Awarded Outstanding EE Program in 2021 by AAEE & Educator of the Yr in 2022 by AZGFD.
"Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives."Thomas Berry
Please accept my most sincere apologies for being unreachable this past month. Unfortunately I and my two children were in a very severe car accident. I am recovering from major surgery and will be in rehabilitation for an undetermined period of time. My children did not survive the collision. As you all will understand, this life altering event is consuming all of my time, energy and resources.
Effective the 7th of November, all activities, classes and programs were suspended. What exactly this means for the future is yet to be determined but I appreciate everyone's understanding and patience during this difficult time. As soon as I am able, I will begin to address the business here and you all will be updated with the full detail.
If you would like to continue to receive updates, please feel free to join one of the Facebook groups that have been started in the children's honor. One such group can be found in the updates section of the fundraiser started for us by the community here Https://bit.ly/Balmanfamily
For all who have selflessly shared your support, encouragement and strength these past few weeks my husband and I are so very greatful. Words cannot express how fortunate we feel to be surrounded by so many caring and loving friends.
ECO began its mission to get more children outdoors to experience nature and learn about their natural world in 2017. The program began in Atlanta, Georgia and launched in Phoenix, Arizona in 2019, after the founder relocated due to health reasons. Since 2017 ECO programs have assisted over 150 children in spending over 1,000 hrs outdoors.
ECO is a 100% outdoor education, place-based program that is similar to the "forest school" programs prevalent across Europe, minus the forest. Instead we have a wondrous, beautiful, and biologically diverse desert to explore, so we refer to our program model as a "desert school." We are one of the few 100% outdoor desert schools across the world. Our mission is to immerse children in connecting with the natural world. Through ECO, children learn about and explore nature through cross-curricular, hands-on, experiential activities, so that they will develop knowledge about, love for, and dedication to nature's wonders.
Our program has been very well received since launching in Phoenix. As a result, we have expanded our programming so that we can assist even more children with getting outdoors to learn. We now offer outdoor programs in Tucson, Casa Grande, Marana Prescott, Show Low, and Phoenix Metro. In addition to our semester homeschool programs, we are also offering weekend and evening programs for families, as well as private programs for groups (school, after-school, scouts, etc). We also offer wildlife wonder drop in class options, nature journaling classes, nature-themed book club, family hikes, and youth bird outings for families who are unable to commit to our semester program. And in Fall 2022 we will be adding ECO Guardians a program just for adults. View our calendar below, and check back often because we are always adding programs.
We have expanded our semester homeschool programs and will have 11 program options beginning in August 2022. Our Pathfinders program is for children in PreK-K, our Trailblazers and Adventurers programs are for children in 1st-4th, our Explorers program is for children in 4th-7th, and our Teen Naturalist program is for children in 8th-12th. In Fall 2023 we will be launching ECO Inchworms a program for toddlers and moms. We have redone our website to make it easier to navigate. Programs are now broken down by location Glendale, Queen Creek, Show Low and Marana. More cities coming soon.
If you would like to help us ensure that no child is left inside, please consider making a donation to our scholarship fund. This fund will help cover program costs for families that need financial assistance.
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Thank you for visiting our website. Please let us know if you have any questions.
We are honored to be awarded the 2021 Outstanding Environmental Education Program award!
Kathy is honored to be awarded the 2022 Educator of the Year Award award!
We are now an approved vendor with ESA!