Since our founding in 2004, we’ve seen how nature immersion experiences led by outstanding mentors motivates learning, leadership, and an orientation towards service. Wild Earth experiences create caring, compassionate, resilient young adults and future leaders.
In 2015, Wild Earth began a partnership with the Kingston City School District to deliver transformative, confidence building experiences to the underserved district’s students.
Beginning in the fall fall of 2017, the partnership has expanded into a multi-year nature connection and experiential education project for both of Kingston’s public middle schools.
The Kingston Middle School Nature Connection & Experiential Education Project will provide students with 20 contact days of Wild Earth programming including:
1) A fall and spring full-day nature immersion field trip,
2) “Guided recess” during the school day for all, each week,
3) An after-school program each week for 40 economically disadvantaged students,
4) A teacher development day where teachers experience the same “day in the woods” as their students; and
5) A peer mentoring program for high school students who have graduated the program.
Year 1 will target the 500 fifth graders of Kingston School District’s two middle schools with the entire program. For continuity with last year’s experience (a smaller scale pilot of the project which included last year’s fifth grade classes), the 6th grade will also receive the fall field trip and guided recess throughout the year (a total of 1,000 students).
Year 2 will expand the full program to include all fifth and sixth graders (1,000 students);
Year 3 will include all fifth, sixth, and seventh graders in the program (1,500 students);
Year 4 will include all middle school students (fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth) (2,000 students).
Over the course of the 4-year project, our research partner, The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz will conduct a study to measure our achievement of the following outcomes:
1. Develop and nurture the inner character of students through activities that enhance gratitude, empathy, curiosity, passion and purpose.
2. Strengthen and support the social health and wellbeing of students through activities that encourage positive behavior and enhance authentic connection and relationship building.
3. Regenerate healthy and whole communities by encouraging students to practice strong leadership oriented toward community service and good citizenship.
Wild Earth leads transformative nature immersion experiences that cultivate character, confidence, passion and perseverance in New York’s youth.
At Wild Earth, children and adults head into the woods and off the trails, where they meet plants and animals, learn wilderness skills, create natural crafts, and build deep connections with friends and inspiring mentors. These programs build curiosity, passion and purpose, and foster an orientation toward service and a sense of belonging to community and to the Earth. With strong character and meaningful connections, Wild Earth youth are well prepared to achieve individual excellence, become agents of positive change and thrive individually and in society.
Wild Earth’s programs are designed to remember and return to our natural human blueprint to form strong connections to self, each other and the Earth. We offer unique, empowering outdoor experiences that help us each grow physically, emotionally and socially. Likewise, at a time when our planet requires diligent and proactive care, Wild Earth’s programs foster gratitude, respect, and a renewed commitment to taking care of the Earth.
Since our founding in 2004, Wild Earth has engaged thousands of people in the Hudson Valley region (NY) in empowering nature immersion programs with inspiring mentors.
September 2019 Update:
This fall we’re excited to be back in the woods and in the schools with the 5th, 6th, and 7th graders from Kingston’s Bailey and Miller Middle Schools. Check out some photos from our guided recess programming.
April 2019 Update:
This spring we’re piloting a similar program for Ellenville Middle School students, this fall we piloted the same program from Rondout’s Middle School students.
March 2019 Update:
Looks like we’ll be returning to the Kingston elementary school where we first started our work in public schools. This spring, Wild Earth will be offering guided recess and afterschool experiences at JFK Elementary.
February 2019 Update:
We’re so glad to be back in the Kingston Middle Schools for guided recess and after-school programs!
November 2018 Update:
The results are in from the first year of the Benjamin Center’s independent study on our four-year project. The first year’s findings are extremely encouraging! 3x fewer disciplinary incidents, increased positive peer interaction, confidence, perseverance, empathy, and comfort in nature and more!
October 2018 Update:
It’s been a rainy fall, but it’s been a blast to be in the woods! An extra treat has been seeing so many 5th and 6th graders sporting last year’s Wild Earth t-shirt!
September 2018 Update:
We’re so excited to be back in the woods with Kingston’s 5th and 6th graders. Field trips have started and it’s been so wonderful to see students returning for their second year of the Wild Earth field trip.
June 2018 Update:
What a great first year! We partnered with teachers to help kids succeed, creating tie-ins between our program and their curriculum. Guided recess hit it’s stride! And we launched the independent research study to assess the true impact of our programs. This summer we’re excited for our first-ever Wild Earth Camp in Kingston, providing another opportunity for students to deepen connection to nature and one another.
March 2018 Update:
We’re back in the school yards for Wild Earth’s guided recess with the 5th and 6th grades at Kingston’s Miller and Bailey Middle Schools. Balancing on portable tree stumps and playing tug-of-war, sneaking in and out of a circle to snatch a prize from a blindfolded guardian, or chasing one another around and blowing off steam, we’re so glad to be back outside with Kingston’s middle school students.
December 2017 Update:
Wow! We’ve already completed 21 full-day field trips and 17 days of guided recess & afterschool — more than 1,000 Kingston middle school students are regularly experiencing the magic of Wild Earth. It’s been amazing to see students getting so engaged. The magic is happening. Our incredible instructors + Kingston’s phenomenal youth = inspiring, multi-sensory creative alchemy.
October 2017 Update:
In September every 6th grade student in the Kingston Middle Schools has joined Wild Earth for a day of firemaking, campfire cooking, wild edibles, awareness games, wilderness handicraft, and good ole fashioned fun in the great outdoors. It was amazing to see the students bursting with enthusiasm, joy, and confidence after a day in the woods! Now that it’s October here come the 5th graders!
October 2017 Update:
The special needs classes came out this month, check out this note from one of the teachers:
September 2017 Update:
The impact study is a go! The Benjamin Center of SUNY New Paltz will be working with the Kingston Schools to measure the impact of our programming. Meanwhile, our instructors are practicing their tarp setup skills, wet-wood firemaking, and knife sharpening! Starting in mid-September, Wild Earth will have more than 69 days in the field with Kingston Middle Schoolers!
June 2017 Update:
The Kingston School District was thrilled with the initial results of the recess pilot. Each day of the pilot, approximately five hundred 5th and 6th graders spent recess learning, playing and exploring with Wild Earth instructors. Read more…
March 2017 Update:
This spring, the Kingston project is expanding to include an 8 day pilot of Wild Earth’s recess and after-school programming.
October 2016 Update:
“It was one of the most positive field trips I have ever been on.”
— Kingston Middle School Teacher
This fall, more than 750 Kingston students (every 5th grader from Miller and Bailey Middle Schools plus 6th graders from Miller) ventured into the woods for our Back To School, Back To Nature program.