YEP Update: February

The YEP youth are knee-deep in their community conservation projects!  Topics include improving recycling programs, the impacts of therapeutic horticulture, addressing urban runoff and increasing the amount of time youth spend outside – especially in the winter.  This month we took some time to connect with each other, connect with our projects, connect with nature, and… connect with Skeeter. 

Zookeeper Jill introduced us to the gentle giants of Como and shared the work Giraffe Conservation Foundation does to preserve critical giraffe habitat. 

Did you know, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) focuses on reconnecting youth in Namibia with nature?  World-wide, it is recognized that time outside plays a critical role in the growth and development of young people – and adults.   In 2010, the University of Rochester released the results of five different experiments that showed how spending time in nature can improve a person’s well-being.  For a deeper read on this topic, check out Richard Louv’s book; Last Child in the Woods. With this in mind, we ventured outside, exploring Como Regional Park.

We also took a few minutes to watch the video produce by YEP’s team from Urban Roots.  Their conservation project centers on encouraging young people to get outside and explore all that winter has to offer.  Urban Roots, along with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Wilderness Inquiry, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and many other organizations will be hosting the 2017 Phalen Freeze Fest from 2:00 – 6:00 on Saturday, February 11.  Participants can try their hand at snowshoeing, cooking over fire, ice fishing, and building a snow cave.  Great, winter-themed prizes are available too!  You won’t want to miss Urban Root’s performance of the Legend of Shingebiss!  Tie your boots, zip your parka, and tell your friends to join you at Freeze Fest!