The University of Idaho Outdoor Program is all about making bonds between people and nature.
With that goal in mind, the program will hold a hike to provide an opportunity to explore Idaho in celebration of Earth Day.
On April 22, participants will travel to Elk Creek Falls, Idaho, one of the tallest waterfalls in the state, said Trevor Fulton, Outdoor Program director. The trip costs $20 and is open to anyone. Participants can sign up either until the trip is full or before the pre-trip meeting April 20.
The hike will give students a chance to travel off campus and see someplace close to Moscow that they might explore on their own later, Fulton said.
The Outdoor Program hopes to provide students the opportunity to get outside and experience new things, which they can take with them throughout their lives, he said.
“One of the things that students sometimes do, especially if they’re coming from out of the area, is they kind of just hold up on campus and they don’t necessarily get out into the surrounding communities at all or surrounding areas,” Fulton said.
The hike is put together to combat this — to help students get out and be active in areas close to town, Fulton said.
“A lot of our programming tries to show people that there is stuff around here,” Fulton said.
Fulton said the area for the hike was chosen because it is local, about an hour east of Moscow, and an easy hike.
The hike itself is low structure, so students can hike past the falls or pick wildflowers, mushrooms and see wildlife, Fulton said.
“It’s really whatever folks want to do,” Fulton said.
The Outdoor Program works in collaboration with other offices around campus throughout the school year, Fulton said. For the hike, it’s a partnership with the Sustainability Center.
The Sustainability Center works to provide multiple weeks’ worth of activities for students to participate in around Earth Day, Fulton said.
“We traditionally will do some sort of activity or program on Earth Day weekend,” Fulton said. “This year, we thought it’d be fun to partner with the Sustainability Center and kind of add to their programming for the overall earth weeks that they do.”
One of the main goals of the Sustainability Center is to encourage individuals to get involved and participate in outdoor activities, said Kelly Painter, student director of the Sustainability Center.
This is why they decided to partner with the Outdoor Program.
While the program is getting individuals outside and active, the Sustainability Center is anticipating that students will bring their passion for nature back with them and help volunteer for other events they host throughout the year, Painter said.
“We’re hoping that while people are doing that, they also develop a connection to nature and feel this responsibility to take action and help protect it,” Painter said.
Savannah Cardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @savannahlcardon