“This is the best field trip in the world!” said one Washington D.C. student. “I wish we could do this everyday!”
This was just one of the many positive reviews during two weeks this October, when Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile helped get more than 1,400 underserved youth out on the water in Washington D.C. The successful campaign to get kids canoeing occurred because of a variety of partnerships, but two really stood out.
Since 2009, the National Park Trust has been working to cultivate the next generation of park stewards through its Buddy Bison program. The organization designates Buddy Bison schools and helps to provide students in those institutions with park experiences that align with classroom curricula. As of this year, the Buddy Bison program has 65 Title 1 schools, which are learning institutions with high percentages of children from low-income families. Eighteen of those schools exist in the nation’s capital. During Canoemobile’s two weeks in D.C., the National Park Trust worked hand in hand with Wilderness Inquiry to get kids out on the water and to land-based learning stations, including one that featured lessons with live raptors. The National Park Trust’s planning—combined with Canoemobile’s resources, instructors, and know how—helped expose a whole new generation to the importance of D.C.’s urban waterways.
In the middle of Canoemobile’s visit to D.C., the Outdoors Alliance for Kids helped to highlight the Every Kid in a Park program by paddling the Potomac with 70 fourth graders from public schools. On October 24, representatives handed out free national park passes to the students. The day included a variety of partners helping out—including the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, The North Face, and the National Park Trust. It was just one of many days on the Potomac that exposed children to a whole new view of their city.
“A lot of kids talked about how cool it was to see D.C. from the river,” said Julia Schweitzer, a Wilderness Inquiry outdoor leader. “We got to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Watergate Building, and the Kennedy Center—all combined with seeing turtles, great blue herons, and cormorants along the river.”
To give you a better idea of the great time the children had learning outside in Washington D.C., scroll through our photo gallery below.
Want to help bring Canoemobile back to D.C.? Please donate here.