Christy Stumbo – Outdoor Educator at Mount Hermon Outdoor Science School (Santa Cruz, CA)
Every week, I lead a trail group of 10-15 students — usually 6th graders, but sometimes 7th or 8th — during their week of outdoor science school. There are 4 main classes all the naturalists teach: producers/ecosystems, consumers, creek, and the climbing wall in addition to a 6 hour adventure hike down in the redwoods! Every night there is a night activity, including a night hike where each student gets to hike solo for a few minutes. Basically, I get to hang out with kids and teach them about nature and get excited about science as I share with them about local trees and shrubs, what makes a healthy creek, facing fears, animal adaptations, and kissing banana slugs. It’s fantastic!
After being a part of the environmental leadership program doing environmental ed last year, I realized how much I enjoy teaching middle schoolers and sharing with them the wonders of nature. Most of the kids we get are from low income families and have never spent much time in nature. It is incredible how excited they get about seeing a squirrel jumping from tree to tree! I love sharing those moments of wonder with them.