“In the eyes of an eagle or a mosquito we all look the same. The outdoors bridges the gaps that often divide us, providing a perfect setting for people to discover their common humanity and become empowered in all areas of their lives.” – Wilderness Inquiry.  

This November, and much of this year, we’ve been turning to the outdoors as a place of refuge and restoration. Creating access to the outdoors is a key impact area that Minnesota Environmental Fund members excel at. Our featured member organization in this issue is Wilderness Inquiry. Wilderness Inquiry goes above and beyond to make the wilderness more accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.  

Mission – Getting you outside:  Wilderness Inquiry’s mission is to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world through shared outdoor adventures. Through the medium of outdoor adventure travel, they inspire personal growth, enhanced awareness of the environment and community integration. 

Outdoor education during the Covid-19 pandemic: Students from many schools in Minnesota and beyond typically have the opportunity to learn about the rivers that run through our land with the Wilderness Inquiry program, CanoemobileCanoemobile takes students out on local waterways in a 24-foot Voyageur canoe to learn about science, history, geography, and culture. This year, school and all other facets of our lives have looked a little different. That didn’t stop Wilderness Inquiry from getting creative with their river education geared towards 5-8th graders!  

The Mississippi River Youth Explorers is a virtual learning experience that has been a huge success. The program has already served 1,050 youth from 24 different communities. “As we move forward and eventually get back to in-person Canoemobile programming (hopefully next year), we will be augmenting our in-person experiences with this online programming in order to continue the experience and expand the in-classroom engagement in the outdoors.” -Colleen McCuskey (WI) 

Opportunities to engage: 

  • YOUTH: November slots for the Mississippi River Youth Explorers are currently filled but you can request to be put on a wait list for this popular program 
  • ADULTS: There’s also a Mississippi River Virtual Adventure geared towards an adult audience! If you are interested please request a “trip” on this page.  

To learn more about how MEF members are working together to ensure equitable access to the outdoors across Minnesota, visit the Impact page of our website.