The OutdoorExplore! after-school program, with San Diego and Chula Vista Unified, introduces children to our natural environment by connecting elementary and middle school students to natural open spaces right in their own neighborhoods. This after-school enrichment program serves school districts throughout San Diego County. OutdoorExplore! is designed to build familiarity and connection with nature; enhance observational skills and imagination; increase physical activity in a relaxed, non-competitive environment; introduce stewardship; develop a sense of place; and be fun for the students. Through active, hands-on exploration of nature, students learn about native wildlife and habitats while stimulating an ethic of stewardship and civic responsibility for these nature spaces.
Habitat Helpers, a second-tier program to OutdoorExplore which partners with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, is a stewardship program where participants are provided with a hands-on learning opportunity while simultaneously contributing to the restoration of City Open Spaces by planting and caring for native plants. The activity teaches local students about native flora, promotes stewardship and conservation activities, and connects students to these urban natural places long after their weekly visits have concluded. Habitat Helpers deepens the educational value of OutdoorExplore! for students, and connects each child to their piece of nearby nature in an incomparable way.