The SITES Gold Campsite at Shield Ranch, located just 22 miles from downtown Austin, Texas, serves as the new home for Camp El Ranchito, a scholarship-based overnight camp. El Ranchito started in 2007 as a primitive campsite with the mission to connect children with the natural world by providing an extraordinarily fun and inspiring nature immersion experience.

“The campsite demonstrates our commitment to share more broadly with our community in ways that serve groups while protecting the land for future generations,” says Andrea Mellard, executive director of the Shield Ranch Foundation. “In a rapidly urbanizing region, it’s increasingly important to provide outdoor experiences to promote health, connection and moments of wonder.”

Read more from Michelle Bryant and Heather Venhaus with Sustainable SITES Initiative here.