NextGen Rochester recently awarded Rochester Ecology Partners a $3000 grant to launch our Neighborhood Nature: Wild Winter Adventure program with youth from Agape Haven of Abundance. Rochester Ecology Partners will take 20-30 youth from Agape Haven of Abundance on 3 adventures around Rochester, exploring an urban, suburban, and rural wild place for Neighborhood Nature: Wild Winter Adventures

Opportunities to Play and Find Joy

The children in Rochester neighborhoods need opportunities to heal and grow, now more than ever, and the Neighborhood Nature Program offers these opportunities. This funding from NextGen Rochester will make it possible for young people to be exposed to the natural world around them, in ways that lead to social-emotional well-being and improved academic performance, all while better preparing them with the critical thinking skills needed to tackle future challenges.

Essential Experiences for Healthy Development

Neighborhood Nature: Wild Winter Adventures will provide outdoor enrichment and exploration of wild places in and around Rochester for youth in the Maplewood Neighborhood. By providing the opportunity to have fun outdoors and access nature in their local and larger community we are helping them to establish their sense of place in the world. They will experience all the fun winter can provide, from sledding and hiking to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing all while learning about winter habitats. Through this project, we will also address 6 of the 12 elements of the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, as adopted by the City of Rochester. This was adopted as a guide to help ensure children spent time outdoors developing healthy and active lifestyles for improved physical and mental well-being. This program will build on our summer adventures with youth from Agape Haven of Abundance, providing experiences with the natural world that build critical thinking skills and prepare them to be stewards, citizens, and neighbors.

About Neighborhood Nature Programming

Young people need nature in their lives. Exposure to nature increases overall wellbeing, improves academic outcomes, and enhances future readiness. As families look for ways to engage their children in activities that lead to healthy development they are increasingly turning to nature based learning. Neighborhood nature programs are built around three key ideas: exploring nearby nature and discovering nature some distance from home are both valuable experiences, children need opportunities to explore the world on their own terms, and nature based learning builds essential relationships. Learn more

About NextGen Rochester

NextGen Rochester is a peer-Led philanthropic organization comprised of a cross-section of the community (typically ages 21-45) who find value in grantmaking to local charitable causes and addressing community needs. It is the intention of NextGen Rochester to not only build assets, but also compassion, knowledge, and community engagement.  They are the next generation of citizens who make “giving back” part of our lives through leadership, friendship, and philanthropy. Learn more

About Rochester Ecology Partners

Rochester Ecology Partners serves people in Greater Rochester through nature-based experiential learning and activities that cultivate community connectedness. We believe that by employing integrated and innovative approaches to helping people find nature where they live, work, and play, we can improve our community’s capacity to co-create a hopeful future. Learn More

Reach out to us for more information or to contribute to this initiative.


Chris Widmaier
Executive Director
Rochester Ecology Partners


Our Neighborhood Nature program serves children during out of school hours and welcomes everyone, regardless of their ability to pay thanks to generous donors. Please help us reach our goal of doubling what we have already received from NextGen Rochester by contributing to our scholarship fund.

Donate to the Scholarship Campaign