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Passing the Love for the Outdoors to the Next Generation

Miranda is an Early Childhood Educator and Program Coordinator for Latino Outdoors in San Francisco, CA 

For over a decade my family and I have explored numerous parks around California. California is so diverse in its ecosystems that there is so much to explore! There are thousands of acres of coastline, inland and beautiful mountains.  I often wonder if I will be able to see it all in my lifetime.  

When I became a mother, I knew I wanted to raise my son partially outdoors, exploring trees, looking for fungus, identifying birds and wildflowers. Mayu, my son, is 9 now and is infatuated with the internet and video games. With distant learning, because of the pandemic, screen time has posed more of a challenge. So, my family made a pack that on the weekends it would be adventure time. And some days when my son and I needed a break we would hit the trails on our own and explore the San Francisco Bay area.  

Over the years I have watched Mayu grow into a confident child in outdoor spaces. He often leads on the trails, knows if he walks ahead that he has to wait until he sees his father or I, and most importantly knows to listen and watch out for wildlife. It still makes me smile when I hear him yell out “banana slug!”.   

Last year we didn’t get outdoors much because of the stay-at-home orders in California. Now that restrictions have eased up, Mayu and I are headed on our first backpacking trip the week after Mother’s Day. Backpacking is a dream of mine and I wanted to introduce my son to a different outdoor activity. While we are avid car campers, backpacking will require us to be mindful of what we take with us and how we will affect the area that we visit. I look forward to teaching my son new skills like navigation, water treatment and how to read the weather.  

I look forward to many more outdoor family adventures and exploring California’s beautiful parks!