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Ramp Up Your Family’s Adventures with Nature Ramp

Ramp Up Your Family’s Adventures with Nature Ramp

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It’s time to start planning your next family adventure, but where do you start?  Whether you’re stepping out for the first time or trying to find something fresh for the thousandth time, Nature Ramp has the resources to make your next family adventure memorable and unique. is your one-stop shop for children and youth outdoor experiences in Alabama! We are dedicated to getting more kids outside by providing you with the information of all the area’s outdoor attractions, programs, organizations, and events from first steps in nature to conservation leadership.

Ramp up your next family adventure!

  1. Plan Your Family Adventure
    Plan your next family adventure to a new place and with a new activity. If you’ve been hiking, try horseback riding. If you’ve been canoeing, try mountain biking. If you’ve been hands-on at a museum, then be hands-on at a farm. Variety leads to excitement! Nature Ramp has over 600 outdoor programs listed state-wide with over 100 in Northeast Alabama, and we are still counting. And the variety of activities is mind-boggling! Not to mention, the many, many events that are popping up all around.You may have your family adventure go-to destination like Monte Sano State Park (a beautiful area) or fall back activity like hiking or picnicking (both enjoyable activities), but if you’ve ever heard the phrase “not again” come out of your kids’ lips, chances are the trip won’t be as enjoyable as the last and the adventure may turn into a chore. If you haven’t heard those words quite yet, now is the time to be proactive and mix things up a bit.
  2. Learn Something New at the Same Time
    Sure, your child may think you know everything, but at some point, we have to say “I don’t know what the difference is between a turtle and a tortoise.” Or when your child points to this tree, then that tree, then that other tree, maybe we have to say, “I don’t know any tree names, except for that one. That’s an oak tree. I think.” 

    Start learning together as a family from experts who combine knowledge with fun. Northeast Alabama has state-of-the art museums and science centers, guided hikes and paddles, farm tours, live-animal educational programs, and many other opportunities. Then afterwards, you can confidently quiz your child about bird songs, tree leaves, and the mating rituals of the American Alligator, because you know they know, and they know you know since you learned it all together.

  3. Discover Your Kid’s Favorite Recreational Activity
    Trial and error may not sound enticing when talking about family adventure, but it can be when all the trials are fun and most of the errors are fun too. In reality, trial and error is a misnomer. What we want to encourage is a systematic approach to getting your kid excited about finding their favorite way to experience nature. We’ll use three fairly common examples in the Northeast Alabama area; hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. Take your family on consistent hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking trips, then sit down together and compare. Do you like hiking more than mountain biking? Do you like hiking more than kayaking? And so on until each family member knows what they like best. Then start adding in other activities like horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing, backpacking, spelunking, ziplining, and any of the plethora of activities that our area has to offer.

    Three girls canoe down an Alabama paddle trail.
    ©Nature Ramp Kayaking and canoeing are some of the recreational activities offered through Nature Ramp.
  4. Give Back to Nature Together
    We all love nature, but sometimes we hug nature a little too tight, and end up loving it to death. This means that the impact from our outdoor activities may do a little bit of damage to nature, and thousands of others are doing the same thing, so a little turns into a lot. The result is littered parks, poor trails, impacted wildlife habitats, and much more.The answer is to give back to nature as a family. For every handful of outings outside, make it a priority to do one constructive nature improvement adventure to give back, so that the very activities you love so much can keep going on forever.Find out how and where to improve local trails, grab some trash bags and grabbers to collect litter, partner with parks and preserves to improve wildlife habitats, and monitor water quality of your nearby stream.

    Perhaps you’ve involved your kid in family adventures for a while now, or perhaps your kid has the only nature-loving gene in your family and wants to drag you along. It’s time for a change in the leadership of the adventure.

  5. Let your youth lead the way!
    Putting your child in the front to guide the way may be a scary idea for you and for them, but what’s the worst that can happen? (Don’t answer that.) As with any area in your kid’s life, they need to be challenged. They are the next generation leaders, so when are they going to start to lead? How about during next Saturday’s hike? They get the skills it takes to set the pace, check for safety hazards, and do the occasional head count. This will in turn boost their confidence and excitement for the next adventure and as an added benefit, they are the ones taking all the spiderwebs to the face instead of you.

Nature Ramp Details

Nature Ramp is dedicated to getting children and youth more involved in the outdoors, from introductory experiences to conservation careers.

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Jared Carter is a North Alabama native and works as a project manager with AMRV RC&D to create awesome conservation programs for the Northeast Alabama area. He serves as the manager for Nature Ramp, teaches over a thousand kids each year about water quality and canoeing, and is working to build an Alabama long-distance trail with the Alabama Hiking Trail Society. Outside of work, you may find Jared as he tries to systematically hike every trail in the state (eventually).

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