Help children experience nature, volunteer at Four Mile Ranch


By Becky Gillette
Special to The SUN

If you love children and the outdoors, Audubon Rockies needs your help for the seventh annual season of Four Mile Ranch Environmental Education.

Since 2007, this Audubon-sponsored program has allowed more than 3,000 elementary school students to experience their local environment through science education and outdoor learning opportunities.

Introductory classroom sessions led by Audubon staff provide students with background in science concepts and prepare them for spending a day outdoors. Field programs take place at the Hershey Four Mile Ranch north of downtown, where trained Volunteer Educators lead small groups of children through hands-on activities and explorations.

Four Mile Ranch volunteers give young people the opportunity to explore the outdoors and learn science directly from the natural world in a way that is not possible inside a school building. A thorough training program allows adult community members to expand their own knowledge and experience while helping the future leaders of our community build compassion and understanding of the natural world.

No previous teaching experience is required to become a Volunteer Educator — just a love of children and the outdoors. Free training and materials include an activities manual, adult-level natural history education, and information about outdoor safety, group management and child development.

This year’s Volunteer Educator Training takes place Aug. 27-28 and Sept. 4-5. Advance registration, attendance at all four training sessions and a background check are required. New volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of five field trips over the course of the season. Field trips take place on weekdays during school hours from Sept. 10-Oct. 18.

To learn more about this volunteer opportunity, attend the information session on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 6:30-7:30 pm in the East Tile Room at the Ross Aragon Community Center. A short presentation and slideshow will describe a day’s work at Four Mile Ranch and the simple requirements for becoming a Volunteer Educator.

For more information, contact Audubon Rockies Southwest Regional Director Becky Gillette at 883-3066 or