackhouse, Nathaniel Jones, Mariah Henry
The program provides teens the opportunity to venture into the woods at Scenic Hudson’s Snake Hill with Wild Earth instructors to learn nature skills such as friction fire, shelter building, wild-crafting, outdoor cooking, and other nature awareness and team building skills among other educational experiences. Wild Earth has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh and Scenic Hudson to bring high school teens into the woods for the past two years and with AT&T’s support, even more is now possible for the participating teens.
Wild Earth provides programs that draw on a broad spectrum of teachings ranging from native technologies to the natural sciences. The programs offer adventure and fun, primitive skills and crafts, awareness games, and story and song, facilitated by multi-generational mentors. They foster individual and group awareness and a deeper connection to the Earth. Since its founding in 2004, Wild Earth has engaged thousands of people in the Hudson Valley region in empowering nature immersion programs with inspiring mentors.
“Playing outdoors and in the woods used to be part of every child’s daily experience. Unfortunately, many youth do not live in that reality, especially those from Newburgh and other urban areas in our region, and thanks to the support from AT&T, we will be able to offer these types of experiential educational experiences for more children that otherwise would not have the opportunity,” David Brownstein, Wild Earth’s Executive Director
“We couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with Wild Earth. It will give our Teen Club members a unique opportunity to make a connection with the natural world and learn valuable outdoor skills. More importantly, these programs allow our youth to discover something within themselves, whether it’s a skill they didn’t know they had or conquering a fear; that is something they will carry with them for life,” Krysta Kroohs, Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Club
When Scenic Hudson heard that Wild Earth was working with Newburgh’s youth, they offered their protected Snake Hill land for its use. These Newburgh students are exploring land in their own back yard which offers incredible vistas of the Hudson River. Brownstein added, “It is quite appropriate that these young people have a grander and more expanded vision of the world in front of them. We can thank Snake Hill and Scenic Hudson for that!”
AT&T’s support for this program grows out of AT&T’s commitment to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $350 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers.
As a child Simon spent countless hours exploring the forest, streams and wetlands of his neighborhood in NJ. Simon has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont where he focused on the relationship between a healthy human psyche and a vibrant natural world. He has staffed and studied with various wilderness schools throughout the Northeast including the Institute for Natural Learning, White Pine Programs and the Vermont Wilderness School. When he’s not in the woods, Simon is designing and building websites and other internet solutions. More about Simon's work.