PO Box 146, Brevard, NC 28712

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Organizations Filed Purposes: To awaken in children a deeply felt connection with the natural world - one that inspires curiosity, stimulates learning, and brings new life to classroom performance.

Muddy Sneakers is a 'pathway' program that seeks to introduce the concept of environmental literacy into the public schools at a critical developmental stage. Beyond enhanced scholastic achievement, the aim of Muddy Sneakers is to build life-long bonds between the students we work with and the natural world. . Muddy Sneakers specifically serves 5th-grade students by utilizing nearby publicly and privately protected lands, with the goal of introducing them to the wonders of the natural world through teaching the science curriculum using experiential methods. Merging the energy of young students with the energy of these outdoor places sets the stage for deeply felt experiences that instill a "backyard" awareness to the Standard Course of Study. Muddy Sneakers strives to create in children a life-long

love of nature and to do this in a way that enhances academic achievement, inspires the joy of living, and plants an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. . The 2019-20 season marks Muddy Sneakers' twelfth year of bringing an experiential format to teaching 5th-grade science curriculum at participating public schools across the Western and Piedmont regions of North Carolina. Muddy Sneakers began as a pilot program in the spring of 2007 with Brevard and Pisgah Forest Elementary Schools in Transylvania County and has grown each year. Our program evaluation shows that, together, we are bringing Muddy Sneakers' mission to life, and particularly for girls and students with learning differences, these experiences are transformative. Although our school year programming was cut short due to

COVID-19, our team seamlessly pivoted to support educators through the end of the year, while also bringing resources to families sheltering at home. . This year, in the Western Region we served every elementary school in Polk County, only the third district in our history to commit to 100% enrollment! Additionally, we saw record participation in Henderson County, where we partnered with half of their schools. In total, WNC served 30 schools and 2,098 students across 11 counties and 12 school districts. New programming sites included our first-ever use of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, specifically Purchase Knob. . The Piedmont region grew again to serve a record 1,514 students from 18 schools, representing 7 counties. New districts included Cabarrus and Iredell. Subsequently, our PNC instructors grew and diversified as we aim to represent the communities we serve more fully. We were thrilled to also launch the first Piedmont Advisory Council with representation from five counties and a diverse group of committed community members looking to advance the organization's operations in our region. Finally, we were excited to program for the first time at Lake Norman and Stone Mountain State Parks. . In response to COVID-19 and the cancellation of 49 expeditions in the Piedmont and 72 in the Western region, Muddy Sneakers began to develop resources for students and families to use at home. Backyard scavenger hunts, video, and at home experiments were posted on our website and social media pages for all to use for free. We also were able to support teachers during the spring when schools moved from in person instruction to remote/virtual by providing some remote science curriculum content. . Muddy Sneakers has developed an extraordinarily cost-effective, results-driven model for learning by engaging children through the natural world. Here are just a few reasons why we are unique: -Continuous exposure to the outdoor classroom (6-10 days over the course of the academic year) through utilizing a diverse portfolio of natural areas in close proximity to the school -Strong commitment to partnering with teachers and administrators through offering opportunities to collaboration and additional partnerships with the school -Small group focus (maximum of 12 students per instructor) -Emphasis on establishing and refining a model of excellence that produces measurable results -Use of underutilized, protected, natural areas within 30 min of each school as outdoor classroom spaces. . Unique to the Western North Carolina region, Muddy Sneakers also offers a summer day-camp to complement its school year programs. Camp Muddy Sneakers fills a unique niche in the region's day-camp market with a goal of encouraging children to follow their imagination and curiosity as they actively engage with the natural world. Campers, ages 4-14, learn about various ecosystems through age appropriate experiential activities while exploring a multitude of sites in the region. All the sessions are led by highly qualified Muddy Sneakers naturalists with a continued commitment to small group instruction. In spite of Covid-19, Camp Muddy Sneakers was thrilled to program in the summer of 2020. This year marked our second year programming at the REEB Ranch located just outside Dupont State Recreational Forest. This site provided a great amount of space for campers to safely spread out, explore creeks, hike trails, and connect to the natural world. Camp Muddy Sneakers reduced the number of sessions held in order to stay compliant with the NC DHHS guidelines of running day camps during Covid-19. Camp Muddy Sneakers brought the magic of immersing children in nature to more than 220 campers across four different age groups - a record number served! In the Piedmont, summer programming activities included contracting with Salisbury Academy to bring the Muddy Sneakers experience to their summer camp.

Executives Listed on Filing

Total Salary includes financial earnings, benefits, and all related organization earnings listed on tax filing

NameTitleHours Per WeekTotal Salary
Ryan OlsonExecutive Director50$88,160
David WatkinsDirector1$0
Joanne BartschDirector2$0
Betsy JordanDirector2$0
Jordan RobbinsDirector2$0
Mary NicholsDirector2$0
Gene BellDirector2$0
Townsend Williams BirdsongDirector2$0
Anne BullardSecretary2$0
Peter JohnsonTreasurer5$0
Cliff DodsonCo-Chair2$0
Chase PickeringChair3$0

Data for this page was sourced from XML published by IRS (public 990 form dataset) from: