Opportunities for new partnerships can spring up in surprising places. Conservation Outreach Coordinator Kirby Walke was working at RunAbout Sports when Tina Cannon came by to thank RunAbout for allowing her organization to volunteer for an aid station at the Hokie Half Marathon. As the conversation progressed, Tina shared about her work as director of a new Big Brothers Big Sisters program at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC), a mentoring program which pairs local youth (“Littles”) with professionals from the VTCRC and surrounding community (“Bigs”). Kirby wondered if the New River Land Trust could provide some outdoor field experiences for Tina’s group through our Youth Outreach Program. The result has been an exciting new partnership between the NRLT and Big Brothers Big Sisters VTCRC.
The partnership with the NRLT has helped meet the need to develop an organized program for outdoor experiences. So far, the NRLT has arranged three field experiences for Bigs and Littles: the first involved learning mapping skills and completing a mapping scavenger hunt and hike on the VTCRC trails. The second was a Master Naturalist-led hike and quest for “special things” in nature at Heritage Park. The third was a trip to Glade Road Growing in Blacksburg to learn how to make tortillas by hand, go on a detailed tour of the farm, and enjoy a locally-sourced lunch that included their handmade tortillas. In the fall, the group will hike Mill Creek Park in Narrows. We look forward to partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters again next year.