In order to support the mental, social, emotional, and physical health of young people and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is launching a new subscription-based remote program that will connect families through nature-based activities and learning.
Weekly Wonder is designed primarily for families with children who are in grades K-8 interested in nature and national parks. Each week the program will engage families through new videos of nature-based challenges and activities and shared online livestream experiences.
“There is broad, evidence-based support for spending time outside, now especially. Of course there are obvious health benefits to fresh air and sunshine, but there are also reasons that go beyond physical well-being. Exploring the outdoors and seeing something new for the first time are moments that this program is based on. It will provoke curiosity and engagement in learning. And when you share these kinds of experiences with other people, both within a family and with a larger community, all sorts of deeper social bonds start to appear,” said Logan Rosenberg, Youth Programs Manager at Tremont Institute.
In a typical year, families participate in popular Tremont Institute programs such as Firefly and Smoky Mountain Family Camps and hands-on community science activities such as bird banding, monarch tagging, and phenology plot monitoring. This new program brings the wonder and discovery of popular Tremont programs to families wherever they may be.
Tremont Education Director John DiDiego said, “I am excited to provide this type of support for families. Weekly Wonder is refreshingly different from anything else out there but remains true to our field-tested learning model. We hope this program will bring the magic of the Tremont experience where it is needed most now—in homes and communities across the country. And the gentle way we address social and emotional needs will provide a much needed ‘cushion’ from the many hard challenges facing us all.”