Kids in the Monument Project
In the spring of 2016, Rivers & Birds took part in the nationwide “Kid in Every Park” initiative to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America's national parks and monuments. With local community support and an online fundraiser, Rivers & Birds raised $17,000 which helped get over 200 underserved fourth-grade students onto the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument for a one-day hike into the Rio Grande Gorge and a one-day float (guided by Los Rios River Runners) on the Rio Grande. This was a huge success. We had many parents turn out to join their children on these outings.
Many teachers and parents who have lived near the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument for decades told us that they had never been on the monument's trail system. We also had children who had never been hiking before. Ten men from Taos Pueblo Warchief staff chaperoned the Taos Pueblo Day School students on both days. One father, a veteran of the Iraq war, told us that the time he spent outdoors in nature was most helpful in healing from PTSD. He had never been to Wild Rivers and announced that he was going take his whole family camping there. Overall, approximately 40 volunteers participated in this event, including parents, community members, Taos Archaeological Society members, BLM staff, and Rivers & Birds' Board of Directors.
Rivers & Birds is preparing to repeat this effort this spring of 2017 at the request of public schools and interested foundations. Participating schools will include Costilla, Questa, Arroyos del Norte, Enos Garcia Elementary Schools, the Taos Pueblo Day School and the Taos Integrated School of the Arts.