The Riekes Center Nature Awareness Department
We provide nature immersion opportunities that focus on fun, adventure, and life-long learning. We strive to build strong affinities between people and the natural world. We provide participants from age 0 (yes we have pregnant moms in our programs) to 99 with the opportunity to explore an interest or pursue a passion in wilderness living, outdoor study, and recreation. Whether you want to backpack in the desert of Death Valley, learn about the Pacific Ocean, study the natural history of California, track weasels along a river bank, make fire by rubbing two sticks together, teach your classroom more about their school’s “back yard” or enrich your personal nature hikes, we have the program for you.
Creating deep connections to nature is the cornerstone of our department. We nurture these connections while helping students achieve personal goals in this environment. Whether it is learning to identify 20 species of birds by song, how to track coyotes, or how to build a debris shelter, each student follows their own passion in nature. Our instructors mentor students through the art of questioning and share their own individual expertise and passions in natural history subjects. Our curriculum draws upon the core routines of nature awareness as detailed in the recent book Coyote’s Guide by author Jon Young, one of our department’s founders. Richard Louv, author of the landmark book Last Child in the Woods, describes these mentoring techniques as “good medicine for nature deficit disorder.”