BENEFITING: COLUMBIA GORGE ECOLOGY INSTITUTE
We're currently seeking funding to continue, and potentially expand, the Gorge Explorers program in the summer of 2015, and beyond. All donations are tax deductible and will be recognized with a thank you letter. Donors providing $500 or more will be invited to join us on a Bald Eagle float trip in early spring on the Klickitat River.
Gorge Explorers is a free place-based and experiential education program focused on providing out of school opportunities for youth in the Columbia Gorge in order to build connections between community and the local landscape through active hands-on-learning and stewardship projects. During a 6 week long summer camp, elementary school youth are provided with in-depth learning related to the ecology of their own backyards.
High school students not only act as mentors for the elementary school students, but also engage in servicing learning projects that enhance their connections to the local landscape and to the possibilities of careers in the field of conservation. High school mentors are chosen on a competitive basis and have expressed an interest in a career working with children, promoting environmental awareness, and/or conducting scientific research.
The program is designed as an early intervention program for students that are not meeting academic benchmarks, specifically in reading, math, and language arts. We have been privy to statistics showing notable improvements on state test scores for the elementary youth that attend as well as higher academic achievement, not only in the following year but in subsequent years as well. High school mentors have also found increased employment opportunities with local agencies and organizations.
Combining real science, experiential learning, youth engagement, stewardship, and a place-based approach, Gorge Explorers provides a unique crossroads of learning that bridges conservation and community through education.
For every $2,000 raised our Executive Director, Drew Eastman, has agreed to celebrate by jumping into various bodies of water within the Columbia River Gorge! He'll be recording and sharing each time that he takes the plunge, so stay tuned.