Interview with Mary Cruz, Nature Kids Lafayette Parent
Mary Cruz is a Lafayette parent and community member who participated in the initial community engagement process that lead to the ideas, values and guidelines behind the Nature Kids Lafayette program. We sat down with Mary Cruz at Ofelia Miramontes Park to ask her some questions about her and her family.
Carlos Lerma: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Mary Cruz: We are originally from Puebla, Mexico, but we’ve lived in Boulder County for about 18 years and in Lafayette for about 10 years. It’s my husband and I, and our four children. My oldest daughter goes to Centaurus, I have a son who goes to Alicia Sanchez and another one who goes to Pioneer. My little one stays home with me. On the weekends, I’m a naturalist! I try to find any opportunity I can to get outside with my children. We like to go to Waneka Lake, because I like to walk and while I walk the kids usually play in the playground.
CL: How did you hear about Nature Kids Lafayette?
MC: I found out through a friend, she told me about it. She said there was this new program called Nature Kids and I was really interested. I went to the first gathering at Alicia Sanchez. There, I found out more about what it was, and I definitely liked the sound of it!
CL: What are your feelings around outdoor activities and the importance of connecting oneself to nature?
MC: Oh well I’m in love with nature, I love to admire it, the mountains, and the seasons, basically everything. When I take my kids outdoors I see them unwind and destress. They are more in tune with themselves. And yeah, this happens to me as well, it has helped my life personally, to organize my thoughts and refocus.
CL: How and why did you get involved with Nature Kids?
MC: I got involved through community programs and through the schools. I got involved because of my children and for the benefits that this program can provide my children.
CL What is one thing that you’ve really enjoyed as being part of Nature Kids?
MC: One thing I really enjoyed that happened through Nature Kids was the summer event at Waneka Lake, I really liked that. I enjoyed all of the activities that were available for the kids and how people were really animated about being outdoors.
CL: Have you seen any effects on your family, or yourself from participating in activities in the outdoors?
MC: I’ve seen a big effect, a positive one. I’ve seen one especially in my daughter because she likes to be a leader. She likes to be involved. Sometimes she says she loves nature and other times she doesn’t, but she sees me get involved and do it and then she wants to also. I tell her, there is nothing else that is more meditative than seeing life from the top of a mountain; it reminds you how small everything really is. And I think she understands the beauty of nature, I think those feelings transmit over. And my sons, they’ve always been a naturalist. I would say that one effect I’ve seen is that they‘ve become more independent. They become self-aware and have a high self-esteem.
CL: Mary Cruz, thank you for your time and I think this will be very inspiring for other families in Lafayette.
MC: Thank you!