Our recent Friendraiser picnic was a reminder of why we do what we do. Our community is fortunate to have extraordinary natural gifts and Lake Ontario Beach Park is one of them. It is the perfect place to find nature together. From making kites out of recycled and found materials, to striking up conversations with new friends, we saw everyone growing in their relationship with the environment and each other. I am grateful for everyone that contributed to making it a successful celebration of who we are as an organization and I look forward to the next time we gather together.

-Chris Widmaier
Executive Director

By The Numbers – End of School Year 2022-23

  • 10 schools collaborated with us to provide students with nature-based learning experiences
  • 100% of teachers surveyed think nature-based learning experiences had a positive impact on their students’
  • 500 hours of nature-based learning were offered to students during the school day
  • 85% of students at Anna Murray-Douglass Academy participated in a nature-based learning experience with our support

Upcoming Events

August 29 and 30 – Nature-Based Learning Symposium

For the third year in a row, anyone that considers themselves a nature-based educator (or wants to be one!) is invited to join us for the Nature-Based Learning Symposium in Durand-Eastman Park. This two-day experience will focus on the why and how of learning about and with nature.

Child Development and Nature Go Hand in Hand

Time in nature has significant benefits. We are working to gather evidence of this, from our direct experience and through a study of the literature. Children do better physically and emotionally in green spaces, gaining positive feelings, stress reduction, and attention restoration nature engenders.

Multiple studies have confirmed that even a few hours spent in nature each week can improve mood, cognitive ability, focus, social connection and overall sense of well-being. Nature interaction can also spur the natural curiosity that builds toward scientific and artistic exploration while positively impacting academic performance through developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills while improving focus and attention. The cognitive benefits of imaginative play in nature on the growing child brain are substantial.

From developing complex thinking skills and increasing social skills, to helping children establish their sense of place in the world. Children tend to have improved moods and smile more when they are outside. This alone should be enough to encourage our schools to get students outside each day!

Contribute to Rochester Ecology Partners

We need your help as we get ready to offer every student in the RCSD elementary summer school nature-based learning opportunities. Please consider making a donation that will help us get our program up and running. Your contribution will support getting 700 students into parks for a day to learn about their relationship to the natural world. It will help us provide educators at all three schools to facilitate nature-based learning lessons. Most importantly, it will improve their educational experience and wellbeing. The impact of your donation, at any level, will lead to a brighter future for these students and our community. Donations can be made on our website, by mail, or by reaching out to Chris Widmaier, Executive Director.

Other News from REP

  • Launching the Environmental Organization Directory
    Rochester Ecology Partners is happy to announce the launch of the Greater Rochester Environmental Community Directory. Over 100 groups dedicated to improving community well-being and the environment for all have agreed to be listed and more are expected to join as they learn about the directory. The directory can be found at rochesterenvironment.com.
  • REP Nominated for An Environmental Innovation Award
    This spring Rochester Ecology Partners was nominated for an Environmental Innovation Award through the Seneca Park Zoo Society’s efforts to honor local and regional innovators working to create solutions to current environmental issues.
  • Meet “Timber” Timmy Okung – Naturenaut
    “Nature is unpredictable and interesting, and being immersed in nature often allows us space to be unpredictable and interesting ourselves.” This quote exemplifies Timmy Okung’s approach to her work with Rochester Ecology Partners. Timmy aims to provide nature based respite, allowing kids a safe space to relax, be challenged, be seen, and learn about themselves and their surroundings. 

Subscribe to our email list.