Community Impact


Sharing A Passion - Estela Wilderness Education Fund
By Kim Lewis

“If you have a passion, you should share it,” advises Kevin Estela. He remembers hiking for the first time as a child on the Barnes Nature Center property in Bristol with his father. That experience was the catalyst for a life-long interest in the outdoors.

In March 2012, he established the Estela Wilderness Education Fund at Main Street Community Foundation. “This is my way of going back to my roots and ensuring the next generation will have the opportunity to learn from the outdoors the way I did,” explains Estela, a Bristol Central High School History teacher.

The purpose of the fund is to provide support on an annual basis to the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut (ELCCT), a non-profit organization located in Bristol that provides environmental education experiences to young people and adults; encourages the conservation and enjoyment of the natural environment throughout Connecticut; and serves as a land trust in the vicinity of Bristol. The ELCCT is responsible for managing the Barnes Nature Center and Indian Rock Nature Preserve. Distributions will be used toward camperships, program development, and/or trail maintenance.

Estela, a Bristol native, has taught outdoor skills since his teenage years: kayaking, canoeing, and more recently, wilderness survival through the Wilderness Learning Center of New York. When the History Channel filmed Expedition Africa in 2009, he appeared on the show to give advice about the importance of shelter and fire to survival.

Estela currently shares his knowledge of primitive, traditional and modern survival skills by writing for various magazines, and traveling around the country to offer speaking engagements and wilderness skills courses. He also tests and evaluates equipment for outdoor sporting goods companies. He plans to hold fundraising events over the next few years to promote continued growth of the Estela Wilderness Education Fund.