Los Mejores Calcetines Llevan Historias—A Summer to Remember
by Nizhooni Hurd, Environmental Learning for Kids Urban Ranger Assistant Coordinator
Please check out the Urban Rangers on Instagram: @denverurbanrangers
The Urban Rangers program is a summer youth employment opportunity offered by Environmental Learning for Kids, ELK, in partnership with The National Park Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. A “normal” summer would consist of weekly fishing clinics across lakes and ponds in Denver, family camping trips and so much more. More hugs, and more time in person.
Unfortunately, this summer we all needed to adapt to a new normal - at least for the time being. We didn't spot any moose at CSU’s mountain campus during training. Rather we all gathered via video call, imagining the aromas of each other’s coffee and wondering how we will all maintain our connections. Connecting young people and attempting to build a team, especially with new members, over Zoom calls is quite the challenge. Breakout rooms were an option, but we also opened our minds and schedules to some dedicated virtual escape rooms and even exchanged playlists to learn what our teammates jam out to.
Even in these unprecedented times, the Urban Rangers of Environmental Learning for Kids have had a summer for the books. Amidst a pandemic, the Urban Rangers have managed to sweep algae out of hatchery raceways with metal brooms, plant flowers in old chicken feeders, hand out 75 backpacks to ELK families, monitor mine reclamation revegetation, learn and get active with environmental justice efforts, get on the path to becoming Certified Interpretive Guides and to top it all off create a sock design with Smartwool.