Weston camp sponsors Picnic for the Planet for Earth Day
By Leslie Lake
Hour Staff Writer
WESTON -- As Earth Day approaches, worldwide attention turns toward the
state of the environment, but for Weston resident Lyn Kimberly the
commitment to preserving and sharing an appreciation of all that nature
has to offer encompasses more than that one day.
Wearing many hats in her mission to get people to go outside and explore
their natural surroundings, she and her husband Chris started American
Wanderer (AW) Camp, a traveling summer camp that affords teens the
opportunity to explore U.S. National parks. Kimberly is also the market
manager at the Farmer's Market at the Norfield Grange and has organized
a local Earth Day "Picnic for the Planet" in conjunction with The
"I read about a study that showed that kids are spending an average of
seven hours a day on their cell phones, talking, and texting. That
doesn't include school, video games, sleep," she said. "When are they
going outside? The picnic is a great way to get people to think about
The April 22 picnic, sponsored by AW Camp, The Norfield Grange and the
Children & Nature Network, will be held locally at The Nature
Conservancy's Katharine Ordway Preserve in Weston. It will be one of
hundreds of such picnics around the globe in a 24-hour period and is
designed to connect people around the world to one another through food
and appreciation for the planet. Activities will include games and a
hike through the preserve before the picnic.
"This is a multi-venue picnic held at locations around the globe," said
Kimberly. "There will be a photo collage of all of the picnics around
the world on the Nature Conservancy website. We'll include a photo of
our local picnic. We strongly encourage people come to the picnic and
explore the preserve."
Six years ago, Kimberly and her husband Chris felt so strongly about the
value of outdoor exploration that they started American Wanderer Camp, a
mobile summer camp that offers four two-week summer sessions for teens
to explore western U.S. National Parks.
The focus of the camp is to put the video games and cell phones away and
explore nature and history. Camp activities include: hiking into the
Grand Canyon, hunting for fossils in Wyoming, panning for gold in the
Black Hills, exploring ghost towns and ancient ruins, and rafting the
Traveling in RV's that the Kimberly's call "rolling camps" kids ages
11-17 will find themselves in a different park and new adventure every
day of each session. Campers may attend one or more sessions. Each
session includes eight or nine stops at natural attractions such as
parks, lakes, mountains and caves.
"We go caving, river rafting, explore ghost towns, ride old train
routes, we hike below the rim of the Grand Canyon. We've seen California
Condors that nest in the Grand Canyon. We've seen elk, buffalo,
antelope in their natural habitat," said Kimberly. "We hear over and
over that this is a life-changing experience."
Session one, called the Anasazi Pass begins in Colorado then swings
through New Mexico and on to Arizona with exploration venues such as:
Mesa Verde National Park, Black Canyon, and Aztec Ruins. With a new
group of campers flying in, session two, known as the Ute Route, takes
the groups through Colorado, Arizona and Utah visiting: Zion National
Park, Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon. The third camp session, Shoshone
Trail, swings through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana with stops at
Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Great Salt
Lake. The final session, Lakota Patch tours through Montana, Wyoming,
South Dakota and Colorado with stops at Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower,
and the Badlands.
Believing that finances shouldn't get in the way of the camp experience,
American Wanderer has a foundation with the following mission
statement: "Our mission is to connect today's youth with the natural and
historic wonders of America, by providing scholarships to attend
American Wanderer Summer Camp. We believe ALL children, regardless of
financial ability should be given the opportunity to learn about the
natural wonders of America."
"The camp philosophy is get out, explore, and build friendships with
other campers," said Kimberly. "Our goal is to turn kids into future
stewards of our national parks."
"Picnic for the Planet": 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, April 22 at Katharine Ordway Preserve, 165 Good Hill Road, Weston.
Information: www.AmericanWanderer.com www.norfieldgrange.com, www.nature.org/earthday.