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Emily Krall to launch environmental literacy program in Steamboat

Emily Krall has organized a day camp called Reading on Ranches

Call for artists

BookTrails is looking for local artists to get involved with its first fundraiser, which will be an auction of local art creations based on fictional environmental superheroes. Email

— Growing up, Emily Krall was outside every day.

And the influence of all the summer camps and the outdoor trips she took with her parents has stayed with her into adulthood.

"It's an amazing aspect of my life to have that connection with nature," she said. "It can be an outlet for a lot of kids — the ability to be alone in the woods or with friends."

Krall, daughter of Ron and Sue Krall, who own Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, recently moved back to Steamboat to launch an environmental education program. Called BookTrails, the organization aims to foster a love of reading, as well as outdoor recreation and stewardship.

"I think that a lot of kids these days are inside too much," she said. "Their connection with the environment isn't nurtured like it was when I was a kid. It's important for Steamboat to foster that in their kids: the importance of place and knowing your local environment."

BookTrails is the umbrella organization that Krall plans to extend into several programs. But to start, she has organized a summer camp in partnership with the bookstore called Reading on Ranches, a day camp for elementary and middle school students that will combine literary and environmental education.

Each week will focus on an environmentally themed book, such as "The Hatchet" and "The Good Dog."

Each book is geared toward a different age group, and each session takes place on a Routt County ranch.

Through a partnership with the Community Agriculture Alliance, Krall said, she wanted to help expose students to the Yampa Valley's ranching heritage.

Registration for the camp opens today at http://www.steamboatbooktrails.org.

Bookstore owner Ron Krall said he was thrilled to have his daughter back and is excited about her new project.

"The reason I like it is it's a way to bring the books to life and to see the environment and the outdoor world through the lens of the book," Ron Krall said. "It's a natural marriage in a way. They'll actually get to experience some of the book."

For example, the students studying "The Hatchet" will learn about basic outdoor survival skills that the main character uses in the book, such as how to purify water and identify edible plants.

Each session is open to 12 children, and there will be three teachers for each class. Emily Krall also plans to partner with Yampatika for joint activities.

The sessions cost $350 for the week, and tuition assistance is available. Krall said she hopes the organization can become an official nonprofit in the near future but is relying on sponsorships and fundraising in the meantime.

The organization's first fundraiser is in May and will be an auction of local artist creations of environmental superheroes, complete with superhero stories written by local children.

Krall is looking for more local artists who wish to be involved. Email her at emily@steamboatbooktrails.org.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com