Each year for the past four years, HeadWaters Land Conservancy has led a snowshoe hike for Vanderbilt students through their school forest. This program started in 2018 after HeadWaters secured funding from United Healthcare to purchase 38 pairs of snowshoes. Since the program began, hundreds of Vanderbilt Area School students have had an opportunity to explore their school’s woodlands and learn just how active it is, even in the winter.
On March 9, 2022, 88 students from K-12 grades and 9 adults participated in this year’s educational snowshoe hike. Cece Edgmon, staff member at Vanderbilt Area School, stated, “We partner with Headwaters because they are wonderful at making the time and the effort to join with us to get the kids outside and share knowledge of both snowshoeing and all things outdoorsy. The snowshoes are a great way to get out into our school forest and see it in the winter. The classes go out quite often in the spring and fall and being out there in the winter is a whole new point of view. We have many students that look forward to this every year.” During the hike, HeadWaters’ staff, Dianne Farner and Rhiannon Erhardt, shared information about wildlife typically found in Michigan’s forest ecosystem. The students were able to explore molds of animal tracks, skulls, and examine pelts from local wildlife. Dianne Farner, Community Engagement and Development Coordinator at HeadWaters Land Conservancy, has participated in this event for several years, “The kids are always excited about being outside, and the snowshoes just add to their energy! Many of the kids would pick up pine cones or feathers and just could not contain their excitement at seeing these objects in the winter. It is a great experience for everyone involved, we love being able to get kids outside.”
Part of HeadWaters Land Conservancy’s mission is to foster the appreciation and understanding of the environment. “HeadWaters feels it is important to be a part of opportunities like this to share environmental education with youth in our community. We want to be a part of inspiring the next generation of conservationists and that begins with nurturing a love of the natural world.”, shared Julie Rubsam, Executive Director of HeadWaters Land Conservancy.
The mission of HeadWaters Land Conservancy is to protect the natural diversity and beauty of northeast Michigan by preserving significant land and scenic areas and fostering appreciation and understanding of the environment. HeadWaters Land Conservancy serves 11 counties: Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon.
Find out more about HeadWaters Land Conservancy and upcoming public educational events at http://www.HeadWatersConservancy.org