New Roots is a unique summer camp program that connects refugee kids with conservation education in Boise, Idaho. Project co-founder Liz Urban explains what inspired her to initiate this unique program and we see first hand the benefits that these kids got out of the summer camp. We also hear about plans to expand the program moving forward to include an internship program that would provide refugee kids with real world job experiences in conservation.

Through the course of the five day program the students visited Bogus Basin, the Foothills Learning Center, Hulls Gulch, Hyatt Hidden Wetlands Reserve, Discovery Park, Lucky Peak Reservoir, Blacks Creek Bird Reserve, the World Center for Birds of Prey, Intermountain Bird Observatory’s Boise River Site, Municipal Park, and Zoo Boise.  They picked up garbage, helped maintain trails, and even planted sagebrush at Blacks Creek. They learned about many bird species and were able to participate in banding American Kestrels at Lucky Peak Reservoir and several more songbird species at IBO’s Boise River Site.

In addition to the experience-based component of the project, students wrote in journals, created a ‘new species’, participated in folding Passenger Pigeon origami and more. One piece of the program that was a great success involved giving each child a digital camera to ‘photo journal’ their experience – watch the video to see examples of some of the amazing photos that students took during the camp!

After an action-packed week the group joined the festivities at World Refugee Day in downtown Boise. The New Roots kids attended the event and were able to share their experiences and recommend places refugee families could enjoy close to home and free of charge.


Podcast episode featuring an interview with New Roots program co-founders Liz Urban and Megan Jones: