Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

FUNDRAISER: An Evening With Author, Hiker and Educator Cindy Ross

May 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Ijams Nature Center and Mast General Store will present an Ijams Camp Scholarship Fundraiser featuring author, photographer and speaker Cindy Ross on Tuesday, May 21. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the presentation begins at 6:30.

The program is FREE for current Ijams members. The cost for nonmembers is $5 and will go toward a scholarship for an at-risk or underserved child to attend a week of Ijams Nature Adventure Summer Camp this summer. Donations also will be accepted.

For more than 35 years, Ross has found peace, happiness and contentment while walking and cycling the trails across North America. As a single woman, she crossed the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail, penning and illustrating her first book, A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail. Then she tackled the 2600-mile Pacific Crest Trail through the Sierra and Cascade Mountains with her husband, Todd Gladfelter. That resulted in her second book, Journey on the Crest.

When she and Gladfelter had children, their travels became a family affair. With two small children in tow, they embarked on a five-summer, 3100-mile trek, using llamas as kid carriers and packers to carry supplies and diapers across the Rocky Mountains. The journey took five summers, 500 miles at a time. The last stretch through New Mexico was desert, so they traded llamas for tandem mountain bikes and trailers loaded with 100 pounds of gear for the last 650 miles to the Mexican border. She captured it all in her sixth book, Scraping Heaven – A Family’s Journey Along the Continental Divide.

The trek opened Ross’ eyes to the value of experiential education. Inspired, she created a new way to supplement her children’s education by developing learning opportunities in 12 countries while they lived simply and traveled on foot and bicycle.

During this multimedia presentation, Ross will share how parents can provide experiential education closer to home for their own children during a multimedia presentation about her most recent book, The World is Our Classroom – How One Family Used Nature and Travel to Shape an Extraordinary Education. The book shares Ross’ expertise gleaned from 24 years of mothering as a writer, an outdoor adventurer and a home-school facilitator, through presentations and workshops. By sharing her story, along with honest insights from her children about the importance of their unusual education, Ross aims to empower parents to believe they can be their children’s best and most important educators.

Ross will sign books after the presentation and will have the following books available for purchase: The World is Our Classroom, Scraping Heaven, Journey on the Crest and A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail.


Ijams Visitor Center Multipurpose Room


This program is FREE for current Ijams members; the cost for nonmembers is $5. Members should enter the code ROSS when registering. Children under 6 are free. NOTE: This program is geared for adults, but children are welcome. Register HERE.


Ijams awards full refunds for any cancellations up to 7 days before a program, or if Ijams cancels a program due to severe weather. Refunds are not awarded for programs with fees of $5 or less for any reason.

More About Cindy Ross

Cindy Ross received her formal education in Fine Arts Painting, attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She illustrated four of her six books.

She lives along the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania with her husband in a log home that they built themselves from raw trees. They grow much of their own food on their rural property. Her family has traveled extensively throughout the United States as well as Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.

Ross has written more than 1,000 articles for magazines such as Outside, Backpacker, Paddler, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Outdoor Life, Canoe & Kayak, Adventure Cyclist, Sailing, Wooden Boat, Scouting and Native Peoples. 

She has contributed travel stories to newspapers including The LA Times, The San Francisco Examiner, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun. In addition to myriad television interviews, her family and llamas were featured on a half-hour show, “Pet Story,” on Animal Planet.

Ross is the founder and director of River House PA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps Veterans heal by taking them into nature. She is working on a book, entitled WARPATH – Seeking Peace on America’s Trails, the Healing Journeys of 20 Veterans, about Veterans who have used the United States’ scenic foot paths and water trails to heal from the trauma of war.


May 21
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
, , ,


Ijams Nature Center
2915 Island Home Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37920 United States
+ Google Map
(865) 577-4717