Hi, my name is Kess Ebbs and I am the owner of Growing Futures LLC. Though my companies primary focus is forest managment, we are excitingly annoucing that Feb 17-20th we will be hosting our first official Intro to Wilderness, and Leave No Trace class!
The mission of the Intro to the Wilderness program is to bring 15-20 BIPOC participants to Ely to experience the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to see how different organizations (nonprofit organizations, governmental, for profit businesses) interact with the Wilderness. Another objective is to provide participants with exposure to Ely so they might return, whether as tourists or residents. Our dream is that this could be a recurring program that takes place multiple times a year, exposing BIPOC youth to Ely and the Wilderness in all seasons.
The itinerary for this pilot program includes hiking around Trezona trail, an ice fishing expedition, and dog sledding with Wintergreen. Additionally, participants will take a leave-no-trace course, and engage in Wilderness career exploration.
This program is being coordinated by Growing Futures LLC, collaboration the United States Forest Service, Outdoor Afro, Wintergreen DogSled Lodge, Arrowhead Outdoors, and the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS). The USFS is donating lodging for program participants via comped bunkhouses; Outdoor Afro is contributing by marketing the program and being integral in identifying and securing participants; Wintergreen DogSled Lodge is donating a day trip, Arrowhead
Outdoors is donating their guide services for the ice fishing excursion; and the IRPS has donated the funds to cover the cost of food.
The remaining uncovered expense is that of transportation. A transportation service called B.O.A.T (Bus for Outdoor Access & Teaching) has quoted $2700 for round trip transport from the Twin Cities to Ely as well as providing cold weather gear to our participants.
Helping cover costs of these expenses will bring Growing Futures one step closer to its goal of bringing Northern Minnesotas beauty to people of all walks of life, and providing the foundations of the growth that comes with educating, and participiting in everything that the Ely area has to offer. On behalf of ourselves and our participants, thank you so much for your support!
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.” – Henry David Thoreau