MIDDLEFIELD — Middlefield’s own Independent Day School is going to be bringing kids into nature this summer.
Recipients of the Rockfall Foundation’s Fostering Future Environmental Stewards grant, IDS will be operating a summer camp they’ve named the Love Your Earth Summer Program. The program will run for two weeks during the summer for 24 kids in grades two through four from Middlefield, Durham and Middletown.
“The goal of the Love Your Earth Summer Program is to engage students ages six – nine in real-world, hands-on, place-based learning that give them opportunities to enjoy the natural world and to impact the natural world through their own agency,” said Head of School Marijke Kehrhahn.
IDS was awarded $6,000 from the foundation – $2,000 of which will be used once a year for the next three summers to run their program.
“IDS has gotten grants from us in prior years...it’s something that we like to fund,” said Rockfall Foundation Grants and Communications Coordinator Amanda Kenyon. “In past years they used the money to fund their nature trails so this is a way for them to use those trails more.”
Kenyon also said the foundation was happy to see the inclusion of Middletown students in the program at “low or no cost” to families.
The Rockfall Foundation, whose mission is to “promote and support environmental education and conservation in the Lower Connecticut River Valley,” celebrated their 85th year as an environmental non profit this year. To celebrate, the foundation was able to provide $50,000 in grant awards to environmental projects in the state this year – the largest award since the inception of the program.
According to IDS’ program activities “the full-day program will include garden work...nature trail vegetation study and restoration, organized hikes and nature study, and unfettered play in nature.”
Field trips have also been included in the curriculum with trips to local farms planned and opportunities for service learning. The program will also include an overnight family campout on IDS grounds.