What We’ve Been Up To – Pandemic Programming Update

We haven’t done an update on what’s happened with our programming during the pandemic in a while but rest assured, Thorne has been busy! Here’s what we’ve been up to since last fall:

Summer Camp
Enthusiasm for Thorne camps is at an all-time high, in part because COVID has been a poignant reminder to parents that Kids Grow Better In Nature. While we are ecstatic that our camps sold out so quickly, we are also saddened that so many children who want to attend will miss the opportunity this year. Due to our COVID-safe camp plan, we can only provide camp for 32% of the youth we would serve in a typical summer. We have been working to add spaces and are still encouraging parents to sign up on our waitlist, but we know that we will miss out on seeing some of you this summer and we are bummed about that. We hope you can find other ways to prioritize time in nature, including considering other camps with nature offerings like Wild Bear, Growing Gardens, CU Science Discovery, Cal-Wood, Sunflower Farm, and Wee-Folk.

Nature Learning Pods
Thorne Nature Learning Pods have been running 5 days a week since August of 2020. Since BVSD has gone back to in-person learning, the number of students that are with us every day of the week has shrunk, but we still host a group of 30 students from the Lafayette area every Monday, when BVSD is closed. These students spend a full day with us playing and learning outdoors! While pods were originally an emergency response to the community, they have also become a wonderful source of community connection and a great way to extend our Nature For All mission. Most of our Pod students have come to us through the Nature Kids Lafayette program and 80% of students receive full or close-to-full scholarships to attend!

After-School Programs
In February Thorne re-launched our After School program! The program comes as a much-needed balance to time spent at their desk or behind a computer each day. Children experience nature mentorship, unstructured time outdoors, participant-led inquiry, and exploration in and around the schoolyard. We currently serve 20 students, all of whom are also part of the Nature Learning Pods, three days a week in Lafayette. This extended time with students has helped to create a strong bond between the children and families and Thorne’s instructors. For many of the children, Thorne is also the only program outside of school they are able to access right now, and we are grateful to be able to provide this much needed opportunity.

Live Virtual Programs
Normally at the time of year, Thorne instructors would be visiting classrooms throughout Boulder and St. Vrain. While we are not able to make these visits right now, we are excited to announce that Thorne is now offering “real-time” virtual programs! Educators are not delivering our favorite in-school lessons, like Colorado Ecology, Climate Change, and Pass the Energy, to students through their screens. Lessons have been running for over a month and have brought much joy to students and instructors alike! We are hoping to lead about 70 of these one-hour lessons over the course of the spring and next fall!

Nature Kids
The programs that Thorne has been able to offer to the youth and families in Lafayette, through our leadership in Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza have been some of the most amazing and rewarding parts of our last year. Click here to learn more about how this program is meeting community needs during the pandemic and beyond, including expanding to Boulder!