- Overnight CampSANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
- Overnight CampHUNTINGTON LAKE
- Day CampSANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
- Family CampSANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
For all of its beauty and its life, the Bay Area has some of the worst air quality in the nation, affected by everything from vehicle emissions to drought. But it’s hard to believe conditions are really this bad as I stand on Kennolyn’s 300 acres of largely undeveloped land in the Santa Cruz Mountains. When I breathe deeply, I’m reminded that I’m surrounded by giant trees, “effective air filters by design, filtering out not only gasses that are harmful to humans, but also harmful to earth’s ecosystems as a whole.”
In fact, in one year, US forests are capable of filtering out 17.4 million tons of air pollution. Exposure to a richer, greener environment is good for our lungs, hearts, and even our minds, but the benefits may be especially pronounced for kids, whose lungs and immune systems are still developing.
The good news is that, despite our unfortunate air quality, the Bay Area does provide some of the nation’s most beautiful forests. Our kids get to spend a week or two completely immersed in tree-filtered air during summer camp, but what about the rest of the year? Do you have places you go to take advantage of the fresh air? Here are some destinations and activities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that are worth adding to your fresh air list:
Outdoor Activities in the East Bay
Outdoor Activities in the North Bay
Outdoor Activities in the South Bay
Outdoor Activities in San Francisco
Your family’s renewed connection to the green spaces around you is also a great way to start a conversation with your kids about how important it is to protect and expand our forests. They’ll already be familiar with this endeavor from our conversations at camp under the towering redwoods, but they can still get involved at home. One way is through Friends of the Urban Forest, but you can also commit to planting and caring for trees right around your home and get your kids excited about it, too. You can even get your kids involved in caring for indoor plants that help to green and purify your home environment. Take advantage of the local parks near you, and encourage your kids to run around, climb the trees, and breathe deeply. Our kids will be the future protectors of the Bay Area’s green spaces, so let’s help them understand how important the trees are for our health and happiness—and that of future generations.
At Kennolyn, kids learn about the redwood trees and all of their miracles. They learn about our interdependent relationships with the ecosystems around us, and they enjoy the fresh mountain air. Get in touch to learn more about our programs and our special location.
Lead Image Source: Flickr user George West