A School Year Reckoning: Good News

In addition to many other grades, more than 200 3rd graders (including this batch ) explored natural systems at Boxerwood this fall.

Although Boxerwood’s school outreach ended earlier than we anticipated, there’s still plenty to crow about. It was a fine year for Project NEST (Nurturing Environmental Stewardship Together). Within the past six busy months:

  • We connected 207 preK – HS classrooms to nature-based learning at Boxerwood, by rivers, in schoolyards—and even the Chesapeake Bay. Collectively, these 2,500+ children learned how to navigate woods, identify birds, use trowels, gather field data, protect rivers, reduce waste, plant monarch habitat, raise trout, and more.
  • We provided months of 4 days/week afterschool programming for 4 high-need (low-income) schools: Hiking Clubs, Bird Clubs, EarthArt, STEM, Recycling, we gave it our all, enriching the lives of 200+ local children.
  • We launched a 1-day, 5-park clean-up with 200 7th graders, piloted student eco-councils with two middle schools, hosted our first youth summit (NEST FEST 2020), and with two RCHS teachers, created a year-long conservation curriculum for more than a hundred high school juniors and seniors.
  • We shared what we’re doing and learning via local television, video, social media, print, and at state and regional conferences.
  • We persevered!

So who is this “We?” It’s all of us: school partners, community partners, Boxerwood volunteer instructors, our 3 staff educators & seasonal help, and especially Boxerwood members and donors. Your gifts and support have kept this whole hopeful enterprise thriving and growing.

Taking a pause for now, we are buoyed by the strong community root system beneath our flourishing.  And we look forward to more shoots and fruits in time to come. Meanwhile, we invite you to take heart in our ever-onwards endeavor, recalling with gratitude all the little seeds together we planted this year.

7th graders from Maury River MS plant crocus bulbs (very enthusiastically!) at the Glasgow Boat Launch as part of a service challenge.