.................. About Wilderness Way



Lee, Jean and Paul Berensmeier
Founders 1999

The Beginning
Wilderness Way was originally the Berensmeier families name for outdoor
family fun projects. In 1999, Paul and Jean Berensmeier, turned these
family projects into school projects. They voluntarily taught environmental
education to 185 students during 158 class meetings and field trips in the
1999-2000 school year in the Lagunitas School District. They worked with 9
teachers in the A&E, Public Montessori and Open Classroom programs. Their
informal program included environmental education activities and projects
taking children out doors and bringing the out doors in. They included a
Wilderness Way Physical Education program and Salmon Festival. The following
year Wilderness Way incorporated to give more attention to defining an
environmental education program that served both school children and

Wilderness Way is a nonprofit, environmental education organization founded
by the Berensmeier family. It serves the local schools and community.
Students participate in ecologically responsible projects in the San
Geronimo Valley watershed that emphasize conservation, restoration,
stewardship and respect for the environment. Classroom instruction,
projects and activities include hands-on experiences with salmon, steelhead
trout, native and non-native plants, wildlife, habitat restoration, and
Native American studies and values. These indoor and outdoor activities
provide interdisciplinary opportunities for teaching science, math, social
studies, art, drama, music and poetry. Through these experiences Wilderness
Way guides, develops and nurtures knowledgeable students who care for the
Valley and will steward it wisely.

A few specific examples: Students made Salmon and Trout Crossing signs at
school, in Woodacre, four bridges in Samuel P. Taylor State Park and six
bridges in Fairfax. They raised steelhead eggs in the classroom, did several
local restoration projects to benefit coho salmon and steelhead trout, built
a watershed model of the Valley, built a tule reed boat (and sailed it),
created a Creek Care Guide for every Valley resident and done numerous art
projects and environmental study field trips.

WW lost equipment, supplies, a library nd Native American artifact
collection in a devestating fire on campus. This required them to “start
over” in a small spce shared by other environmental groups.

Currently, WW is working with the school District and County of Marin to
transform an unused building to house the WW environmental education program and provide environmental services for local residents. This will provide WW with five times the space it currently has. There will be space for an extensive library, film studio, artifact display’s, posters, art work as well as equipment and supplies for its diverse program.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that
will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson

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