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Educating children about the beauty and wonder of nature - while promoting active engagement with nature for our youth.

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Why Hands of the Future?

Introducing… my vision for our children. I have begun a non-profit company called "Hands of the Future, Inc.". The purpose of this company is to educate children about the beauty and wonder of nature and to connect them with the natural world around them.

caterpillar

I have become concerned for some time that children today do not have enough opportunities to play in the natural world, to explore and have adventures like those of past generations. Since the 70's children spend less and less time in nature and more time inside. Recently, on the CBS "This Morning Show", they had a news piece on kids and nature. It said children today spend an average of 20 minutes a day outside. That's not much. They had an extended hike to expose the children to nature and they found it increased their creativity and problem solving skills by 50%.

This shouldn't be surprising. Various studies since 1977 have shown that kids who are allowed to engage in nature:

  • Score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline
  • Show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often
  • Develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one with the world
  • Have improved cognitive development by improving their awareness and reasoning

And it has been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder.

Wonder is an important motivator for lifelong learning. Children have a natural curiosity about the world around them. I would like to encourage that curiosity in a positive setting. I would like teach them that sometimes it's okay to be curious and explore because that can be one of the best ways to learn – through direct contact and trial and error. I would like to show them the infinite possibilities of what could be if they only try…

To Dream of What Could Be

Children greatly benefit from the opportunity to engage nature. They get excited when they experience new things and begin to figure it all out. It's like a light bulb goes on and you can see it in their faces. When they get excited, it makes me excited too, because I know I am sharing something wonderful with them that will follow them throughout their lives – the joy of learning.

Because I understand how important this is to future generations, I would like to change the current trend of being inside. They need to unplug.

My first priority is to provide the best environmental education experience that I can to our area children and to do this at no cost to the children themselves. I want to do this two ways - through our ongoing Junior Nature Club and our new program, Living Schoolyards.

I would also like to eventually develop a Children's Forest area near town. To create a place where there would be formal and informal learning opportunities about the natural world.

I truly love nature and working with children. If I could combine the two, it would be a dream come true for me. But I can't do it alone. I'm willing to work hard, but it will take community support for this dream to become reality. While monetary donations would gladly be accepted, I may also need volunteers to tackle this monumental task. I have lots of ideas, but I'm also willing to listen to yours. And I'm willing to merge your good ideas with mine to create the best possible experience for our children.

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And as I said earlier, I also want this to be free to the children themselves, because every child, regardless of the who they are, should have the same opportunities to learn and grow as everyone else.

I look forward to what could be…

Zonda Bryant - Executive Director
director@hands-future.org

Zonda

 

Our Team

Kim Ordonez - Assistant Director
asst-director@hands-future.org


Becca Busse - Naturalist Educator/Board Secretary
@hands-future.org


Allisa Lustgarten - Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org


Amanda Rhine - Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org



Baleigh Haynes - Naturalist Leader
@hands-future.org



Janelle Duggan - Naturalist Educator/Accountant
@hands-future.org



Jessica Berry - Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org



Michala Salazar - Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org




Amee Klemme- Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org



Lija Krievs- Naturalist Educator
@hands-future.org