TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; A new nature trail at Granlibakken west of Tahoe City allows parents to introduce their children to nature in an entertaining and educational manner.
The half-mile discovery trail features a variety of stations designed to teach children about the lifestyles and habitats of animals. By combining active elements, where children crawl, jump and run with opportunities to explore and observe interesting natural phenomena, it simultaneously caters to a childand#8217;s need for physical exertion and desire to learn about the natural world.
A gathering of tree stumps encourages youths of all ages to hop from place to place while pondering a frogand#8217;s mode of transportation. A set of and#8220;critter coversand#8221; and#8212; hinged lids that open up to reveal salamanders and millipedes and#8212; teach young ones about the habitats of crawling creatures.
The trail was built by volunteers from around the country, who assemble every year at a wilderness destination to learn about, enjoy and give back to the environment. This year Family Nature Summits selected Lake Tahoe for its week-long program.
During the week, participants of all ages hike, kayak, bird-watch and participate in a variety of other activities designed to teach them about the ecology and culture of the area.
Each participant dedicates a few hours to a community service project decided upon by the groupand#8217;s leadership. Since the program attracts hundreds of attendees each year, this small investment of individual time is multiplied into a considerable labor force. Past projects include planting trees in Utahand#8217;s Wasatch National Forest, removing invasive vegetation in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and maintaining trails in wilderness areas.
This yearand#8217;s community service project was designed and led by Liz Brownlee, a conservation educator and longtime summiteer.
and#8220;The Discovery Trail is a space for kids to connect with nature, to see its wonders, and to have fun. That connection with nature is incredibly valuable for kids because it stimulates creativity, confidence, respect and so much more. Nature benefits, too, because each child playing in the woods is one more person who cares for the land, who wants to see it protected for the next generations,and#8221; Brownlee said.
For more information or to register visit www.familysummits.org.
Family Nature Summits are an outgrowth of the Conservation Summits sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation for 35 years. In 2006, an independent volunteer agency was formed to carry on this legacy. As a 501(c)(3), the new organization has held successful summits in North Carolina and Oregon, attracting several hundred participants to each.