HumboldtKids.com launches to help home schoolers explore the California redwoods

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With more children home and Zoom schooling, many parents have expanded the classroom to include the great outdoors. In Humboldt County, a popular place for natural exploration and home to the world’s tallest trees of Redwood National Park, a team of parent educators is launching a website and sharing its homegrown lessons at https://HumboldtKids.com

Kids on an EdVenture Quest in Eureka's Sequoia Park.

Kids on an EdVenture Quest in Eureka's Sequoia Park.

"This is a great web resource for parents visiting the North Coast," said Marian Baker, a Humboldt homeschool parent and charter school teacher.

With more children home and Zoom schooling, many parents have expanded the classroom to include the great outdoors. In Humboldt County, a popular place for natural exploration with many parks, beaches and youth programs, a team of parent educators is sharing its homegrown lessons at https://HumboldtKids.com.

The North Coast region, home to the world’s tallest trees of Redwood National Park and the Avenue of the Giants, also boasts some of the state’s most pristine coastal ecosystems, easily accessible from the historic Eureka seaport.

"This site is a great web resource for parents visiting the North Coast," said Marian Baker, a Humboldt homeschool parent and charter school teacher.

While local homeschoolers take advantage of the many resources in Humboldt, which the USDA named America’s most scenic rural county, many are easily accessible to visiting parents and offer quality options for educational field trips and science studies.

HumboldtKids.com, created by a certified school teacher and adventure travel writer who are home school parents, launched this month to share these resources and more opportunities to learn in Covid-safe outdoor environments.

For example, the Humboldt Board of Education sponsors dozens of scavenger hunts. Known as EdVenture Quests and scattered throughout the county, they guide children with facts and clues as they search forests, comb beaches, explore an Indian village and identify plants and animals. Those who complete them earn cool free patches specific to each Quest.

Eureka, California’s largest coastal city north of San Francisco, offers four Quest options: Sequoia Park, a 70-acre community forest with old growth redwoods, zoo and playground; the Hikshari Elk River Trail, which looks out on Humboldt Bay; Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, where President Grant once served as a young Army officer; and the new Eureka Waterfront Trail, geared to explorers on bikes.

Other Quests lead children to a forest where Imperial stormtroopers chased Luke Skywalker, an ocean headland with a hidden lighthouse, a waterfall in Redwood National Park and a mountain lake near the home of a legendary Bigfoot.

For more field trips and classroom ideas, visit Eureka’s Sequoia Park Zoo, the oldest certified zoo in the state, home to river otters, red pandas, monkeys, primates, rare birds and, coming soon, a canopy walk in a redwood forest.

The fun-sized municipal menagerie has print-friendly virtual resources for homeschool parents, including a redwood forest curriculum, supported by the Save the Redwoods League; and a lesson on North Coast ecology. Stop by the zoo and request a copy of the comic book Super Salmon and the Watershed Heroes, loaded with puzzles and games.

Waves, Wetlands and Watersheds is a classroom and community activity guide for teachers that addresses issues such as endangered species, marine debris, coastal geology, water use, and much more. This curriculum, which can be repurposed for home school educators, is correlated to the California State Science Content Standards for grades 3 through 8.

No natural educational trip would be complete without park rangers. In Humboldt, homeschoolers can work with them and earn free ranger badges.

Before visiting Redwood National and State Parks, download and print a junior ranger booklet. Children complete the activities while exploring the parks, turn in completed booklets at any visitor center and get an official-looking ranger badge.

Want to join a ranger in real life with your small group? The Bureau of Land Management oversees a little known redwood park gem, the Headwaters Forest Reserve, which protects a fine stand of old growth giants and encompasses the Elk River watershed around an old ghost timber town.

For a walk that focuses on history or ecology, accessible from either Eureka or Fortuna, contact the headwaters ranger at the Bureau of Land Management office in Arcata.

ABOUT HUMBOLDTKIDS.COM

A project of the Eureka Lodging Alliance (ELA), Humboldt.Kids.com is coordinated by Eureka homeschooling parents and educators passionate about sharing the natural wonders of Eureka and Humboldt County with the world. More at https://HumboldtKids.com.

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Richard Stenger
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