As a retired school teacher and outdoor educator, grandmother Cindy Reinitz knows the importance of getting kids outside, especially in the winter.
“I just think children miss, especially in winter, they miss so much outdoor time because they don’t realize how much they can do,” she said.
As her grandkids took the lead on climbing up snowy hills, exploring trails and the creek and making bird feeders, she added it’s important to let the kids explore as much as they can.
“The thing I say is: Don’t let adult concerns hold them back,” she said. “Of course we have to keep them safe too and take reasonable risks, but they can do so much more than we think they can if we just give them the freedom to play and create.”
Reinitz and her family were among those who joined St. Peter nonprofit Grass and Roots Outdoors for their new program aiming to get kids, families and other participants outdoors at Seven Mile Creek County Park.
The Friends and Family Nature Club kicked off the walks, which happen on the third Saturday of the month at 10 a.m., last September.
The get-together also includes hands-on nature activities for all ages.
Trish Hiscock-Austin, grass and roots program director and lead outdoor educator, said the program started as a way to keep kids healthy and active. She said the trails at the park are great for all ability levels.
“We find that kids are spending less and less time outdoors, especially kind of having free, unstructured playtime. Kids and families are very busy nowadays, and so it’s a time and a place to gather people, to slow down a little bit, take a little time together in the woods, in the park, and that outdoor time together is something that is really good for kids,” she said.
The nature club is free and offers transportation to those who need it.
Their next meeting date is Feb. 18.