City, schools partner to get GR kids outdoors

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — City and school officials are working together to help students experience Grand Rapids’ outdoor activities.

On Wednesday, a group of eighth graders went canoeing along the Grand River at Riverside Park, though high river levels limited the paddle to a quick loop around the lagoon. They were among 1,100 students getting exposure to the great outdoors this week.

The kids learned about the river, water quality testing, hiking and cultural history.

The program to connect city kids with the outdoors is the result of a partnership between the city, the school district and other organizations.

“This is a great experience not only to get children on the water for a paddling experience, but it’s really an opportunity to also expose them to the entire park system in Grand Rapids,” said city Parks and Recreation Director David Marquardt, adding that some of them had never been to Riverside. “It’s a real learning opportunity in several ways.”

The nationwide Wilderness Inquiry organization brought its Canoemobile to Grand Rapids for Wednesday’s event.

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