The impact that the Pine Project has had on my family’s life is profound. We’ve been part of the Pine community since 2013 and over that time, my children and I have participated in programs spanning every season. Pine has been a constant in our life.
My Pine mentors taught me to become alive as a part of the living world, aware and connected to life as it unfolds around me – to speak the language of the trees, the water, the land itself. Disruptions in the soil, or a scattering of spruce tips on the trail suddenly became clues in a great mystery. Birds were no longer ‘it’ but ‘he’ and ’she’. When they sing, I sing back. I learned how to see, how to listen for the very first time. They taught me how to build shelters, make fire, and play games in nature.
As much as Pine programs impacted me, they’ve impacted my children even more. I’ve watched my kids grow and change over their years at Pine, learning to become more resilient, more confident, more curious and compassionate. On rainy days, they know they’ll find more worms. When it’s cold, they know how to slide on the ice. They know how to approach challenges safely and positively, growing from each experience.
On the very first day of our new life in the Covid reality, my kids and I went to the river. We were the only family at the water – everyone else was on the paved trail. We cleaned up garbage. We found a skull and identified it in a field guide. We tracked a goose and imagined the story of her life. We activated our senses and crept silently through the forest without being seen. We carved a piece of dead wood. We identified garlic mustard and ate it.
Every day since, we have been in nature. Every day we use skills taught to us by Pine. It is our special time, it is my gift to them. I am and forever will be grateful to the Pine Project for mentoring me and my children, for teaching us not just how to survive, but how to thrive. Thanks to Pine, we are more connected human beings.
Keeping this work alive is exactly what the planet is asking us to do – to connect and protect. It is the best possible education that I can offer them as we adapt to our new reality. There has never been a more critical time to support the Pine Project, so that they may continue to educate and inspire the people of our city to build resilience, find comfort in nature, and care for each other and the earth.