By Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy
This summer, I plan to hike from Canada to Mexico along the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for the Exploring New Horizons Scholarship Fund. No student should be denied the chance to attend Exploring New Horizons because of financial constraints. Too many times I have heard teachers express their struggle to attend outdoor schools based on insufficient funding. Historically, Exploring New Horizons has provided a considerable amount of aid to schools in need, but we can do better.
Every $290 dollars donated will send another student to outdoor school. You can send flat donations or contribute by miles hiked. Every little bit helps. My goal is to raise $2,650, or one dollar per mile. My dream is go far beyond and raise much more than that. Donate now to help this dream become a reality.
As a Baltimore native I spent my childhood summers exploring the ancient hills of Maryland and Virginia, falling deeply in love with the earth. My curiosity was piqued in new ways and creativity took on a whole new meaning. I learned about the magic of tiny salamanders and expansive vistas. I learned the power of silence and the beauty of intentional community.
Since my summer as a wide-eyed ten year old attending Camp Catoctin, the lust for exploration has only strengthened. Whether it’s hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, playing the cello and touring extensively throughout the country, or working as an outdoor educator these past 13 years, the goal is always the same: a search for deeper connection with people and the earth. In 2012 I hiked all 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail. There is no greater teacher than the land and people are at their best when they find this connection. The more we feel connected to people or a place the better we will take care them.
As naturalists, we get to see children exceed expectations every week. There is nothing more heart lifting than watching a child experience the ocean for the first time. Every week I get to view the Pescadero Valley through new eyes as students rediscover their senses. Every week I am reminded of how grateful I am for the experiences and gifts I was given as a child. The gift of outdoor school should accessible to everyone. Our connection with the natural world helps us to be healthier, more creative and more peaceful people.
During my hike I’ll also be posting blog articles on various ecological and environmental issues. I am constantly reminded of the dynamic relationship between humans and the land. Mining, dams, railroads, small towns, industry, national parks, power plants and the forest service are all woven into our history as a country. Each one of these elements comes with its own complicated environmental issues. I am grateful for the observation and awareness skills I have developed during my years as a naturalist. I am excited to share my stories and musings about humans, flora, fauna and the like as I make my way along the Pacific Crest through numerous ecosystems.
Look for updates on my adventures on the Exploring New Horizons Blog.