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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wild Earth

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Wild Earth leads transformative nature immersion experiences that cultivate character, confidence, passion and perseverance in New York’s youth.

Target demographics: children, teens and adults

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 3000 individuals and families from all walks of life throughout the Hudson Valley

Geographic areas served: the Hudson Valley of New York

Programs: At Wild Earth, children & adults head into the woods and off the trails where they’re meeting plants and animals, learning wilderness skills, creating natural crafts, and building deep connections with friends and inspiring mentors. We work with youth in our programs for school groups, multi-generational nature connection workshops; year-round programs focused on empowerment, connection & wilderness skills; and wilderness-based summer camps.

Community Stories

60 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jennie S.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wild Earth is doing amazing work to realize their mission and provide children with access to wild places, strong mentors, and programs that build courage and character.

Tootsie Anne C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They get kids outside and playing. They ask parents to pay whatever they are able. Wild Earth is exceptional.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son participated in 2 summer programs and one full year program with Wild Earth and thrived in every way possible. We actually believed in their program so much that I drove.2 1/2 hours North 1 weekend a month so that my city boy could find his grounding and be free to explore and be among the wild. The staff is really attuned to the children's needs while holding them accountable for their own responsibilities and limit awareness. They hold space, create sacred ritual and share the beauty and magic of the natural world. Still to this day when we are out in nature my son will step away to find a sit spot and sit still and feel the world around him. I am really grateful for this program, their dedication to.our children and their community.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Wild Earth for many years, since it was a small group of families, trying to get their children to be outdoors, closer to nature, learning how to make friction fires, build shelters out of leaves and other natural materials, identifying animal tracks and animal behavior related to those tracks, birds and bird behavior, the list goes on. My daughter was one of the early instructors. I saw it morph from that small organization to the one it is now. Doing the same activities and so much more, bringing their programs to public schools, to inner city schools, opening up possibilities to families who could otherwise not afford these programs, and summer camps. The list goes on. They are truly an organization that teaches by example, and for that reason the children they serve and the staff that teach shine.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so fortunate that this program is close to my home. It has provided my children with a deep connection to the wilderness, an understanding about themselves, and a tribe of community members that think deeply and connect meaningfully to each other and the world.
My two kids have gone through Wild Earth programs since they were in elementary school, and most recently completed the intense Rite of Passage ceremony as teenagers. I can truly say that it is the best financial investment I have made in my children, as it has built their character, endurance, appreciation and awareness, which in today's tech-filled world is challenging for our youth to experience. I'm so proud that they will both be working for Wild Earth and gaining early job experiences in this amazing setting with supportive mentors this summer.

Mary Jane S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My kids have been part of Wild Earth for the past eight years. They're now counselors and in the teen program. They have learned so much and become more aware, connected and self sufficient.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter has participated in Wild Earth's summer camps and weekend offerings during the school year. She has loved Kestrel camp and Mystwood. Both programs have been full of caring instructors who are warm, creative, and enthusiastic about kids and their ideas. Through Wild Earth she has become a fearless explorer and a careful observer.

Our daughter is a city kid, so time in nature is particularly special and rare. The skills she brings home from Wild Earth are the kind of life skills that can only be taught experientially, and in an environment where children are encouraged to be deeply present with their environment, the people around them, and with their own thoughts and feelings. One day we were walking across town she noticed a snail on the sidewalk. She paused to help the snail find its way into a garden bed around a street tree so it wouldn't get smushed by the next passerby. Little moments like this make me aware of the value of Wild Earth's programs, how they help children be truly present with their surroundings, and give them a sense of agency to make a change in the world, even if that change is as small as helping a lost snail.

Our family loves Wild Earth and we are really proud of the work they are doing in the Kingston public schools as well as in their camps and weekend programs. Wild Earth's belief that every child can benefit from being in nature and noticing the world around you is something we support 100%.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

My kids have been going to Wild Earth for 8 years, and it's an incredible place--I wish I could go to this camp! Sometimes I actually get to: it's nature exploration, survival skills, a beautiful community, and just sheer fun, all rolled into one. They also go the distance to make sure ALL kids get to experience nature, some kids are out in the woods for the first time ever! Wild Earth is an incredible organization!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

Wild Earth has been an organization that we have been involved with for over 10 years. My sixteen year old son started attending their summer sessions when he was 6, and continued going every year as a camper until he started to work as a counselor the past several years, and continues to do so this summer as well. I was a participant in a women's workshop program, "Inner Compass' for nine months where we stayed and camped out in nature as a way to learn about it, as well as ourselves.
My husband and I also partner with Wild Earth in an Edible Landscaping class for adults, where we teach intensive classes on growing food. We have seen and experienced how this wonderful non-profit has given us lots of opportunities to be in nature, and we have been supporters of the organization and what they do for our local community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son has been enjoying wild Earth summer programs for a handful of years now. He once mentioned that he wished it could be his school year round. He would highly recommend it as would I. I also take programs when I can, the last one being a wildlife tracking excursion that I will repeat as soon as its offered.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wild Earth is a top notch outdoor school and day camp. The people, the mission, and the vision all combine to give a fantastic experience for our child time after time. We're also huge supporters of their outreach campaigns. Wild Earth walks the walk! We plan to come back year after year.

Ana L.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Excellent programs for kids and adults teaching and supporting traditional skills and nature connection.

1 Jeremy B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended Wild Earth programs and eventually became an instructor. I worked for Wild Earth for six years and loved every minute. The work being done is so crucial. Wild Earth works to expose young people to the natural world and grow appreciation and connection for nature. This is more important now than ever as we live our lives more and more segregated from the outdoors.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I started attending programs offered by Wild Earth when I was eight years old that forever changed how I interact with the outdoors. Growing up in a strong and vibrant mentoring community facilitated by wild earth allowed to me grow into a confident and grateful human being. Each moment outside with Wild Earth has altered and directed the course of my life. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this organization as it grows and changes the lives of everyone it touches.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love Eild Earth!

Both of my children have been attending Wild Earth wilderness summer camps since they were 5 years old. They have gone to other camps in the area, but Wild Earth is their favorite, and is special. My daughter’s favorite days are when it’s raining. She loves getting muddy and building fires. I got to experience Wild Earth too as a mom. We attended a mother/daughter program for 2 years in a row. This was a great bonding experience for us The instructors empower everyone and are really creative and skilled in the wilderness.

Wild earth came to my daughter’s middle school and led programming for all of the 5th and 6th grade. Kids that would not normally be in nature were immersed in it and were really inspired.

Over the years Wild Earth has spread its wings and for this my family is grateful. Our community is very lucky to have this amazing not-for-profit build confidence in our youth.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wild Earth is surely one of the very best nonprofits to which I've ever had a connection. Both of our school-aged children attend Wild Earth programs -- especially summer camps but also year-round programming on the weekend. My wife and I also take part in Wild Earth programming for adults and families. The vision of Wild Earth is tremendous and transformative. Its participants explore and play in nature -- in the woods, in fields -- year-round, without the goal of hiking a daunting number of miles, without most traditional camp games. Instead, the participants feel comfortable learning how to be resilient in nature. They learn how to identify plants, how to track, how to build debris huts, and most of all how to engage in creative, joyous play without butane or plastic toys or connected electronic devices. Wild Earth leaders run one of the most thriving and functional local nonprofit organizations I've ever seen. They treat their workers fabulously. And the camp staff who run the programs are among the best I've ever seen. These are amazing young adults who are taking exceptional care of our youth. The difference between how children are treated by their camp counselors at Wild Earth versus most other outdoor summer camps is night-and-day. Keep up the fabulous work, Wild Earth!

Paul L.1

Donor

Rating: 5

There are rare opportunities in our children's lives where irrepressible joy, education, community, creativity, and a deep emotional attunement come together to create a life-long remembered experience. And, to boot, in nature! This is Wild Earth.

Our two boys, now 6 and 8, are members of the Wild Earth family, and will continue to be part of the Wild Earth family. They have been learning to honor the earth and honor each other; to bring nature awareness with them wherever they go. This is Wild Earth.

As parents, we are treated with care, love and respect, and honored as if members of a special tribe. How the programs work and are explained reflect an organization with supreme integrity and knowledge. This is Wild Earth.

And because Wild Earth does so much for community, its generosity keeps expanding and extending to new programs -- to bring Wild Earth to everyone young and elder, with and without sufficient financial means to benefit from such vital goodness. Farther and farther reaching. This is Wild Earth.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wild Earth's presence is a gift to the Hudson Valley in how it encourages all of us to "bloom where we are planted," by stepping outside and into the incredible richness of our landscape, and to remind us that the earth is where we all live.
More than any other nonprofit in the area, Wild Earth roots a sense of community, as its many programs span the lifespan and spark joy! We feel privileged as a family to be growing with this organization, and so appreciate how they continue to reach out to urban communities and to people from diverse economic backgrounds.
Both of my children have benefitted from the simplicity of being in the woods with Wild Earth's skilled and supportive leader/mentor/witnesses. In particular, for the past two years my daughter has participated in the monthly Artemis Moon program - she looks forward to nothing more than these days outdoors with all girls and women where she can play, explore, and learn skills, and to return home shining.

Marsha Entel A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand the positive influence and change Wild Earth offers in my granddaughter's .

Born and bred in the City, being in the woods is out of my comfort Zone.
However, when I'm with my granddaughters their comfort level is astounding.
I see how confident they are;the knowledge they have of the variety of trees and berries is second nature to them. Truly making them aware of their surroundings and being present in the moment. That's a gift to learn at such young ages.

In addition, the confidence and pride on their faces when they learn a new skill to sustain themselves in the woods is priceless

This program instills all the values one wants children to have( confidence, character, strength and respect.

Donor

Rating: 5

The friendliest group of staff I have ever had the pleasure to interact with. They make it their mission to make everyone feel included and help bring the great outdoors to all. Wild Earth is not just a non-profit organization, they are a family helping to unite individual.