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A second grader on a field trip at Westcave Preserve descended into the canyon and proclaimed, “I have never been this deep in nature before. This is awesome!

For many of the school children we serve, our hikes and education programs are a new experience, a novel encounter with the natural world. A third grader on a field trip said, “This is 100% NATURE, and I love it.” The Education Team at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center strives to connect students, teachers and visitors with the natural community. In the words of the great American conservationist Aldo Leopold, “When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Central to our work in outdoor education, experiences at Westcave Preserve can help combat “nature-deficit disorder” by providing a green escape for adults and children alike. An elementary school teacher said, “Thank you, it is so great to see my class learning in the real world.”

For some, an educational experience like a field trip is a fond memory, while for others, the Westcave Education Program inspires a transformational experience in nature and environmental stewardship that lasts a lifetime. We rejoice in these nature awakenings, such as when one young student vocalized, “My favorite is the beauty because the beauty means a lot.”

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