More than 420 children enjoyed camps at our 4 sites this summer, with ¾ of those campers getting to be the first to experience the new land.
Despite a few last minute curve balls, the summer started off joyfully on our new land at 175 Rock Haven Road in Kerhonkson!
The new paths, bridge, and culvert quickly became known to little feet! Materials were harvested from the forest to serve various needs.
Colorful crafts occupied campers’ fingers, quickly passing the time. The small bands of children again dreamed up names for their crews, which included the Buzzing Mosquitos, the Fire Foxes, and the Jello Dragons!
Our youngest campers spent time practicing their ninja skills – moving quietly through the woods by “fox walking.”
Wanders through the land uncovered bountiful blueberry bushes that were quickly gobbled, leaving stained lips and hands. Some wondered, between bites, how they could bring these treasures home to their families.
Luckily, enjoying the land wasn’t only reserved for the campers. Everyone who came for a Family Visit Day, or to walk the land with David, was able to wade into the cool waters of the Stonykill, catch glimpses of children running wild, and witness the large trees that had been felled, shaped, and placed as the mighty pillars of the future open-air pavilion that will be our Welcome Center.
The heart of the summer was the coming together of old and new camp families, friends, supporters and neighbors at Arrowood Farm Brewery for Wild Earth’s Sweet 16 – a celebration of sixteen years of nature connection in the Hudson Valley! As the late summer sun welcomed everyone to the farm, a scene unfolded full of parents catching up, children playing lawn games, flowing beverages, popcorn snacking, sweet and savory smells of food trucks, and raucous melodies of both rock and brass bands!
The best part was that after thunderstorms passed through, threatening to end the event, people stayed!
We are so grateful for all of our volunteers, those who contributed to our raffle, and the many business supporters who continue to help make Wild Earth possible! The list could be endless, but special thanks to the following businesses for helping to make our party a great success: Arrowood Brewery, Bjorn Qorn, Duo Bistro, Farmers and Chefs, Nancy’s of Woodstock, Bardavon/UPAC, The Outside Institute, Clove & Creek, Dina Falconi, The Big Cheese, P&G Restaurant, Skydive the Ranch, Acorn Waldorf School, Mountain Top Waldorf School, Woodstock Music Shop, Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, Brasskill & Yard Sale.
We can’t wait to connect and celebrate with you all next summer, but thankfully we have some great opportunities to do so before that through our year-round programs for youth and adults!
Join us this fall to learn some new skills and to build community!
Sweet 16 photos by Jesse Brown
Omari Washington identified his purpose in 2004, during a backpacking & paddling trip above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Despite emerging evidence, at that time few people were willing to believe climatologists’ warnings that humans were negatively impacting our planet. Hiking across the melting permafrost, Omari witnessed the significant changes already taking place. Moreover, he knew that many marginalized communities would be disproportionately affected by our inaction. After returning from that trip, Omari attended Green Mountain College in Vermont and received a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Since then, he has led hikes in urban parks, managed diverse teams of environmental educators, built school gardens, developed curricula, and helped plant 1,000,000 trees in New York City. The focus of all of this work has been to engage and empower youth in developing deep connections to nature, centered around their own unique experiences. Omari is grateful to be welcomed into the Wild Earth community, where young leaders are growing wild! More about Omari's work.