Equitable Access to Environmental Education
The Gateway to the Great Outdoors (GGO) program was developed to allow underserved students across the US equitable access to a comprehensive environmental education. By improving access to STEM instruction combined with outdoor learning, GGO enhances scientific literacy and environmental stewardship for students who would otherwise be excluded from this transformative experience.
The mission of GGO is to empower underserved youth to access the natural environment through classroom and field-based environmental education and leadership development. This program allows students to experience the natural wonders of the outdoors while also providing them with mentorship and academic support.
GGO is unique in that it integrates the strength of weekly, STEM-based classroom enrichment, monthly, outdoor activities, and year-round mentoring by local university students and community members.
To ensure continuity, depth of knowledge and greater understanding of EE, the GGO program runs continuously throughout the school year. Each week, mentors come into the science classroom and teach a hands-on lesson developed to match the students’ classroom STEM curricula. GGO offers topics ranging from ecosystems & geology to agriculture & gardening to sustainability & global warming. Monthly outings are created to augment the weekly programming. These journeys include trips to local farms, hiking in state parks, canoe trips down the Mississippi River, and rock climbing. These outdoor adventures not only solidify the in-classroom component, but enable the students to learn outdoor skills, developing relationships with fellow classmates and their college student mentors, develop leadership skills and ultimately, change their perception of science and the world around them.
GGO gives underserved students the opportunity to grow and learn in new capacities by connecting classroom science to local and accessible outdoor opportunities. GGO trips and classes enhance student interest and knowledge in the environment, provide a broader awareness of environmental injustice and offer a solid and rigorous scientific foundation in which to make decisions about climate change in an ever-changing world
Founding CEO & President