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*New research shows that a 55 minute walk in the park sharpens cognitive function-especially attention. It's not just the exercise (a city walk had a much smaller effect). Even looking at pictures of nature for ten minutes gives the brain a boost. Source: Psychological Science, December 2008.
Urban Kid Adventurers (UKA) is an AWARENESS SCHOOL. We teach wilderness "primitive" skills. Our afterschool programs are child based educational programs that take place in the great outdoors! UKA was created to get the kids out of the apt/house/school, and into the park. Our main goal is to provide a fun, safe, environment where the children can discover first hand how awesome nature is. The most amazing part of taking children into nature and seeing something for the first time is the expression of joy on their faces!
UKA was created by Thom Schuchaskie. Thom has been studying with Tom Brown Jr. Tracker school for the last 3 years and has taken classes thru the Scout level. He is also a former wilderness instructor for NYC Outward Bound Center and Education Through Adventure (ETA), a graduate of National Outdoor Leadership School Educators 30 day program, student of martial arts for 18 years, avid outdoorsman, and stay-at-home dad. All rolled into one! Thom was a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) for 7 years, and assisted teaching CPR and Wilderness First Aid with ETA. Thom has a BA from Michigan State University in French and Italian.
UKA was born out of taking my daughter and her friends on playdates into the parks fishing, rolling over rocks looking for bugs, or just rolling around in the grass and observing all of the "wild" things the park had to offer. The playdates turned into outings for her preschool, which soon turned into a small after school program on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Thom and Chica in the Catskills mountains. Juan Benitez, Director of
School Services, is a former school based instructor for the New York
City Outward Bound Center, and has worked in partnership with various
licensed department of education classroom teachers and administrators.
Juan worked alongside teachers to create and design interdisciplinary
curriculum as well as classroom activities around academic subjects such
as History, English, and Art. Juan has a BA in Art Education and is a
Anna comes to us from Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center, where she worked as a Naturalist . She taught and designed natural history based curriculum for elementary and middle school students, and facilitated experiential, science-based lessons during week-long residential program. She also participated in weekly seminars focusing on natural history, outdoor teaching, and sustainability and the coolest thing of all, she handled, cared for and taught with reptiles and birds of prey!
She also spent time with the Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, NY as a
Head Teacher where she developed creative educational lesson plans related to environmental education.
We are happy to have Anna aboard!!
Assistant Instructor, En-Lin (Annie) Huang, has a BS in Physical Education, teaching experience as a private tutor, violin teacher, handball coach and soccer coach. She played varsity volleyball, basketball and handball, and is currently the goalkeeper in the Chelsea Piers women's soccer league. Annie is certified in CPR and First Aid.
Victor Shelden, Primitive Pursuits, Ithaca, NY, Summer 2010-Fall 2012 is our newest instructor. He mentored and taught groups of children between the ages of 5 and 13 wilderness survival skills, primitive living, connection with the earth and nature, and how to establish a tight-knit community feel. Inspired children to be curious about the natural world and aware of their relationship with the environment.
⋅ Gained CPR, AED, and Response to Emergency First Aid certifications.
He was also an Earth Arts Instructor, Earth Arts, Ithaca, NY, September 2011-December 2011, where he ran nature based mentoring programs connecting participants to a deeper sense of self and the natural world, taught wilderness awareness and naturalist skills and instructed workshops in which participants harvest materials to create natural art, crafts, tools, food, and shelter.
We are very happy to have Victor as part of the UKA family!