Programs for children in Nevada City to merge
4 Elements Earth Education, a Nevada City provider of Earth skills programs for children (i.e., Fox Walkers), teens and adults, has announced it will merge with the Children of the Earth Foundation, according to a release.
4 Elements Executive Director Rick Berry will now serve as executive director for both organizations at the request of Tom Brown, Jr., founder of Children of the Earth Foundation.
Children of the Earth Foundation, which is located in New Jersey and formed in 1999, provides programs for children and families with the same goals as 4 Elements: to create a profound respect for the Earth and all of its inhabitants as well as support and nurture the personal growth and self-esteem of participants through survival skills, animal tracking, nature awareness, storytelling and performance.
Brown, a tracker and wilderness survival expert, said he began to learn his skills from “Grandfather” Stalking Wolf when he was just seven years old. According to Brown, Stalking Wolf was raised free of the reservations in the mountains of northern Mexico.
Born in the 1870s during a time of great warfare and violence, he was a part of a band of Lipan Apache that never surrendered. He was taught the traditional ways of his people and became a shaman and a scout.
When he was 20, a vision sent him away from his people, and for the next 63 years, he wandered, seeking teachers and learning the old ways of many native peoples and others who lived close to the Earth.
Rick Berry was mentored by Brown and then taught with Brown during the early “Coyote Tracks” programs. Berry went on to serve as the Director of Children of the Earth Foundation for seven years.
Berry then founded 4 Elements in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where he shares Stalking Wolf’s vision with thousands of children throughout the West Coast.
Brown said, “Having Rick take on COTEF as executive director and merging these programs into one organization makes perfect sense. Rick has been an integral part of our history and we share a common vision of passing on Grandfather Stalking Wolf’s vision to future generations.”
Berry said, “This opportunity to blend together both of these far-sighted programs has long been a dream of mine. I am honored to continue keeping these critical earth skills, native traditions and values vitally alive on both sides of the country.”
Nevada City Vice Mayor Reinette Senum, who serves on 4 Elements’ board of director’s, said: “What Berry has created here in Nevada County is amazing. To see our children immersed in the outdoors, learning almost-lost skills, challenging themselves and finding the answers to our everyday concerns in nature, is wondrous to watch. This merger with COTEF speaks highly to Berry’s vision and program development right here in our backyard. If only we all lived our lives as such stewards of the earth.”
4 Elements is currently registering children for spring, spring break and summer programs at The Burton Educational Preserve on Lake Vera Purdon in Nevada City, Placerville, Sacramento and Truckee. To register, go to http://www.4eee.org.
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