More than 4,500 students from 5 Northwest Indiana communities will spend an unforgettable hour learning about their local watershed from the seat of a Voyageur canoe, thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation’s Challenge Cost Share Program, in partnership with Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as well as schools and local stakeholders.
At the center of this experience is Minnesota-based Wilderness Inquiry’s “Canoemobile,” a roving fleet of 24’ canoes traveling across America to connect urban youth to the natural world through hands-on, outdoor learning. For most, the water-based adventure is a significant milestone, making a big impression on both students and educators.
“The looks on the kids’ faces is so rewarding,” says Dunes Learning Center executive director, Geof Benson. “They get to learn about ecology and science in a way that is compelling, engaging and relevant, which makes them more successful. You can see how proud and excited they are as they get out of the boat. Students leave the experience more confident and ready to learn. That’s why we do it.”
The opportunity is being made available to classrooms across Northwest Indiana, as well as the general public.
Canoemobile “Community Paddles,” will offer Hoosiers of all ages and abilities an opportunity to learn basic paddling skills and explore urban waterways. Wilderness Inquiry educators will captain each canoe, seating up to 10 people. Trips take approximately one hour and will depart from Hammond’s Wolf Lake Memorial Park on Saturday, September 17 from 10–1 and Hobart’s Jerry Pavese Park on Saturday, September 24th from 10–1. The event is free, but advance registration is required. To learn more, and to register, visit DunesLearningCenter.org/events.