The following includes all the past director’s notes from the 2012 issues of Heartland Outdoor School’s newsletter, Nature Notes:

January 2012

We always want to make our program better each year. At Heartland, some of the best things happen during the winter months. This is our time of the year to brainstorm, develop, and make improvements to our program. During this time we re-evaluate everything we offer and look for ways to better meet the needs of all of our school and guest groups.

Our programming team is busy working on a myriad of improvements.

These projects include:

  • Evaluating / implementing changes based on feedback from teachers
  • Aligning our program with the new state curriculum standards
  • Revamping current classes
  • Developing new activities
  • Enhancing our nature center with new animals and animal displays
  • Adding new features to Heartland’s landscape

We are also working to develop classes and activities for use during the winter months. While most of our classes can be done in cold weather, we would like to be able to offer specific winter classes in the future for our winter guests.

This year is going to be an exciting year of serving over 5000 school students and we are looking forward to it!



April 2012

The Power of Camp

The informative graphic

[in the above link] is a very sobering reality and shows the very real need for young people to attend camp. (Please click on the graphic to zoom in). The staff members here at Heartland truly believe in the power of camp and are on a mission to encourage as many students as possible to attend.  Those of you who have brought students to camp can attest to the social, emotional and academic growth students experience during and after their trip to Heartland.  Because we believe so strongly in the power of camp, Heartland is starting two initiatives to help you bring more of your students to camp and to encourage other schools to join our program.

The first initiative is our newly designed winter program.  The winter program offers a unique experience for your students at a 10% discount.  Students will enjoy the same high-quality program, with added winter weather features and activities.  This is a great opportunity for students to discover the beauty of nature beneath the snow!  Please call for dates and availability.

The second initiative is our “Refer-a-School” program.  If you refer a new school to our camp and they book at least a three day stay, you may be eligible to receive a 5% discount off your entire school’s next visit to camp!  Please call or email for more details.

As educators, we understand your passion and calling to positively impact kids.  Your decision to bring students to camp directly supports that effort!  Thank you for joining with us as we promote the amazing power of camp.  As we all work together, we will continue to make a difference in the lives and future of the youth of this generation and generations to come!


May 2012

I personally attended outdoor school in sixth grade.  I went into the experience a poor, neglected girl with extremely low self-esteem.  One of just three kids in the entire sixth grade in my elementary school being raised in a single parent home (by my dad), I felt like something was wrong with me.  We were poor; my shoes had holes in them; and my hand-me-down clothes were outdated.  My hygiene was poor.  Whether other kids ignored me or I pushed them away, I’m not totally sure.  What I do know is that I wanted so badly to fit in, to feel special, and to be accepted by my classmates.   During my outdoor school experience I fell in love with the out-of-doors.  The teachers there recognized my potential and inspired me to dream big.  At outdoor school my background and social status disappeared.  My hopelessness was replaced with all of the possibilities life held for me!   The outdoor school impacted me in unexpected ways.  I made new friends, fell in love with science, my grades improved and I actually began realizing I was someone special!

Camp is a powerful, transformational experience filled where kids encounter new possibilities and make new discoveries.  It is a place where caring adults invest in kids’ lives.  A safe place to explore, make friends and ask some of life’s biggest questions.  A place where kids struggling with their identity, longing to be accepted, and faced with huge peer pressure, discover who they are and who they are meant to be. That’s my story.  And that’s our dream. At Heartland, we want every kid to experience The Power of Camp!   To experience that life-changing moment when a child moves from the question, “Who am I?” to the realization that “I’m someone special!”  The moment when kids learn to accept and respect each other’s differences.  Where hands-on discovery impacts attitudes and provides memories that will last a lifetime.

Sue Nigh