Mr. Durand! Mr. Durand! Did you see me in a CANOE!?
Scream the many excited 6th graders as they exit their Voyageur canoes. Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile has been making a stop in Galt, CA for the last four years during our Spring Tour. With the help of local organizations and educators, Galt has easily been one of the most popular stops on the tour.
John Durand works for Galt Unified Schools and the Cosumnes River Preserve, an organization who helps get students from the surrounding area into the outdoors. Along with John and the Preserve, our local partners keep multiplying. This year, Canoemobile worked with the Mosquito and Vector Control, Galt Unified Schools, Sacramento County Parks and the Bureau of Land Management. To say our programming days wouldn’t be the same without them would be an understatement. Students rotate through educational, land-based stations facilitated by our local partners, learning everything from plant identification, to mountaineering with homemade compasses, to bird watching in the local area.
Once going through these stations, students are then greeted by Wilderness Inquiry Outdoor Leaders who welcome them into their boat groups. Smiling faces are all around as we teach students different paddle strokes, fit PFDs and prepare them to canoe.
Once on the water, students put their recently gained knowledge to work! As they paddle together along in the Preserve, students can hardly contain their excitement as they tell their boat captains everything they learned during their land-based stations.
Did you know mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water!?
Swallowers fly with their mouths open so they can catch their food and just swallow it right away!
While paddling in the Cosumnes River Preserve, we see animals such as Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, River Otters, and many turtles. From students’ land based stations to paddling, students experience the wetland in full circle.
During our Farewell Circle before saying goodbye, we ask the students to share something they learned or felt today they may not have noticed before. One students recalls;
For my minute of silence I felt calm and relaxed; so calm and relaxed that I thought if I ever felt bad or sad, if I could just remember this moment, all of my problems would go away.
Wilderness Inquiry wouldn’t be able to connect with these students in the Sacramento area if it wasn’t for our partners who support us along the way. So, Thank You. Thank you for always welcoming us into your community and continuing to support Canoemobile for the years to come!
-Angie Banks, Outdoor Leader