by Evy Nathan, Coverts Cooperator (2012) and Chair of the Kingston Conservation Commission
How to get kids and their families off smart phones and media devices and out of doors? That is the question.
Encouraging youth to become involved with conservation has been my take-away as a Coverts Cooperator, and as the chairperson of our local Conservation Commission. We've completed several terrific programs with the schools and the Scouts, but have yet to succeed in actually getting kids out on hiking trails. When I learned a couple of years ago about Exeter's Trail Passport System, I decided it was an idea our town could adapt.
A quote from the brochure best explains how the Trail Passport works:
"You simply follow the maps or trail markers to the passport rubbing location, (a post with an animal marker) place the corresponding page of your passport on top of the marker and make a rubbing with the side of a crayon or pencil. This will create a passport “stamp” for each site you visit. When you have collected all five stamps, pick up your certificate for a free "trail-blazer" ice cream at the Kingston Community Library!"
Our Trail Passport has taken time to get off the ground. New maps had to be made, descriptions written, rubbing plates and posts fabricated and installed, and a brochure design to be adapted. A special thanks goes out to Kristen Murphy, Natural Resource planner for the town of Exeter, who helped revise the Exeter booklet for Kingston. Or local ice cream stand loves the idea of being part of the Trail Passport, but we could not expect them to provide free ice cream, and so the Commission voted to fund the program from its public education budget line.
We're exited that that "Hike Kingston" is finally good to go. I hope to report a successful year in 2017, and if so, perhaps spread Exeter's inspired idea throughout the state.