Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On the farm, trail or forest, Common Ground gets kids outside

This fall, Common Ground school will open its doors to children and young people, ages 6-16, for a full slate of new after-school programs – all providing safe, active opportunities to get out into the natural world, educators said.

“Every child deserves a chance to explore the outdoors,” Rebecca Holcombe, Common Ground’s Director of Community Programs said in a release. “At a time when some families don’t feel safe letting their kids go out and play after school, New Haven young people are missing out on chances to be active, have fun, and learn. Common Ground is aiming to help fill that gap.”

Some fall programs begin as soon as next week, and all continue through November. With the start of programs around the corner, Common Ground welcomes children and young people into each of the following programs:

- Eco-Explorers experience the harvest season on the farm and the autumn forest.
Ages 6-10: Wednesdays, October 29, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 3:30-5:30.

- In Nature Arts Workshop, curious and creative children use the farm and forest at Common Ground as inspiration for seasonal artwork and writing.
Ages 8-10: Thursdays, October 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, 3:30-5:30.
Ages 11-14: Wednesdays, October 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 3:30-5:30.

- Farmer’s Helper welcomes all kids who love animals and enjoy being outside on the farm and in the garden.
Ages 6-8: Mondays, September 29, October 6, 20, 27, November 3, 3:30-5:30.
Ages 9-12: Tuesdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 3:30-5:30.

- TrailTeam Service Club members will maintain trails and participate in community service projects in West Rock Park.
Ages 11-16: Mondays & Fridays, November 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 3:30-5:30.

- Students in West Rock Rangers meet new people, spend time with friends, and have outdoor adventures as they learn outdoor skills and natural history topics.
Ages 11-14: Monthly meetings take place September 4, October 2, November 6, December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, and June 4.

Enrollment in all fall programs is open now, and pre-registration is required. Families interested registering or in learning more can visit http://www.commongroundct.org/, or call Rebecca Holcombe at 203.389.4333 x1213. The Web site includes information on registration fees, specific program content, and other critical information, along with information on many other upcoming Common Ground programs.

Common Ground is:
· An environmental education center, offering programs that connect people of all ages with the natural world while helping them develop habits of sustainable living.
· Connecticut’s only charter high school focused on the environment, preparing students for both success in college and environmental leadership.
· An urban demonstration farm, modeling practices of sustainable agriculture and contributing to a healthy food system for New Haven residents.
· A 20-acre laboratory for environmental research, sustainable living, the study of natural and human history, and community-building.
As a whole, Common Ground is a center for environmental learning and leadership located in New Haven. It is a place where all members of the community – young and elementary-aged children, middle and high school students, the general public, and environmental practitioners – can find connections to the local environment, each other, and opportunities for learning and engagement.

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