By: Constance Brown
One morning late last fall, I joined some little preschoolers and their moms for a leisurely ramble in the Durham woods, led by volunteer naturalists Lucy Meigs, Lisa Liesener, and Lainy Melvin. There was no apparent structure: we’d stroll a little, stop to notice magical bits of nature--kids and grownups crouching close to the ground—then, with apparent aimlessness, move on again, with our leaders gently educating us in nature’s marvels. For an hour, time stopped, reminding me of the idyllic 1950’s childhood I spent playing in the Connecticut countryside.
This hour was part of the non-profit organization Everyone Outside, designed to provide people of all ages with time in the natural world. Founder and director Lucy Meigs, realizing that today’s children (and adults!) are too busy with scheduled activities to spend time outside, began leading hikes years ago, gradually adding special activities like Frog Fridays and Women of the Woods hikes. In 2015, Meigs and colleague Lisa Liesener organized Everyone Outside as a non-profit, with the mission of “helping people foster a deep connection with nature.” Last year, with the help of 25 trained volunteers, they reached more than 800 schoolchildren and a total of 1,000+ people in all with various programs. Visit their website to read about their activities, school programs, and nature resources. While you’re there, listen to a recording of spring peepers and wood frogs!