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Merrohawke Nature School

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The Agawam knew the Merrimack River as "merroh awke," meaning "strong place." At Merrohawke, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, youth grow strong by nature through experiential learning on land, river and sea to inspire empathy, resilience, grit, and a deep connection to the earth.

Results: From October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019, Merrohawke staff provided 36, 363 hours of nature experiences to 3,514 youth. In 2019, Merrohawke awarded $56K in financial aid to children who wished to attend, thanks to the generosity of philanthropic supporters. No child has ever been turned away due to lack of financial ability to attend.

Target demographics: youth and families living within a 50-mile radius of Newburyport

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3,514 youth and families to connect to nature, themselves and their community through experiential learning on land, river and sea.

Geographic areas served: The Lower Merrimack River Valley along the northeast coast of Massachusetts.

Programs: summer camps, school programs, and all-outdoor forest kindergarten, and more.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son has attended Merrohawke’s programs since he was four. Now 13, he has a love, curiosity, and appreciation of the natural world that will stick with him for life. He’s gained countless tangible skills like carving, fire safety, fishing, and plant and animal identification. But it’s the inner confidence he has gained that, as a parent, makes my heart soar. The staff at Merrohawke respects each child for who they are as individuals. This kind of respect, combined with loads of fun and adventure, is what makes Merrohawke’s programs stand out. Our whole family has benefited!

Olivia MacMillen Achtmeyer B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Merrohawke has changed our family forever. It's staff and programs have given my children the confidence to love the outdoors and the passion to believe in nature. The educators at Merrohawke go above and beyond when it comes to getting to know our children, observing them outside, and guiding them with their interpersonal skills. They are a highly trained and dedicated staff, and their love for the natural world is palpable across all of their materials, offerings, and communications. This is truly a special spot in the world, and we feel so lucky to have this opportunity in our backyards.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Merrohawke Nature School is an ideal program for your children offering summer and year round programs that are focused on nature and the outdoors. From the forest tots at four rock to boat camp on the Erica Lee, there are programs for everyone. Merrohawke helps kids unplug from the digital word and really experience nature and the outdoors and appreciate the area we live in.
Merrohawke has been my daughters first and some times only choice of summer programs. She loves the experiences on the water and the friends she meets. Kate and Rob do an excellent job!

Rob C.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

From the moment our family first set foot onto the Merrohawke Nature School waterfront with our two young sons, we knew this program and its staff and crew were special. Now 10 years later, those same two boys are 15 & 18 and proudly members of the MNS apprentice program & crew. It is so rewarding to watch as they strive to give back to MNS and “pay it forward.” Over these years the Merrohawke program has been a rich & positive influence and resource in & for our community and our family. Thank you for all you do MNS!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Merrohawke Nature School provides the children and young adults of this community and beyond with such a unique and engaging experience with the natural world. Our family has benefited greatly from the programs and educational opportunities for the past eight years and we plan to continue for the next eight and beyond. As a parent and board member, I am able to see and hear through first-hand accounts how Merrohakwe has impacted the growth and development of the children in this community. The stories of the children, including my own about how Merrohawke has helped them, "grow strong by nature" are inspiring. It cannot be understated, especially in our world today, how valuable time spent connecting with nature is to our overall wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet. "Strong Kids...Healthy Planet"

Chris J.4

Board Member

Rating: 5

If you ask our 6-year-old daughter what she remembers most about last summer she smiles and starts talking nonstop about Merrohawke. The weeks she spent doing Merrohawke programs have resulted in a huge appreciation/respect for the outdoors. That mentality has spread to our entire family and her friends.

There are many things that make Merrohawke special, but first and foremost the camp staff is absolutely incredible. The councilors love nature and love teaching kids about it. It's not a summer job for the them - it's a passion.

Can't say enough good things about MNS and the impact it has had on our family!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family is deeply and abundantly grateful for Merrohawke Nature School. Our children started with MNS over ten years ago. Since that time each of them has participated in almost all land and sea programs and progressed in many ways within MNS community. We say they are “growing up Merrohawke”. They say they would never have had it any other way! The essential skills our children have gained through their experiences in MNS have strengthened each of their foundations and serve them well outside of their Merrohawke lives, as they now navigate the world as teens. MNS enables immersion in nature, access to knowledge and experiences for self discovery. Students have FUN and gain a sense of accomplishment. They develop the qualities of confidence, a sense of purpose, self-reliance, insight and gratitude. MNS educators are passionate and experienced. They meet each student at their level in each and every moment and are present at the student’s side at the times when nature itself acts as the teacher. MNS is as special and unique as the area in which we live. IT IS A MUST FOR ALL CHILDREN, which is why our family continues our participation and to offer our support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I strongly believe that the wellbeing- the future- of our Earth belongs to our children. This is one reason why Merrohawke is SO important. My 5 year old daughter has been engaged with Merrohawke for 3 years now- first in their Forest Tots program and now as a Forest Kindergartener. By way of immersion- playing, singing, learning, and exploring- she now has a sense of place, an understanding of, and comfort in the natural world of which she is part. Her confidence and grit (out in the woods in cold, rain and snow!) has noticeably increased, too. The staff and teachers at Merrohawke are wise, kind, and supportive. We're SO lucky to have such an important organization available to us.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a single parent, my resources (time, energy, and finances) are stretched thin with three active young children. Despite what I may lack, however, I believe my children need and deserve the BEST -- and Merrohawke has been that!!! The staff, directors, board, and donors have, over and over, gone above and beyond to support my family with wholehearted generousity, genuine interest in and deep care for our family. This has had an immense impact on how my children are growing and who they are becoming -- strong, resilient, curious, and caring. We LOVE and have participated in both the school year programs -- Forest Kindergarten, Field School, and Forest Tots -- and summer programs -- Dragonflies, Song Sparrows, Red Fox, and Green Crabs (maybe BOATCAMP this year!). Thank you, Merrohawke!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughter was fortunate to attend two years of Forest Kindergarten. This program takes place in the woods without any shelter and happens regardless of rain, snow, etc. Even on the coldest or rainiest of days she wouldn't want to leave when I came to pick her up. Instead she wanted to stay and tend to the fire, collect rocks and jump in mud puddles. This is a true testament to the staff!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My kids have done MNS since they were waist high....They are now older and can look me in the eyes, but one thing we always see is the positive impact MNS has had on them, our family and our community. "Strong by Nature" lives with them every day on our hikes, their constant curiosity and their desire to help in environmental programs/shows/activities around them. MNS set a course for all of us and we are much more appreciative for what Kate and crew have done! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!