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Growing the Mission

Posted Aug 02, 2017

Our mission to connect all people in our community to nature extends beyond the edge of the Woods and is flourishing all around Erie County. Since the beginning, Asbury Woods has always been a destination for teachers who want to offer their students a powerful learning experience, one that takes science instruction outside the walls of the classroom and places it directly in the lives of their students. Every day the educators at Asbury Woods get to see the transformation that this kind of learning has on students- the joy on their faces when spotting a wild animal, the magic of making a connection to something learned in their classroom, or the power of seeing in action something they had only read about in a book. To those who teach here every day, we know that the natural world around us is a treasure trove that is rich with opportunity for truly meaningful learning experiences. But what we were also beginning to notice is that only some students in our community were able to access these types of learning opportunities. When we took a hard look at the children we serve, we realized that we were not really reaching our mission of connecting all people to nature, stewardship and outdoor recreation. And further, that the children who could benefit the most from Asbury Woods and from spending more time outside often have financial barriers

and transportation challenges that have made it difficult to access our programming. In order to help more students throughout Erie County connect to nature, we started our E-STEM program. The E-STEM program leverages existing STEM lessons in the school curriculum and connects them to environmental topics and nature exploration. Since the beginning of the E-STEM program in 2014, we have been able to reach over 6,000 students who attend public schools in Erie County through outreach visits to their schools, after school clubs at the Nature Center, and a summer camp program. These unique programs came at no cost or reduced cost to the students and schools we serve. We are on a mission.

able to provide E-STEM programs

through generous contributions

from businesses participating in the

EITC tax credit program, individual

donations received on Erie Gives

Day, and through a partnership with

the Erie City Mission.

We remain committed to getting

even more children outdoors,

discovering the power of E-STEM,

and connecting to the natural world.

You could even say we are on a