Wild Earth is currently working in close collaboration with the Kingston City School District to provide nature immersion and school based experiences that engage students in cultivating character and confidence, growing social and emotional health and well-being, and encouraging leadership oriented toward community service.
If you’re a school leader interested in this kind of project, please contact our Executive Director, Omari Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Earth and Kingston City School District’s partnership began in 2015 with a pilot after-school program at JFK Elementary. From there, school leaders requested support for the rising 5th graders’ transition from elementary to middle school. They wanted to offer a chance for students to get off school campus and form strong connections with their classmates and teachers. On land preserved by Scenic Hudson just minutes from the schools, Wild Earth began facilitating team-building and nature connection experience field trips for all 5th grade Kingston school students.
Since then, we’ve added guided recess and after-school programs for Kingston’s Bailey and Miller middle schools, as well as JFK and GW Elementary. At these programs, Wild Earth staff provide students with opportunities to engage and learn about the natural world that surrounds them while supporting their social and emotional development. More recently we’ve partnered with Kingston High School to offer a Wild Earth internship, where students join as role-models and support staff at the elementary afterschool programs, receiving both competitive pay and sometimes high school credit. In the first year, 70 KHS students expressed interest in the internship and 6 were selected.
We look forward to a future with exciting opportunities to nurture and empower youth of all ages through accessible nature connection programs. As students experience our developmentally-driven, sensory-rich programming throughout the grades, they find a sense of comfort, belonging, and agency as valuable community contributors. We are inspired by student voices, and we remain committed to uplifting them through initiatives like our emergent partnership with JFK’s student government. As we continue building organizational capacity, we look forward to considering the needs and interests of other districts throughout our region.