Crunch, Crunch, Crunch: Black Families Sharing a Fall Hike

Contributed by Jennifer Chambers, founder of Hiking Along Science & Hiking for Kids
Last Sunday was one of those perfect fall afternoons in DC:  Bright blue skies, crisp autumn air and amazing colors of yellow, orange and red shimmered in the sunlight. Who wouldn’t want to be outside? Ten families from Jack and Jill, an African American family organization said “sign me up!” and participated on a hike with  Hiking Along in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve along the Potomac River.

Twenty-three energetic kids and their parents hiked two miles underneath old growth trees to learn about the importance of them in their lives and for the Earth. They listened to a story about the seasonal cycle of tress, hammered leaves onto cloth to learn about chlorophyll, did tree back rubbings to reinforce the bark’s essential role of a tree, and played Simon says to learn about the tree life cycle.
Beyond teaching the activities, I enjoyed watching the kids be challenged by the trail, hills and water crossings, but also witness their imagination with logs, sticks, leaves and rocks. The most memorable moment was watching them use team work to carry a large tree limb down the trail. Land managers, here come the next generation of trail builders – energetic and using team work and communication.
Parents are their children’s biggest role model. My passion is helping families share the wonders of nature while hiking. On Sunday, parents and their kids shared memories and tons of smiles because they had fun in nature. The memories are the best but as one parent said to me, “there is one overlooked benefit, my kids went to bed easily.” Amen.