Recently, while crossing a log that spans a brook in my back yard, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. Balanced on that birch, I realized that while sharing adventures in natural settings, there will always be opportunities for building bridges.
These spans may be as insignificant as a simple link between the opposite sides of a small mounain stream, or as powerful as the forest-forged connections between family members and small mountains, open fields and old friends.
This connection, which serves as a reattachement to our own nature, is a key component of outdoor travel, adventure and discovery. It also serves as one of the most important links to connect the various North Country communities with an unrivaled commonality.
As I crossed over the brook, I was not just getting to the other side; I was recapturing a unique sense of adventure and discovery that has happily haunted me since my youngest days. It was an experience that provided me with a sense of place; where I knew I belonged.
This same sense of belonging was readily apparent last week at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, when I visited to attend the second annual Adirondack Day.
It is an event that was developed to allow students from local school districts an opportunity to showcase and share their accomplishments in achieving academic 'challenges' designed by the Adirondack Curriculum Project, (ACP).
The ACP was formed in 2003 by a group of individual educators, schools, businesses and organizations, with the purpose of fostering increased public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Adirondack region's natural and cultural resources.
The organization hosts a Web site which offers a long list of projects or 'Challenges' that permit schools to incorporate aspects of the region's history into the educational process, at www.adkcurriculumproject.org,
In 2005, the NYS Conservation Council selected the ACP for their annual "Conservation Education Organization" Award for their continuing efforts to bring the Northern Forest into the classroom.