Wildside Saturdays

September-November | Monthly Saturdays | Ages 5-12 | 10am – 3pm

Fall Dates: Sept 26, Oct 24, Nov. 21

Challenge Level:

Wildside is a monthly skills building and nature connection program which runs throughout the school year, with seasonal enrollment.

This is an empowering adventure for children and youth, providing them an opportunity to inquire, engage and challenge themselves in skills that will provide them with a deep sense of nature connection and accomplishment.

Wilderness skills, archery, tracking, orienteering, shelter building and natural crafts will be a part of our time together. As a group we will build strong trust and communication skills and have a lot of fun playing team building and nature-connection games.

COVID-safe practices will be enforced. Adult:Camper Ratio is 1:5.

Fall Tuition: $225 + tax. Monthly drop-in available, space permitting. 

Mountain Girls!

Mondays and/or Thursdays | Ages 10-15

3:30/4-6:30 (time adjusted seasonally and for school schedules)

September 17 – November 19

Drop-off and pick-up at local trail heads

Challenge Level:

Mountain Girls provides girls ages 10-15 with an opportunity to build confidence, positive relationships, health, leadership, and a love of nature through outdoor activities (hiking, mountain biking, wilderness skills, backpacking, games, art, and journalling).

Discussions and journaling will build self awareness, while challenging activities such as biking and hiking build confidence. Girls will be split into age-appropriate groups and will choose a group goal to work towards.

COVID-safe practices will be enforced. Masks and frequent hand-sanitizing required by all children and staff. Adult: Camper Ratio is 1:5

Fall Tuition: $350 + tax.

Optional: Girls Backpacking Trip $285 + tax

Scholarship Applications due Sept 18th Apply Early! Application here.

Wildside After School Program

When virtual school is over for the day, it is time to step away from the screen, and get your kids out to play in nature!

Wildside After School program is a place for children to engage in free-play, group games, exploration, hiking, wilderness skills, and arts & crafts during adventures on local trails and in parks.

Studies (and experience) show that being outside in nature is good for children’s social, emotional and spiritual health. Children develop greater confidence, team work skills and build up tolerance for adversity by spending time outside, and so much more!  All of this while having fun, getting dirty, and best for parents; tired!

COVID-safe practices will be followed. Masks and hand-sanitizing are required by children and staff. Adult: Camper Ratio is 1:5.

Monday- Friday | Ages 5-12 | 3:30-5:30pm

September 14 – December 18

Challenge Level: (Age-Appropriate)

Enroll in 2, 3 or 5 days weekly for 10% Tuition Discount

Monthly Tuition:

1 Day $136 + tax

2 Days $245 + tax

3 Days $367 + tax

5 Days $612 + tax

Scholarship Application Due September 30th  Application.

A Walk on the Wildside

Our Saturday Wildside group had a blast this past week hiking along the Santa Fe River.

We started the day finding north and orienteering for treasure; it turns out kids can use their spidey senses to find treasure (apples and oranges), rather than compasses. 😉 We also used a stick compass to find north and all four directions, so easy and useful.

We were challenged in some physical agility; walking across logs, climbing and descending muddy slopes, and playing King of the Log; where one person tries to  bounce an opponent off a log without touching them. A fun new game!

The rope swing was another fun-filled challenge, with some giddy swinging and Tarzan whoops filling the warm winter day. Only two kids took to the river for a wee splash and were none the worse for wear. Plastic bags and extra socks sure come in handy for wet feet on a winter day outside.

We hiked down the river through towering cottonwoods, in awe of the beauty, and the two hawks we encountered, who were just as interested in watching us as we were them.

We finished our day with a lesson on how to harvest willow and used our kitchen peelers to take the medicine rich bark from the plant. Each Mountain Kid went home with a paper sack of bark to make tea as a remedy for fever, diarrhea or sunburn.

What a beautiful winter day to wander and play along the Santa Fe river.

#mountainkids #santafe #simplysantafe #letyourkidsouttoplay #kidsnature #kidsoutside #plantmedicine #winterwander #adventures

August 19: Cooking Adventures in Nature

Monday morning greeted the Mountain Kids with the chance to harvest apples at the beaver ponds, which of course included some tree climbing for those who felt called to do so!

The Eagles were very successful in the apple hunt, picking more than 200 apples in a short amount of time! They did most of the coring and slicing of apples to make apple sauce for everyone to take home. (The Hummers would have their turn on Thursday with the peaches!)

On Tuesday morning we sliced and strung apples to dry them for a lovely dried fruit snack.

The remainder of the day was spent hiking at Tsankawi,
part of Bandelier National Monument. The children learned about how the Ancestral Pueblo people once lived. While enjoying lunch in a wonderfully cool cave dwelling. Mountain Kids learned of the many different types of food and animals in the local area and the ways in which the Native peoples would have gone about harvesting and hunting them for food.

 

On Wednesday, we headed out to Rio en Medio, where we were able to gather fallen acorns and experience the sweet taste of freshly plucked red currant berries and a few raspberries along the trail.

The heat of the afternoon was spent splashing about the crisp river water, creating dams and building boats from nature to sail down the river. On our travels back to Santa Fe, the Mountain Kids spotted a couple of beautiful fruit trees full of apricots and apples, which they harvested for a juicy afternoon snack! Foraging sure is fun, and tasty. 🙂

The Eagles hiked to the Rio en Medio waterfall, crossing the river many times, an adventure in itself. It was a challenge if you wanted to keep your feet dry!  We and had a blast getting wet and exploring the frigid waterfall at the end of the hike.

That afternoon the Eagles headed to Chupadero for our Cooking Adventure Campout. We roasted our dinner in the ground (Chicken, sweet potatoes, and corn), learned how to use a handdrill and bowdrill to start a fire, and pitched a large shade structure to provide respite from the hot sun.

We enjoyed time around the campfire roasting apples, apricots and telling stories. A quick rainstorm didn’t deter us from a fun evening under the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday morning started with an early trip to the Tesuque Pueblo, where the Hummingbirds and the Eagles joined together to pick peaches for the Pueblo people.

In return for the hard work gathering the fruit, we were able to pick our own peaches to enjoy and take home. Soon after we found our way to Chupadero where we spent the afternoon slicing peaches for a fruit compote and practicing archery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone got to take home fresh peaches that afternoon. YUM!!

With our bellies full of sweet fruit, it was nice to spend Friday playing in the woods and exploring our creative side. The Mountain Kids headed up and into the mountains where we spent the afternoon building shelters at Aspen Vista, creating hand made bows, arrows, and spears (from sticks, rocks, and yarn). It was a ‘sweet’ end to a super sweet and tasty week of foraging, eating, camping and archery! What an awesome end to an amazing summer 2019! Thank you families for being a part of it! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survival Hunting Tools: July 15-20

This was a week full of watery fun, skill building with knives and bows, and some good heart pumping hikes with views for miles and miles.

Monday we started with spear making at the Big Tesuque. Knife safety was the most important lesson of the day.  Campers made some pretty nice looking spears in preparation for our Atl Atls on Wednesday.  We played games to get to know one another and explored nature in all of it’s glory. (Caterpillars and all.)

Tuesday was a Rio en Medio adventure, a good wet hike to a waterfall where the campers enjoyed plunging into the icy water.  They quickly chose to wear rain jackets to protect them from the icy flow. It was a joyous day on the Rio en Medio trail.

Wednesday was our day of Archery and more tool making in Chupadero.  We worked on our spears and Atl Atls (an ancient hunting tool which provides speed and leverage fro throwing a spear).  We then tried our hand at archery.  Bark Bunnies was a fun game for all –  aiming for chunks of bark, laden with jerky. If you hit the bark, and knock the jerky down, you get to eat the jerky.  Yum!

Thursday we headed up the Winsor Trail for Raven’s Ridge.  It was a challenging climb, so Michael helped break it up by teaching the kids how to make animal traps in the wild.  Super simple and cool.  The view from Raven’s Ridge was worth the climb! Nice work, all.  We had a great week of tool making, hiking and playing with you all!

July 8-12: Robin Hood’s Secrets

“The story of Robin Hood evokes clever and thoughtful adventures in the woods, stealthy river crossings, balancing on logs and fine homes in trees.” The Hummingbirds had an adventurous week discovering ways to heal wounds, practicing archery and fire making skills, and uncovering techniques for keeping invisible and camouflaged in the woods! A Monday spent at the Norski Trail was the perfect opportunity to learn about the Leave-No-Trace Principles, how to stay prepared with the 6W’s (who, what, where, when, why, and weather), and to gain some practice building shelters and hiding huts.

A day of hiking at Rio en Medio, on Tuesday, allowed for the Mountain Kids to romp throughout the woods and experience several beautiful and refreshing river crossings. A handful of the Hummingbirds chose to challenge themselves with an extra long hike all the way back to the waterfall – a glorious feat well worth each step!

Wednesday, the Hummingbirds began their morning learning how to create Pinon Pine Salve which can be used to help in healing small scrapes and wounds. After their fun craft, the Mountain Kids headed out to Chupadero where they worked with, Michael, a wonderful primitive skills educator, who taught them new archery safety and skills and how to create fire with sticks! After a day spent in the sunshine, Thursdays trip up the Santa Fe River, allowed the Hummingbirds to use their imagination while balancing on logs, crossing the river, and walking stealthily up the waterway!

The Hummingbirds and Eagles joined together, on Friday, for a day spent splashing in the mud and water at Abiquiu Lake. The low waters allowed for endless amounts of clay and mud which was just perfect for practicing camouflage skills!

June 24-28: Wilderness Skills

The Hummingbirds (Mountain Kids’ younger group) started their week exploring the trails and waterways of the Beaver Ponds, while learning what to do should we encounter a bear and mountain lion.

The fun continued with an introduction to building survival shelters and a lesson on their importance. As the week continued, the Hummingbirds discussed the essential 6W’s (who, what, when, where, why, & weather) and why they’re important even before entering the wilderness. The children also learned seven new hand gestures in order to help them better understand the seven Leave-No-Trace Principles (ways in which we can respect and take care of our wild lands and parks with low impact practices). We also explored ways of staying S.A.F.E.R. (a mnemonic for how to stay safe while spending time in the outdoors), with one of the key elements being to STOP AND STAY PUT if you get lost.

During our week of acquiring new wilderness skills, the Mountain Kids roamed through areas such as the Rio en Medio, Aspen Vista, and the Ski Basin, all of which are  beautifully wooded locations and provided us with a wonderful setting for each camper to use their imagination while becoming animals such as deer, mountain lions, bats, and moths.

Our week ended with the Eagles (older campers) and Hummingbirds gathering together for a day filled with fun and games at the meadow of the lower Big Tesuque trail. What a fun and adventure-filled week!