Gateway to the Great Outdoors Presents Brain Teaser Bash in Tower Grove Park A Puzzle Hunt Through The Park August 7

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Gateway to the Great Outdoors (GGO) introduces the first ever “Brain Teaser Bash”! Solve mind-challenging, brain-teasing puzzles as you race through Tower Grove Park! All funds raised will be used for GGO programming and will directly benefit St. Louis Public School (SLPS) students in grades 4-8 throughout the 2021-22 school year.

When: Saturday, August 7th at 2:00pm
Where: Tower Grove Park — Meet at the Stone Shelter (Park address: 4490 Northwest Dr. 63110 )

The “Brain Teaser Bash” includes teams of up to four participants who will race through Tower Grove Park, solving STEAM-based brain teasers along the way. Showoff your super sleuth and code cracking skills while enjoying the great outdoors right here in St. Louis! Prizes will be awarded to the first three teams who finish the race and there will be a raffle with amazing items up for grabs. Festivities to be held before and after the race will include music, food, science experiment demonstrations, tie-dye, and more.

To register please visit:https://gatewayoutdoors.charityproud.org/EventRegistration/Index/6244 Participation fees: $20 per person or $75 for a team of four.

Puzzles are best suited for ages 16 and up, however, there will be entertainment for all ages. There are also various sponsorship opportunities available for you or your business. Please contact Daryl Huitt at 314-313-8182 for additional information. The funds raised from this event will help ensure that GGO can continue to provide STEAM and environmental education opportunities to students in St. Louis.

GGO works to ensure equitable access to nature, STEAM learning, and mentorship to schools in St. Louis and Chicago where at least 95% of students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Students learn concepts like animal adaptations, invasive species, and the scientific method through interactive lessons with university student mentors and outdoor adventure trips. GGO provides children a comprehensive understanding of the environment and the communities they live in, while inspiring them to be tomorrow’s sustainability leaders. GGO is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-income children access to environmental education and nature-based outdoor experiences. For more information on this event, visit Gateway to the Great Outdoors on Facebook https://fb.me/e/1AxFephtnor contact Daryl Huitt at314-313-8182 ordaryl@gatewayoutdoors.org

Gateway to the Great Outdoors shares life-changing joy of nature with children, even through the COVID-19 pandemic 

Gateway to the Great Outdoors (GGO) is a nonprofit currently active in St. Louis and Chicago that empowers low-income students by igniting curiosity through outdoor experiences, building environmental science literacy, and promoting healthy lifestyles. GGO has grown at a steady and impressive pace since its founding in 2015, already being recognized with multiple awards and accolades on an annual basis. The year of the pandemic was no different, while many nonprofit organizations struggled to continue their work in the face of COVID-19, GGO was quick to adapt and discover new ways to continue their mission.   

Founding CEO and President Nadav Sprague’s lifelong passion for environmental education inspired him to create GGO while he was an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. What began as a student club grew into a decorated nonprofit as Sprague realized the difference GGO was making in students’ lives. “It seemed like the right move to turn this student-run organization into a nonprofit so we could make a bigger impact,” says Sprague.   

Today GGO is primarily staffed by Americorps VISTAs who fulfill a wide variety of roles as a part of their year of service. Each of the VIST As are inspired by GGO’s partner communities and are invested in their wellbeing and future. GGO is further supported by university student volunteers across St. Louis and Chicago, all who donate their time to work directly with the children and act as mentors. The GGO team continues to grow and evolve, but their drive and dedication to students remains absolute.   

The heart of GGO, though, is the children. Students who participate in the GGO program show immense strides in improving their physical, mental, and emotional health as they develop environmental literacy and practice the principles of stewardship. Every member of the GGO team is continually amazed by the leaps these children make in their personal and academic growth throughout the program. The majority of GGO students come from low-income backgrounds and have limited opportunities to experience nature or travel outside of their immediate environment.   

During a trip to Braeutigam Orchard in Belleville, IL, students from Kairos Academies in St. Louis were able to play with and help care for chickens, cows, and bunnies as they learned about sustainable farming practices. For many students, it was their first time in a farm setting. GGO VISTA Lexi Jackson describes her experience, “All of the timid looks towards the animals quickly turned to faces beaming with joy as the students stepped out of their comfort zone and interacted with the animals. It was incredible!” GGO also helps students identify the wonders of nature that they can find closer to home. Another regular GGO field trip brings students to Forest Park in St. Louis where volunteers from Saint Louis University help students use ecological tracking technology to find box turtles and monitor their growth.   

When regular programming became unfeasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GGO quickly identified new methods of delivering environmental and STEAM education to its students. Their Go & Grow initiative provides children with interactive science kits, filled with hands-on activities, crafts, and experiments that they can enjoy safely from home. GGO additionally provides educational, interactive live stream events such as a virtual version of their turtle tracking field trip and their “Cabin Fever: The Great GGO Camp-In” event which earned GGO the 2021 Terrain Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Virtual Event. The threat of COVID-19 lingers and stands to further exacerbate educational inequity. This modified curriculum is designed to ensure that no GGO student goes without quality STEAM education.

GGO has recently been recognized with a SHIFT Award for Research for their work and contributions to research at the Brown School at Washington University. This nonprofit was able to accomplish so much in 2020, but will need support in order to continue this work and grow. GGO needs funding for programming, office space, and other resources in order to increase their reach and impact. Gateway to the Great Outdoors helps children unlock their full potential through nature experiences and quality STEAM education, and your support will continue to make this possible!

For more information contact: Daryl Huitt — 314-313-8182,  daryl@gatewayoutdoors.org