Nature, up close and personal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Youth who are interested in careers in the natural sciences or who are just plain crazy about the outdoors are invited to an Environmental Adventures program sponsored by Community Education in Albert Lea.

Learning about the outdoors, including workshops about wetlands ecology and raptor study, will be the focus of a week-long residency for kids in fifth through eighth grades.

“By providing these experiences, I believe we are teaching students how little it takes to create a positive lasting impression on others, themselves and their surroundings,” said Robin Farmer, the teacher for the program.

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The program will be held at the Eagle Bluff Learning Center, located in Lanesboro on the bluffs overlooking the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. It will consist of five days and four nights at Eagle Bluff, where students will be housed in an air-conditioned lodge.

During the week, classes and workshops will take in the ecology and history of the Root River area. The focus for activities will be hands-on learning experiences, with overnight camping trips, archery, canoeing, a treetops ropes course and basic wilderness survival skills.

Any youth in the area who want the experience of learning in the outdoors are welcome to register. Participants do not need to live in Albert Lea or Freeborn County in order to reserve a spot. And even though the activities are aimed at fifth through eighth graders, older students can also participate as Junior Naturalists, said Farmer.

The session runs from July 8-12, and registrations need to be received by Friday, May 31. The total cost is $200, with a $50 deposit required from all participants.

Scholarships and financial aid are both available. Four full scholarships are available through the Freeborn County Pheasant and Habitat group and three $100 scholarships for girls are available through the Albert Lea Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Application forms for scholarships and other financial aid are available through Community Education at Brookside Education Center.