Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures

Josh Garubanda
by Josh Garubanda | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

I believe that a daily connection to the outdoors makes healthier individuals and stronger communities. Saint Paul has one of the great rivers of the world right in our backyard--the Mighty Mississippi. And yet the vast majority of Saint Paul youth--especially youth of color--have never been on the river in a canoe or kayak, or biked or hiked its shores. My vision is that every child in the Saint Paul Public Schools would have the opportunity to paddle a canoe on the Mississippi River and camp along its shores as part of a hands-on-learning opportunity that builds character, determination, and deep connection to the City of Saint Paul.

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure’s central contribution is using the Mississippi River to help transform education and reduce the academic achievement gap. By creating fun, hands-on, and engaging outdoor education opportunities, our goal is to stem summer learning loss for some of Saint Paul’s most challenged students. Reduction of summer learning loss is a critical factor in the overall effort to close the achievement gap. Additionally, we aim to provide opportunities for students of color to connect to career track job opportunities in the outdoor industry, further reinforcing students’ desire to realize their educational goals and pursue promising futures.

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Program is a cross-sector partnership involving Wilderness Inquiry, the National Park Service, The Saint Paul Public Schools, the Department of Natural Resources, the City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and many other partners and would build upon the the Great River Passage master plan.

About You

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About You

First Name

Josh

Last Name

Garubanda

City

County

Country

United States

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Wilderness Inquiry

Organization Phone

612-676-9400

Organization Address

808 14th Ave SE

City

Minneapolis

Organization Country

United States, MN

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

I believe that a daily connection to the outdoors makes healthier individuals and stronger communities. Saint Paul has one of the great rivers of the world right in our backyard--the Mighty Mississippi. And yet the vast majority of Saint Paul youth--especially youth of color--have never been on the river in a canoe or kayak, or biked or hiked its shores. My vision is that every child in the Saint Paul Public Schools would have the opportunity to paddle a canoe on the Mississippi River and camp along its shores as part of a hands-on-learning opportunity that builds character, determination, and deep connection to the City of Saint Paul.
The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure’s central contribution is using the Mississippi River to help transform education and reduce the academic achievement gap. By creating fun, hands-on, and engaging outdoor education opportunities, our goal is to stem summer learning loss for some of Saint Paul’s most challenged students. Reduction of summer learning loss is a critical factor in the overall effort to close the achievement gap. Additionally, we aim to provide opportunities for students of color to connect to career track job opportunities in the outdoor industry, further reinforcing students’ desire to realize their educational goals and pursue promising futures.
The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Program is a cross-sector partnership involving Wilderness Inquiry, the National Park Service, The Saint Paul Public Schools, the Department of Natural Resources, the City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and many other partners and would build upon the the Great River Passage master plan.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

What make the UWCA different is: scale, collaboration, and connection. Wilderness Inquiry currently serves about 2,000 Saint Paul youth through the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program annually. This project would extent this successful program to serve all St. Paul Public School students.

This project also involves partners from government, schools, private nonprofit organizations, and private industry. This collaboration both demonstrates real support from the broader community, but also ensures success.

Finally, this project will offer a direct connection to the Mississippi River for an underserved population of Saint Paul. People of color are disproportionately underrepresented in outdoor pursuits. This project would change that.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures project will have an impact on all youth in the Saint Paul Public Schools. We believe that youth learn better and are more apt to stay in school when they feel socially connected and emotionally engaged. The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program augments traditional classroom learning through dynamic outdoor experiential learning opportunities on the Mississippi River that engage students in science and math lessons, encourage teamwork and accountability, and create an inclusive environment that helps all students grow and realize their potential.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

We are proposing expansion of an existing successful program. The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program is currently serving 2,000 Saint Paul Public School students annually. This project would allow us to scale up that program to make canoeing and camping along the Mississippi River available to EVERY student in the Saint Paul Public Schools. We believe that after the initial investment for infrastructure, marketing, and implementation, the program will be self-sustaining through other funding sources. The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program is already being recognized as a national model for urban youth in hands on environmental education activities. This project will demonstrate how to bring that program to scale.