Nature nonprofit is offering outdoor hikes virtually

Posted at 5:02 AM, Jun 03, 2020

Summer vacation is just days away for several students and the time off might look a little different this year,

NatureTrack is a nonprofit organization based in Santa Barbara County that provides outdoor field trips for elementary-aged students. Before Governor Newsom prompted school closures and a shelter-at-home order, Nature Track would lead local classrooms out on nature hikes that stretched from the coast the mountains across Santa Barbara County.

"When the schools shut down, they didn't have the feasibility to come out on the field trips anymore," Jennifer Morrell, the program director for NatureTrack, said.

Since students and teachers have had to turn to distance learning, Nature Track did the same.

"So we went out and started doing some of our hikes just videoing them and doing virtual hikes," Morrell said.

Listed on their website, NatureTrack currently offers virtual trips to Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden, and Nojoqui Falls.

"They can click on that virtual trip and they'll see a virtual hike where they're actually going on the trail getting some orientation of where that is and what you might see there, and then there's some sequential videos," Morrell said.

In addition to the virtual hikes, students can access material and activities that accompany each hike.