Experiencing the Wonders of Winter for the First Time

Written by Angélica Sánchez
    Thursday, 22 February 2018
Experiencing the Wonders of Winter for the First Time

Winter: a simple word that has the ability to quickly put either a smile or a frown on your face. To many, winter is a much anticipated season with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Yet to others, winter can be a “yucky” time where you find yourself running from one building to the other trying to avoid the cold. For many of our students, winter can simply mean a time when you stay indoors.

It is precisely those students who I love spending time with during our school field trips, since I myself felt that way not too long ago.

I moved to Wisconsin when I was 12 and at that time, the thought of spending time outside in the cold was never a pleasant one. Just like many of our students, I did not have access to the right gear, nor did I know someone who enjoyed spending time outside during the winter. For me, it took a pair of boots and a couple of hikes through snowy mountains with a nature-enthusiast to get me on board.

This is where the UEC comes in. Not only are we are able to provide the right gear and equipment for our students, we can also give them a positive winter experience. I particularly remember taking a class of fifth graders out for a hike after a fresh coat of snow had just covered the trails in the park. Initially, even getting them to wear snow boots and mittens was a bit of a struggle as they did not see the need for them. After getting our gear on and testing it on the slippery paths, we headed along the Menomonee River. By this point, you could already see how they were enjoying having winter boots and mittens.

winter neep

During our hike, we spotted some rabbit and mouse tracks, but what really stood out to them were the various burrows and holes we found in the woods. Seeing their expressions as they all tried guessing what animals they belonged to was priceless. I saw myself reflected in them as I remembered the first time I saw clear squirrel tracks and how excited I was to have been able to identify them on my own.

Winter is the time when our educators really get the chance to shine, because we get to introduce kids to the wonders of winter and help them realize that there are plenty of fun activities to partake in, even in the cold. It’s moments like this one with the fifth graders, when they forget the cold and just get intrigued by the world around them, that remind me just how important a great winter day experience can be.

Angélica Sánchez

Angélica Sánchez

Angélica grew up in the Guadalajara, Mexico where she got to experience the fast rhythm of the exciting city and enjoy the endless outdoor adventures nearby with her siblings. After moving to Wisconsin with her family and having the opportunity to travel around the globe, she found her passion for environmental conservation and sustainable development. As the Menomonee Valley Branch Manager, not only does she get to share her love for nature with others but she also gets to do it in a community that she feels very connected to. Her favorite things include traveling, exploring, dancing, and learning about others.

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