Nature provides the ultimate classroom space, allowing youth to learn through play and exploration.  Wilderness Louisville is a nonprofit that engages youth in outdoor experiential education, and the Norton Foundation loves them for it.

Wilderness Louisville firmly believes that nature is for everyone and strives for Louisville’s natural areas to be world class destinations for all citizens and visitors to enjoy. Its focus is to increase equitable access to nature in our community.

A key program for the organization is Louisville is Engaging Children Outdoors (ECHO).  It is a multi-component outdoor education and recreation program geared toward creating cradle to career opportunities in nature.  ECHO programming consists of school-based environmental education; out-of-school education/recreation programming; nature play with the ECHOmobile; summer job-training; and family-oriented community events. ECHO serves communities in West and South Louisville and beyond.

The youth in ECHO’s school and community center partners are exposed to Environmental Education (insect studies, plant and tree identification, fossil exploration, etc.), and outdoor recreation activities such as climbing, hiking, biking, and paddling.  ECHO serves approximately 2,500 youth annually, and seeks to increase this by 25 percent in the next few years.

One way Wilderness Louisville hopes to expand its reach is through the creation of the Shawnee Outdoor Learning Center in Shawnee Park.  This will serve not only as the home base for the organization, but will also expose West Louisville youth to the joy and benefits of nature-based learning.

Bravo, Wilderness Louisville.  Keep up the great work you do for our community.