Even under “normal” circumstances, homeschooling can be stressful, and these days, it can feel downright overwhelming. If you find you need a change of scenery—and a literal breath of fresh air—while still teaching your children, the EYE on Nature Youth Explorers Club Kid Pak may be just the thing for you!

Developed by the Englewood Florida Chamber Tourism Assembly and Englewood Community Services Inc. with support from the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) and Visit Sarasota County, EYE on Nature is an educational program designed to help families discover and appreciate natural attractions in the Englewood area.

Don’t let the term “educational” fool you: this is a FUN program!

Each Kid Pak includes:

  • Heavy cotton backpack with EYE on Nature full color logo
  • Book 1: The Adventures of Scout: Turtle Tales (16 pages/color)
  • 2 laminated Question and Answer Activity Parent Guide sheets (one is the answer key)
  • Field note journal with pen
  • Metal EYE on Nature medallion
  • Pewter sea turtle pin
  • Clear paintable plastic hanging turtle ornament

Children will be engaged by the book, The Adventures of Scout: Turtle Tales, starring the namesake magic turtle guide, and excited to experience a series of rewarding outdoor adventures focused on the 4th grade age group (but of interest to all ages).

The book was written by Lucy Beebe Tobias, freelance photojournalist and illustrator, and author/photographer of the best best-selling book 50 Great Walks in Florida. Her other books include Florida Gardens Gone Wild10 Florida Great Walks Around Gainesville and Ocala (e-book), and her wildly popular children’s book, Mary Margaret Manatee, which is now available in Spanish. Ms. Tobias focuses on “Undiscovered Florida,” and her blog, Saturday Morning Magazine, reaches a wide audience. Discover more about her at lucytobias.com.

The book was beautifully illustrated by local Englewood writer and illustrator Becky Barbier.

The outdoor adventures are outlined in the accompanying Parent’s Guide and are designed to help inspire stewardship and to support positive social skills through learning about the relationships between people, animals, and the environment. Each adventure takes your child to different outdoor attraction where they can further explore the exciting habits of birds, marine mammals, turtles, and more. (Please note: some local nature attractions may be closed or have limited hours and access; please always check before you go.)

Sea turtle nesting season began May 1, so now is the perfect time to begin!

In a cooperative effort, the EYE on Nature Youth Explorers Club Kid Pak is available for purchase at bestsideyourside.com for $25, with $5 donated to Community Organizations Active in a Disaster (COAD).

BestSideYourSide.com was created to promote local businesses and bring the community together. They also offer a cool retro-style limited-edition t-shirt for sale (all profits from shirt sales go directly to the COAD fund).

Everything is pretty challenging right now, but getting out to experience and appreciate the abundant natural beauty of our area can be a refreshing experience that can inspire us all, moving forward.

Stay safe, everyone!