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Wonder and Joy

“Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence…The voice of nature is always encouraging.” – Henry David Thoreau

I often wonder what goes through the minds of our campers during hikes. Is this place as magical to them as it is to me? On Mentor hikes, we explore the vast wilderness of the Preserve, while simultaneously looking ever closer to the miniscule. The wonders of nature can be found instantly if you gaze downstream in the Green River or glimpse across Long Rock to the distant mountains. Equally as remarkable are the little things that can be found if only we take the time to look. The sheer joy of a camper who sees a salamander’s face for the first time is sometimes all we need to realize that everything is based on our own perception. Do you remember the first time something caught your eye in the woods? I guarantee you that each of our campers remember their first encounter with wildlife at GRP. A tiny fragment of the forest is enough to spark imagination and wonder.

Every day, as I look for the next great photo op, I am constantly watching our camper’s eyes, waiting for the moment they light up. What do they see? Are they looking for a bear, deer, turkey or venomous snake? Or, are they wondering why the leaves have those weird yellow bumps? Are they simply wondering why? Our staff encourage Campers to let their curiosity expand. All questions are welcomed. This makes daily life full of enlightenment, for all who are willing to see the beauty of nature.

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