It has been a busy month for Tyler and I and our MERO students! We have been busy planning events, having events, and individually checking in with all of our students, so we have not been as good about updating our blog as usual. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for awesome throwback pictures and stories from the events of the past month!
This past weekend was our annual backpacking trip to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve! This event is always one of the highlights of the year and this year was no exception! Students carried everything that they needed to camp on their backs into our campsite. This experience showed students that they are stronger than they think and that they are capable of doing difficult things. When we started out hiking, most of the students expressed concern that they would not be able to make the 3.5 mile hike in with all of the weight on their back, but through a lot of encouragement from the group everyone made it!
Once we reached camp it was time for climbing trees, playing capture the flag, and individual reflections. This group was very introspective during the individual reflection time and community circle, and their willingness to share their thoughts and struggles and to support each other moved Tyler and I to tears. It is truly magical to see the power of nature and getting away from the stresses of daily life. The kids started out the trip clearly stressed out about various serious issues in their lives, but once they arrived at camp, unplugged from technology, and allowed themselves to experience the beauty and peace of the area we were in, they transformed into carefree kids having a blast camping. This is something that I have experienced myself many times, but getting to witness such clear changes in our kids over these two days was truly incredible. MERO students are kids that for numerous reasons have had to grow up way too quickly and never really got a childhood. This weekend was ground breaking in that many of them got to experience for the first time a carefree and peaceful day. Witnessing and sharing in this is something that Tyler and I will always be grateful for. After this weekend, Tyler and I have found ourselves contemplating how we can experience a bit of the magic that happened over the weekend on a daily basis. We came to the conclusion that getting outside a bit everyday is very important even if it is just sitting in our yard for a few minutes, or taking a walk around the neighborhood, or biking to work. We also concluded that taking time every week to fully unplug from technology is very important- turning our phones off for a few hours can allow us to be fully present with the sounds, smells, sights, and people that are around us. Thank you for reading all of my thoughts about the weekend and for your continued support of MERO!
Making S'mores after dinner!
After singing and playing Ukelele all together, Tony tries his hand at some of the chords to "Brown Eyed Girl"
Daniel and Gerardo pose with their backpacks.
Lusma, Hee Mi, and Nichole pose proudly by their tent after setting it up all by themselves!
Welcome to El Mero Mero, the official blog of Menlo-Atherton Ecology Research Outdoors (MERO). Founded in 2017, MERO is a free, after-school environmental education program for high school English Language Learners that gets students outside doing ecology. El Mero Mero is Spanish for "the best" or "legit", which is exactly the kind of science we do in the MERO program!