By Matt Gaboury
Outdoor families are happier families, a new study from the University of Illinois shows. Spending time in nature as a family has numerous health, behavioral, and bonding benefits, but finding time to get outside together can be tough, and knowing what to do once there can be even tougher. That's why Riveredge Nature Center is starting brand new Family Nature Clubs in Ozaukee, Washington, and Sheboygan Counties.
Family Nature Clubs meet once a month, and are organized by experienced leaders who take charge of coordinating activities for the group. They will introduce families to new natural areas in their own communities, and provide families a dedicated time each month to focus on connecting with each other and their communities. The expansion of the clubs follows a successful pilot year at Riveredge Nature Center.
"We have made the conscious effort to expand family nature clubs throughout Southeastern Wisconsin in order to meet families where they are. By providing a loose structure and guidance of a naturalist, we hope to help parents build confidence taking their children outdoors, while inspiring the whole family to seek out the natural spaces in their very own backyard. Nature is all around us, sometimes we just need a little help to experience it," Cassie Bauer, Family and Community Programs Manager at Riveredge explains.
Clubs start in September. The Ozaukee County chapter's first meeting is at the Feith Family YMCA in Port Washington on September 8th from 6 to 7:30 PM, the Washington County club meets at the West Bend School District Outdoor Classroom on September 15th from 6 to 7:30 PM, the Riveredge club meets for it's second year at the nature center starting September 20th from 5:30 to 7 PM, and the Sheboygan County chapter meets at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan on September 27th from 5 to 6:30 PM. More details, the full club schedule, and information on RSVPing can be found at riveredgenaturecenter.org/family-nature-clubs/.
About Riveredge Nature Center
For nearly fifty years, Riveredge Nature Center has been a pioneer in engaging people with the natural world. Its 379 acres of restored wild Wisconsin ecosystems, 10 miles of trails for adventuring, and a legacy of hundreds of thousands of kids transformed by a deeply intimate interaction with nature are a testament to Riveredge's passion for this cause. That passion continues today through the building of a movement to bring the great outdoors to families, schools and neighborhoods.