Sequim Bay State Park rangers look to grow interest and support for two new outdoor programs to help children get outside and experience nature.
The Nature Discovery School and Rainshadow Outdoor Adventure Retreat (ROAR) programs will be based out of Sequim Bay State Park, Ramblewood Retreat Center, and Miller Peninsula State Park throughout the year to offer children in school and afterschool programs a variety of outdoor activities tailored to each class/program, according to Ranger Stacey Coltrain.
The park received a $22,500 No Child Left Inside grant from the state this summer to start the programs that she based on another state parks program, encouraging people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds to go outside and enjoy state parks.
Nature Discovery School
Classrooms from K-12 can visit the local state parks’ grounds for educational field trips focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by hiking and exploring.
Programs can focus on water filtration, plant and marine life, and habitat restoration, with science experiments available to perform, Coltrain said.
“We want to work with teachers on their curriculum and we can tailor it to what they’re doing in school,” she said.
So far, four Sequim and Port Angeles schools have written letters of interest, Coltrain said, and rangers hope to grow interest locally and in Jefferson and Kitsap counties.
Teachers can choose between half- or full-day use of facilities — three to six hours — for 30-60 children.
Coltrain said she hopes to have at least one field trip this spring to help gain a better idea of how to improve the program for students.
She said transportation costs were one of the biggest deterrents in field trips she’s heard from teachers, so part of the state grant is available to help pay for busing.
To schedule a trip, volunteer, donate and/or for more information, contact Coltrain at Stacey.firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-683-4235.
Focused on under-served teens from larger cities, Rainshadow Outdoor Adventure Retreat (ROAR) offers overnight retreats and access to fun offerings depending on the time of the year, such as mountain biking, hiking, horsemanship, kayaking, snowshoeing and more.
As many as 30 children between the ages of 12-18 can visit for a retreat, Coltrain said, with the goal to “bring youth into nature and give them new experiences that they do not have the means to achieve themselves.”
“It is our hope to bring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) and under-served youth into nature for ‘real’ outdoor experiences,” she said.
Organizers hope to have their first trip in January, and they’re in talks with other Seattle-Tacoma area organizations to visit.
Similar to Nature Discovery School, programming can be adjusted for each agency, Coltrain said, and possibly include guest speakers, art instruction, and more.
Sequim Bay State Park has until June 2025 to use the state’s grant funding, and Coltrain said she has “every intention of reapplying” in the next funding cycle.
Grant funds will help with the programs’ startup, she said, and monetary support from community members/businesses will help with transportation, food, purchase/rental of equipment, supplies, and more. So far, Coltrain has gone door-to-door, and/or emailed/called local businesses seeking support and has received some verbal commitments, donations, and/or gift certificates for meals, water bottles, sleeping bags and other equipment.
Volunteers will also be needed for activities and programming, such as instructing art, Coltrain said. Required background checks will be performed by the state.
Schools/programs and those interested in helping can contact Coltrain at Stacey.email@example.com or 360-683-4235.
Sequim Bay State Park hosts a pancake fundraiser from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Applebee’s Sequim, 130 River Road, to support its new programs. Advance tickets are $12 at Sequim Bay State Park or by calling 360-683-4235.