Kids and young adults in Solano County now have a new, one-stop-shop for information about the great outdoors. The new website, SolanoYouthOutdoors.org, has been a priority initiative of the Committee on Land and People (CLP), a diverse group of people who live and/or work in Solano County and care deeply about the land, community, and health in the region.
Greenbelt Alliance together with the Solano Land Trust as lead convener and the numerous CLP members ranging from parents, educators, community leaders, and local agencies have all been working to find ways to inspire youth and expand the access of the outdoors to all the kids and young adults in Solano County.
The group found inspiration for a well-curated website offering information and educational resources about the local outdoors given the current pandemic and shelter-in-place affecting all of us. Our families have gone for many months without traditional schools, daycare, or summer camps. We identified a much higher demand for ideas about nature and local green spaces to infuse in lesson plans, tips on how families can safely visit open spaces, and new resilient ways to educate and teach our children and youth via online media.
SolanoYouthOutdoors.org is a place where you can find places to go, activities to explore nature at home, and resources for teachers and educators to inspire their children to safely explore outside (even if that is in their own backyard). Check it out!
Here are just a few highlights of the new website:
If you are a teacher, educator, or a family member who is homeschooling children and youth, check out the small-but-growing Resources for Educators page. As content grows, this is a site where educators can grab lesson plans, ideas for their home classrooms, and general educational activities so that youth can be inspired by science and the wonders of the natural world.
Nature Closer to Home
There is a section called Backyard Nature, building from a concept that the beauty and wonder of nature are everywhere, not just at a state or national park. With a mindful eye, you can appreciate the birds in your backyard, a neighbor’s garden up the street, or even start your own garden for the first time.
We have featured a series of outdoor trails in our Where you can go section. If you are looking to get out and feel the wind in your hair and sun on your face, this is a great resource for opportunities from Benicia to Vacaville and over to Dixon that offers places to hike around, have a picnic, and see local wildlife. There is also a self-guided tour document that was created by the Solano Resource Conservation District that you can easily print off and take with you on your next adventure.
For me, the most exciting part about working on this website project with the Committee was collaborating with other members of the Solano community to learn, understand, and identify the needs of Solano County. We decided that there was a great desire to go outside in safe, socially-distanced ways during the shelter-in-place. However, access to the outdoors is different for everyone. We recognize that not everyone can drive to a trailhead, nor can everyone go hiking on the trails in the hot sun, and some may not even be interested in hiking at all. In order to inspire more youth to the outdoors, we have an opportunity with this website to highlight a range of resources, especially options close to home.
The people and experiences of Solano County will continue to make this website stronger. We welcome hearing about activities, favorite outdoor places, and examples of continuing outdoor classroom lesson plans that should be included on the site. Incorporating the community’s input on the website brings us together to expand access to the outdoors and share the benefits of nature and the outdoors.
It is our hope that Solano County kids and young adults become inspired by the natural world around them to pursue further learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We hope they will cultivate a deeper understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Solano’s natural spaces early in life that can mature over time to inspire the next generation of leaders.
If you have a suggestion or would like to provide feedback about the website, you can contact the Committee on Land and People here or reach out to me, Greenbelt Alliance’s Solano County Regional Representative, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Solano Land Trust & Lydia Wulfe