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Our Founding Story 

An idea sprouted.

Looking out from the front steps of my children's elementary school was a pivotal moment.  Set in a seaside landscape, I could see the harbor in the distance and the nearby creek meandering past the school towards the ocean. 

 

I thought to myself, "What an amazing landscape for outdoor learning."

 

There was one glaring problem; the children were rarely taken outside to enjoy and learn from this landscape.  When they did go outside for recess they played on asphalt surrounded by a chain link fence. 

 

I knew that something had to be done.  

The seeds were sown.

I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to thrive outside as a kid. Something changed in me as I stepped outside and breathed in the fresh air.  Outside was freedom.  Imagination.  Beauty.  Over time I developed a close relationship with nature.

 

In school, my outdoor experiences shaped me as well.  Whether I was mucking around in the local marsh studying the ecosystem, planting dune grass with my class, or later as a college student studying landscapes, those hands-on, outdoor learning experiences inspired me.  I went on to become a landscape architect and an environmentalist.

Change is blooming.

Today, many children are not given the opportunity to thrive outside, and some don't even have access to the outdoors. Our culture has become increasingly indoor-oriented with much focus on technology and structured extra-curricular activities for kids.  At school, the days are planned to the minute. Recess periods are cut short and time outside for hands-on learning is often considered a luxury most teachers cannot afford.

 

I embarked on a journey to change the landscape and learning at my children's school.  As a result, today there is an outdoor learning environment there and the teachers often take their students outside for learning in all subjects.  The children enjoy their outdoor time and they are learning and building their own unique relationships with nature and the outdoors.

Thrive Outside was born!

Thrive Outside was born of these experiences and the desire to help young people everywhere to have the opportunity to fall in love with nature and to thrive through that experience.

Founded in 2017, we work to give kids access to nature through hands-on, outdoor learning and nature play in schools.  We do this by designing and implementing dynamic "Outdoor Learning Zones" coupled with teacher professional development in outdoor learning and teaching.

 

We also host a variety community events aimed at encouraging kids, teens and their families to enjoy the outdoors.

The Thrive Outside Movement is growing.

Thrive Outside has now grown into a community of like-minded people who rally around providing access to nature for all children and teens.

 

We are united in our belief that our young people thrive through a deep connection and understanding of the natural world around them, and that they will be the environmental stewards of our future.

 

We welcome you to join our Thrive Outside Movement and Family of Supporters!

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Shannon Rozea is Thrive Outside's Founding Director and Landscape Architect.