On Wednesday, we crossed over the Continental Divide and followed the Arkansas River down from Poncha Springs to Pueblo where we had a date with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County. First, we ran a Leave No Trace Workshop for a couple of hours with an engaged group of Boys and Girls Club staff. One of the highlights was an ethics discussion during which staffers passionately elaborated on their pet-outdoor-activity-peeves. From fishing and picnicking to hiking and trail running, these folks shared both their appreciation for special outdoor places and their disappointment with inconsiderate trashing of these same places. These are complaints that most of us can recite, all of which could be avoided if we take time to reflect on the impacts of careless or thoughtless behaviors. These staff members were committed to pass on their Leave No Trace training to the kids that they teach and mentor in the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Under the Cottonwoods at the Nature and Raptor Center
Later that same afternoon we met with two groups of Boys and Girls Club members (ages 7-16) at the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo (NRCP). Even though these 25 kids have had limited experience adventuring in the outdoor wilds, they jumped right into digging catholes, figuring out how to get into a bear-proof food canister, and practicing wildlife-watching rules of thumb. The NRCP is located in a readily accessible urban-wildlands interface, part of a diverse riparian ecosystem along the Arkansas River. It's a great place for these urban kids to experience the out-of-doors,