Dear friend,

Who inspired your love for nature? Whether it was a parent, teacher, friend, or someone else, each one of us learned our love for the outdoors from someone. For me, it was my grandfather, who took me fishing throughout my childhood. Those firsthand experiences of catching, holding, and studying fish taught me powerful lessons about the natural world, ones that inspired me to focus my career on protecting nature. It speaks to the critical role that all of us play in ensuring that the next generation develops a strong love for the outdoors and a desire to protect it.

For twenty years, ADK has played this role for thousands of 4th graders through its Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program: Three Seasons at Heart Lake. From teaching students about forest ecology during peak fall foliage to taking them on their first snowshoeing hike around Heart Lake, we have been transforming the lives of students by bringing them to the outdoors and the outdoors into their classrooms.

But Three Seasons at Heart Lake builds even more than a love for nature; it has a profound impact on the physical and mental well-being of children. By taking the classroom outside, we tap into students’ natural curiosity and make learning a more interactive and engaging experience. And we know that this works; studies have shown that outdoor education programs lead to better academic performance, higher grades, and increased enthusiasm for learning. Our children need this. Schools and students have faced unprecedented challenges over the last few years. The abrupt shifts between in-person and remote learning caused by the pandemic took a toll on the emotional and social well-being of our young learners. With limited access to the
camaraderie of their peers, students faced heightened stress and anxiety, which continues to impact them today.

Three Seasons at Heart Lake can change this trajectory. Whether it is the lessons they learn, friendships they form, or the confidence they gain, the experiences offered by Three Seasons at Heart Lake help children develop connections to nature, their peers, and themselves.

But we can’t do this without you. Many of our students represent underserved communities in and around the Adirondack Park. Donors like you allow us to continue to provide this program and all of its benefits for free.

Give today and help us foster a love for the outdoors in the next generation.

Thank you,

Seth Jones
Education Director

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