Dear Friends and Supporters,
Through adversity there is an opportunity for growth.
Today I have a different sort of newsletter for you. About a week ago we learned that we will no longer be operating our nature camps and after school programs at Oak Hill School. It has been our great pleasure and privilege to have connected thousands of kids with nature in a deep and meaningful way at the Oak Hill School property over the past several years. We are sad to say goodbye to that beautiful location. Unfortunately, their rental fees have increased significantly. In order to sustain the costs of operation we would have been forced to increase our tuition beyond what we feel is a fair burden on parents in our community.
Now, we need your help!
Despite our sadness over saying goodbye to our former location, I feel that we now have an amazing opportunity to find a new and permanent home for Whole Earth Nature School to share the natural world with young people throughout our community. I am constantly blown away by the support that we receive from you and all of the parents, kids, volunteers, staff, and fans on a daily basis. Today we are reaching out to you to help us to locate the new home base for Whole Earth Nature School. I believe that one of you knows about the perfect space for us and have been waiting for us to ask.
Here's what we really need:
- A large natural area. For context, Oak Hill School is 72 acres and it provided a reasonable amount of space for camps. More space is a bonus.
- Close to town. Parents need to be able to drop their kids off for day-camp on the way to work and pick them up on the way home. While we will definitely be expanding our out-of-town overnight camps, day-camps will continue to be an integral part of our program and we need to be able to provide that sort of convenience to parents.
- With sufficient parking. The space we use needs to be able to accommodate (or be modified to accommodate) 50 or 60 cars during drop-off and pick-up times for camp.
And if it has these things, too, it would make for an ideal site.
- Bathrooms and potable water. While we can (and have) brought water and portable bathrooms to a site it is really a great bonus to have those facilities in place.
- Storage space for camp gear. Operating camp out of the back of a pickup truck isn't ideal : ) And electrical outlets to charge our radios are really valuable.
- Natural water sources. Creeks, streams, ponds etc. tend to attract wildlife and biodiversity which are great for learning about nature.
- Existing trail systems. We can certainly develop our own trail systems but existing trails make access for kids much easier.
Connecting young people with the natural world is a mission that we can all support. Ultimately, it is my hope that we can settle in a new home that will provide us room to grow and expand our vision for years to come. Ask around. Tell your friends. Share it on Facebook. This is our opportunity to find a new, permanent, home. Call us at 541-937 KIDS or email ContactUs@WholeEarthSchool.com.
Finally, if you don't know of any land, you can still support this transition financially. We anticipate that there will likely be some costs associated with moving and getting settled in a new space. We may need to build facilities, bring in bathrooms, repair infrastructure or a whole list of possible things. Right now we are right at the end of our September donation drive and we could use your donation to make it a success. We need to raise $2000 by the end of September and we still have $1470 to go. And any donations that are $500 or more will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, for double the impact of your donation. Consider that a monthly donation of $45 would get your donation matched and doubled!
Thank you for your continued support. Together, we will find a new home for deep nature connection for years to come.
Executive Director of Operations
Whole Earth Nature School