Mission and Impact
For over 20 years it has been our mission to steward the health of our community by fostering life-long relationships with the natural world through exceptional mentoring and nature education.
As we celebrate our local achievements and two decades of local nature connection and community building, we are sowing seeds to build our organization’s reach and expand nature access opportunities for all.
Providing more opportunities for people to get outside exploring nature and learning the skills of sustenance and thriving that have served our ancestors forever is core to our mission.
Since 2002, we have sought to keep our educational mission accessible by offering free programing, sliding-scale fees, and need-based scholarships.
We’ve achieved some exciting milestones over the past several years…
In 2014 we expanded nature immersion for our youngest participants with the launch of Ithaca Forest Preschool, an all-outdoor nature immersion program for ages 3-5.
In 2015, having realized long-standing sustainability goals, we shifted more organizational focus on building a more inclusive and social justice-oriented program model. Thus began our Nature Access for All initiatives that continue today.
Each year we distribute close to $30,000 in scholarship funding and provide free or reduced-cost programming to over 20% of all program participants.
With the help of the Lane Family Foundation we’ve run no-cost field trips in the Fall and Spring for all BJM fourth graders for three years running.
In 2019 we launched reparations fee-waivers (regardless of financial need) to BIPoC community members who have been impacted by cultural thefts, past and present. For more visit our reparations page.
In response to teens speaking up about a desire to continue their journey after outgrowing youth programs, we’ve grown our teen leadership offerings. Initiatives include our popular Mentor in Training track that expanded to a year-round program in 2019.
In 2021 with added an LGBTQIA+2 teen program and began a partnership with Village at Ithaca to increase youth employment opportunities for BIPoC teens within our programs.
We continue in our work of offering unforgettable adventures and life-affirming experiences for all and we are grateful for the support of our community.
If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer, sponsor, donor or simply an advocate out in the world, we welcome your involvement and look forward to connecting.
…and we hope to see you in the woods!
“As an Indigenous family, it was incredibly powerful to find a land acknowledgement on every page or your site and to see that your reparations scholarships are not tied to income. It has been frustrating and painful in the past to feel as if I need to give an organization my trauma and poverty in order to participate. Thank you.”
“Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about our situation and being flexible and responsive. Our camper said he could have stayed for another 2 weeks…One day.”
Growth, Independence, Confidence, Teamwork...
“I am so grateful for the strides you are making to make your programs accessible. Thanks to the reparations fee waivers, my son has been able to participate in multiple weeks of camp. He has grown so much and developed his independence, confidence, and teamwork. It’s wonderful and brings tears to my eyes!”