Neighbor Regina recently enrolled her kid in Wonderbugs, and she now thinks it may be the the coolest outdoor education adventure camp for toddlers and preschoolers in the universe.
The program was created by Hilary Blum, another Bernal neighbor, so Regina wrote Bernalwood to gush about it:
Neighbor Hillary has a seriously glamorous job.
She runs a nature program called Wonderbugs that helps kids, preschoolers and toddlers explore the wonders of San Francisco city parks. The group gathers in various parks, depending on the nature theme of the day, to do a nature hunt, art project, story time and song. Special guests include wild Blue Herons and Banana Slugs that just happen to show up when Hillary references them.
The educational/ scientific content is outstanding. I’ve even seen parents’ minds blown over some of her nature facts (Fact: Did you know the little red spot on seagulls’ beaks is the spot chicks peck to get the parent to regurgitate their food?!). Then, when you think Hillary can’t get any cooler with her scientific teaching, she whips out a ukulele and plays an original song about ducks.
One day I ran into her on Cortland and, after getting over being star-struck, I finally got the nerve to ask her about her background and how she came to create Wonderbugs. Turns out, it started on Bernal Hill.
Before moving to Bernal, Hillary studied education and anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, spending a year in the Middle East “on a dig” and teaching at an outdoor school in northern Israel. She was hooked on outdoor education and returned to work at an environmental education nonprofit in Palo Alto for almost seven years.
Hillary moved to Bernal to start her family and, after having her first daughter, she started a mini Bernal nature club with hikes on the hill. Wonderbugs was launched in 2008.
Today Wonderbugs offers Summer classes (starting in May!) and a School Science Adventures program that brings hands-on ecology and science programs to preschool and kindergarten classrooms. They also offer nature discovery field trips to school groups.
At the end of every program, the kids gather in a circle and put their hands in the middle. What follows is the official Wonderbugs nature pledge. Repeat it after me, Bernalwood:
I promise (your turn)
To learn from (say it!)
And to take care of (that’s right)
(really loud) Nature!
PHOTO: via Wonderbugs