Wilderness Inquiry’s mission is to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world through shared outdoor adventures. Through the medium of outdoor adventure travel, they inspire personal growth, enhanced awareness of the environment and community integration. WI Adventures encourage people to open themselves to new possibilities and opportunities. Since its inception, Wilderness Inquiry has served well over 385,000 people on canoe, kayak, rafting, hiking, dogsled, ski, horsepack, and safari adventures throughout North America and the world.
The Outdoor Club model has evolved as more and more schools engage with the work of Wilderness Inquiry and look for ways to bring the magic of the outdoors into their schools and classrooms. Over many years, Wilderness Inquiry has built up a lot of knowledge and expertise and want to make it as easy as possible for schools and teachers to avail of this knowledge. Edison High School in Minneapolis is a great example of this work at its most successful. After three years running, the group is relatively self-sufficient. At the beginning of each school year they meet and determine their activities each month. Where they need additional support/equipment, they reach out to local organizations. About half their events take place away from school property.
Why is it important?
Youth, especially in urban areas, are more disconnected from their natural environment than previous generations. National, state, and local parks are largely unvisited by low income youth and youth of color—a growing percentage of our urban population. A significant inhibiting factor is that these resources are managed by multiple agencies that do not have a grand plan for connecting youth to environmental resources outside of their jurisdictions, resulting in often redundant, competitive, and small scale outreach efforts and underutilized resources. Without active intervention now, we risk alienating the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards from the natural resources closest to them.