Earth Day

Earth Day

Although this article was written in 1996, and contains references to events and people from that era, much of Weilbacher’s critique remains relevant today.  -Ed.


EarthDay GraphicEvery Day is NOT Earth Day

Reflections on the True Meaning of Earth Day

by Mike Weilbacher

I-blue‘ll admit it up front: I’m a sucker for Earth Day. I’m a child of the first Earth Day in 1970, for its tidal wave of publicity captivated my teenage attention and launched my career. My wife and I met planning Philadelphia’s Earth Day ’90 extravaganza – her parade met my outdoor stage, and the rest was history. Today, my workplace’s largest education program has become Philly’s longest running Earth Day event.

So few things annoy me more than the standard environmental knee-jerk position on Earth Day. You know it well, and have probably recited it like some Zen mantra: every day is Earth Day; make every day Earth Day.

As usual, we got it all wrong.

Because the environmental movement began as a countercultural phenomenon, we simply can’t stand our own successes, and continually sabotage our greatest gains. Like Earth Day.

Just think of what’s happened. Millions of kids across the planet are gearing up for some celebration of the day, perhaps a tree planting, a litter clean-up, a bad assembly featuring some whining folksinger (“Please save the rainforest, boys and girls, and when you’re done, please save every large endangered mammal”), or a recycled art contest, where eminently recyclable objects like cans and egg cartons are irrevocably glued to each other and turned into wholly non-recyclable monstrosities that are trashed after the event is over (and we’re teaching what here?).

OK, bad examples, but what it means is so startlingly simple it has flown way over our still-shaggy heads. Earth Day has arrived; it has planted a taproot in the mainstream of American pop culture, and like it or not, there it will stay, and grow, and blossom…

…Into a new intemational holiday that will one day rival Christmas in its scope. I’m dead serious. Signs of this were first revealed during the extraordinary event that was Earth Day’90. While the first Earth Day was an exclusively American college-oriented teach-in, Earth Day ’90 graduated into a global festival of more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries gathering to, in some cases, perform quite meaningful work: restore rivers, save species, reclaim battered landscapes. Earth Day ’90 was, barring world wars or Michael Jackson concerts, the largest mass event in world history.

Today, the sound of the holiday embedding itself in our cultural psyche can be heard everywhere. In schools: Earth Day has become a part of many school curricula; kids are growing up knowing that Earth Day is April 22nd, and doing something relevant on or near that day. In politics: every April 22nd, President Clinton – with Vice President Green, I mean, Gore, at his side – hosts a press conference to announce another underwhelming eco-initiative. On TV: every April, there’s a round of cheesy Earth Day specials featuring forgettable stars like Bob Saget performing amazing feats like installing toilet dams in their home bathrooms (that really happened a few years back.) On radio: Rush Limbaugh will likely repeat his tired tirade that the day reflects the true deep green plot against society, for April 22nd is also Lenin’s birthday – proof that environmentalism is a Communist plot! (Memo to Rush: April 22nd was chosen because it was the only spring Saturday Senator Gaylord Nelson had free in 1970, and no environmentalist I’ve ever met in 27 years of Earth Days ever knew when Lenin was born.

You’ll hear it in newspaper editorials and worldwide web pages; in store ads and nature center events; in zoos and museums; on T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Love it or hate it, you gotta admit it: Earth Day is here to stay.


And Earth Day will only grow in scope because environmental issues are not going to go away. Quite the contrary. With Pinatubo’s ash finally settling out, with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on the rise, the global warming debate will likely warm up quite dramatically in the next few years. The biodiversity conflict is only starting to gain any intensity at all – here’s one issue guaranteed to explode as soon as a large, charismatic mammal vanishes, like the black rhino or mountain gorilla, both threatened by Africa’s political instability. And we have never properly confronted the population issue – we likely will when the next famine arrives.

On top of this, the nascent Earth Day holiday will receive a huge jolt in the year 2000. New millennium. The thirtieth anniversary. That year’s Earth Day will be a humbling event.

Sure, the “make every day Earth Day” sentiment has its place. Mostly, it serves as a reminder that the values and ethics we hold important must be cultivated daily if they will thrive. And it should remind schools of the danger of pigeonholing the ecology unit into a one-day or one-week project. Certainly, state educational mandates for ecological/environmental understandings must never be met from a one-day event, and too many schools rely on this one day to complete its environmental education requirements.

Speaking of schools, Earth Day brings out the worst in too many teacher, and too many outside educational agencies, from corporations to utilities to non-profit. There are too many lame Earth Day poster contests, where kids are asked to draw a colorful poster with an Earth Day theme. So it’s education as fascist slogan: “Don’t Pollute!” “Love the Earth!” “Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!” Relax already. We still labor under the horribly misguided notion that if we command kids’ knees to jerk in the proper direction, their heads will follow. Wrong, so wrong. Sloganeering is not educational in any sense whatsoever, teaches no information at all, and only confirms our kids’ worst fears about the state of the Earth: The Earth must be dying because the posters say so. Environmental education must be uplifting, never down- grading, and never be reduced to a bumper-sticker answer to a lapel-pin question.

Still, wading through all the flotsam and jetsam floating around Earth Day, there is a nugget of truth, a seed of change that we must hold onto tightly.

We need holidays. Better yet, we need holidays with meaning. Christmas resonates with so many people – even people who are barely Christian the rest of the year – because it speaks to a set of values we all want so desperately to believe, like the triumph of Light over Dark. The Fourth of July is centered on freedom, independence, and the meaning of America. Martin Luther King Day, I hope, will evolve to take on transcendent relevance around issues of equality, nonviolence, change and the need for multicultural connections.

Sadly, Memorial Day, Labor Day and President’s Day have lost so much of their original meaning, and exist only as three-day holidays for overworking people. Our culture may be seeking new holidays with new meanings for a new millennium, and the beauty of Earth Day is that it emerges as the only secular holiday the entire world will celebrate simultaneously. Earth Day will become just that, the “Earth’s day,” a holiday where people pause to consider what it means to be a planetary citizen, and reflect on how well we shared limited resources with so many other species.

My eldest daughter will be a graduate of the Class of 2010. I’ll wager that during her school career, she’ll have a day off from school for Earth Day. Banks will close. Governments shut down. Stores hold Earth Day sales. Greenpeace’s executive director will write an op-ed piece in the New York Times begging us to “put the ‘Earth’ back in Earth Day.”

And I’ll be on some stage somewhere hosting an Earth Day festival, living every minute of it all.

So remember: every day is NOT Earth Day. Once a year is fine. Happy Earth Day.

At the time this was written, Mike Weilbacher was executive director of the Lower Merion Conservancy, sponsor of the Children’s Earth Day Forest, an event featuring an indoor life-size recreation of a Pennsylvania forest hand-crafted by local schoolchildren.

Bird Language

Bird Language

Mentoring in action

Creating the Need to Pay Attention

Field trips and adventures in the woods are tremendously important experiences for children, especially those students that don’t often get to spend time in a natural setting. Some of the most important, lasting results of good Environmental Education are the heartfelt connections that young people make with nature. They value the natural world because they have experienced first hand the beauty and magic of living ecological systems. To really feel this in a personal way, the kids have to go outside and experience it.

by Chris Laliberte

The excitement of exploring outside with friends and classmates can turn a well behaved class into a pretty raucous crowd, and in all the commotion, it’s very easy for students to pay more attention to each other than to the woods around them. And while they might huddle up at each interpretive spot for a brief lesson or activity, what teacher or educator could possibly be there with each student for the whole walk, helping them learn from each moment as they explore the landscape with all their senses?  The trick to making the entire outing an intense learning experience is to find ways to ensure that the students are invested in paying close attention the whole time.

“Tree Tag” is the classic example of creating a need to pay attention. Kids love to play tag, and they NEED a base, some place to avoid the tagger. So when base is whatever kind of tree the teacher calls out, the kids suddenly have a very real need to be able to identify trees correctly, so they can get to base. I love to watch what happens when kids disagree about correctly identifying trees, and they have to prove to each other what kind of tree it is. Tree Tag, however, illustrates a deeper point around creating need. A game of tag is a boisterous, wild, hectic thing. But remarkably, within this game is a fantastic heightening of awareness. The danger, the risk of being tagged, or the need to tag someone, is visceral. It creates physical and chemical responses in the body that affect awareness and the learning process. Adrenalated states provide a powerful opportunity for learning. Notice that this suggests an interesting point: in Tree Tag, the key dynamic for learning is the creation of a certain amount of anxiety, or a state of discomfort. This creates a very strong need to pay attention, and then the game focuses the heightened awareness onto something very detailed and specific — in this case, the differences in bark, leaf, branching pattern and color of different trees. By paying careful attention, the student can resolve the anxiety and get to someplace “safe.”

blindfold  groupIt’s a testament to the power of the adrenalated state that, more often than not, kids will leave base and venture back out into the fray on their own for another dose. Of course, some students will be reluctant to leave base, so the teacher can keep the game active by announcing that base is now a different kind of tree, and it starts again: more adrenaline, more awareness, more attention to details of different kinds of trees, more good learning about nature.
So how can this dynamic be harnessed so that it is present throughout the whole field trip? Here’s one method that has proved enormously powerful at Wilderness Awareness School. It’s called “Bird Language.”

The basic principle behind Bird Language is that birds love to gossip. They are constantly announcing to each other and the world around them just how they are feeling about their lives at that moment. It’s almost like a town crier who likes the job so much that s/he uses any excuse to make another public announcement. “The forest is calm and happy!” “The forest is still calm and happy!” But what birds love to talk about most of all is danger and peril. Anything that might possibly be a threat is immediately announced and pointed out. Jim Corbett, a famous tracker from India, once mentioned how puzzled he was that anyone could ever get eaten by a tiger. The birds and monkeys are so loud and aggressive in announcing the presence of any tiger, and even following along above it in the treetops, screaming out their warnings, that it seemed inconceivable to him that anyone could be taken unaware by a tiger in the jungle. By coming to understand Bird Language, students can learn to recognize all the movement and activity going on in the forest around them. They’ll know when raptors or other predators are moving through, or when animals like deer or raccoons are sneaking away.

Using Bird Language with your students starts with creating the need to pay attention to what the birds are saying. For some younger students, the possibility of seeing fairies or unicorns works wonders at getting them to listen for the announcements of the birds. This is especially good if students are already uncomfortable with being outside in the woods and need a little assurance. Our favorite strategy at Wilderness Awareness School is to set up the day so that students are hiking or exploring in small groups, and might at any time be ambushed by another group sneaking up on them. If you don’t have the ability to set up the ambush dynamic, or if the group is older and more callous to the woods, the classic anxiety here in the Pacific Northwest is the threat of the cougar. Wilderness Awareness School is very careful in using this particular set-up for bird language. We let students know that cougars are sneaky but cowardly hunters, who like to attack unseen and avoid a fight or struggle. To really help students feel the anxiety in a visceral way (like the threat of being tagged), you can describe the nerve endings in the canine teeth of the cougar that help it to feel just where to bite on your neck to cleanly sever the spinal column like scissors through a banana . Now, we are careful to point out that cougars don’t normally attack people. But they sometimes can’t help themselves when a really loud, obviously unaware, small, tasty looking person hurries by without paying any attention to the woods at all. But if you notice a cougar, and make yourself look tough, maybe yell at it, then the cougar won’t bother you. They’re really pretty timid once they’ve been found out.

Regardless of what strategy you use to create a need to pay attention, listening to Bird Language can provide the focus for your students’ heightened awareness, and will allow them to resolve their tension and anxiety appropriately. For if they are listening carefully to Bird Language, no cougar or group of kids will be able to sneak up on them without alarming the birds and giving itself away. Really accurate interpretation is a fine art, and requires a lot of practice sitting outside and investigating bird alarms, but mastery is not required for Bird Language to be a remarkably effective learning tool. Here are the basic details your students will need to know to be able to get started successfully:

Field trip1Bird Language:  A Quick Summary

Pay closest attention to the small ground-feeding birds: Robins, Sparrows, Juncos, Wrens, Towhees, etc. They are the best sentries.
Learn to distinguish the Five Voices of the Birds. The first four Baseline Voices indicate that the forest is relatively comfortable, and therefore “in baseline.” The last voice, the alarm, indicates a threat, usually a predator, often a human.

1.  The Song: Birds singing their characteristic celebration, they are often loud but the feeling is very comfortable.

2.  Companion Calling: Birds in pairs or groups call back and forth to each other regularly, either with their voice or with body movements, just to let each other know that they are alright. Usually this is soft, quiet language.  It can occasionally sound scolding if one bird gets out of sight from another and fails to respond quickly enough.

3.  Juvenile Begging: Young hatchlings can make quite a racket demanding to be fed.  This repetitive whining may sound obnoxious, but don’t mistake it for distress.

4.  Territorial Aggression:  Generally made by males, this is loud, aggressive language that can sound like alarms, but you’ll notice that it doesn’t bother other birds (females, or birds of other species).

5. The Alarm is dramatically different from the four baseline voices. While the baseline voices sound like someone happily whistling, the alarm sounds like someone yelling for help. Different species sound different, but they all sound terribly upset, worried and nervous, and you’ll find yourself feeling that way too, when you open yourself up to really listening receptively to birds.

Watch the body language of alarming birds:

1.  Where does it go when it alarms?
Does it fly up higher into the branches, or down low to the ground?  Ground-feeding birds are typically brown, so they like to be down low where they are camouflaged and hidden. The only reason they fly UP is if there’s a threat on the ground.  They will fly just high enough to avoid the danger, so how high up they fly is a good indicator of how high the danger can reach. If they go down, it’s because they’ll be safer down low in the thick brush, so it’s either a raptor or a threat that can’t get into the bushes (like a human).

2.  Does the bird fly up and then look back to where it came from as it alarms?
If so, it was scared out of its place by something close by on the ground.  Does it fly up and look forward, or out and around? If so, it was probably startled by a sound or another bird’s alarm and it is looking for the danger.  It usually looks towards the source of the alarm (remember, these birds often look sideways).

3.  Does it just fly madly away alarming as it goes?  If so, it has been “plowed” out of the area, quite likely by a human.

Those are the very basics of Bird Language; however, the most important aspect of all is the “Secret Lesson” that you don’t even talk about. By attending to bird alarms, students soon realize that they themselves are disturbing the “baseline” of the forest. One of the old sayings from Kenya that young kids heard constantly was “Never disturb a singing bird.” Once they notice that they are scaring all the birds away, they begin to work at not alarming birds, and the transformation that this causes is remarkable. Once oblivious, boisterous and unconnected kids turn into quiet, observant, and respectful participants in the ecological community. Listening to birds now becomes a fabulous tool to encourage heightened awareness and a phenomenal source for amazing close encounters with animals that they want to see, like elk, deer, foxes, and raccoons, because now the birds aren’t warning these animals of the approaching students five minutes before they arrive.

In Wilderness Awareness School’s experience, Bird Language works best initially as the focal point for new students who have been “set up” to pay attention by the cultivation of a state of discomfort, and quite literally gives students the awareness they need to be safe, aware and feel comfortable in the woods. Remember, it will take some time to establish this as a routine for your students. They’ll need plenty of reminders early on. The most effective one is simply “Ssshhh! What was that? Did you hear that alarm?” Above all, have fun with it! You’ll be amazed at the transformation Bird Language can work in your students if you just stick with it.


Chris Laliberte is the Program Director for Wilderness Awareness School, a national not-for-profit environmental education organization based in Duvall, WA which is “dedicated to caring for the earth and our children by fostering appreciation and understanding of nature, community and self,” on the web at


Resources for Bird Language Study

The Language of the Birds and Advanced Bird Language: Reading the Concentric Rings of Nature, beginning and advanced audio series by Jon Young. Available at

Backyard Bird Walk and Marshland Bird Walk, and other recordings by Lang Elliott. Available at

Kamana One: Exploring Natural Mysteries, by Jon Young, part one of Wilderness Awareness School’s four-level independent study Kamana Naturalist Training Program. Includes bird language, tracking, wilderness living skills, traditional herbalism, and naturalist mentoring. Available at

Jungle Lore, by Jim Corbett. A powerful narrative from the Indian jungle which includes Bird Language lore.

Bird Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species, a unique new resource for studying birds by Mark Elbroch , Eleanor Marks, and Diane C. Boreto.

A Guide to Bird Behavior, Vols. I,II, and III, by Donald and Lillian Stokes.

Peterson Field Guides: Western Birds, by Roger Tory Peterson.

A Birds World, permanent exhibit on Bird Language at the Boston Museum of Science.

Sustainability and Relationships: Learning from the STAR School

Sustainability and Relationships: Learning from the STAR School

DSC01149-1by Gregory A. Smith
Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon

As news stories about global climate change, the peaking of oil production, or the threat of major water shortages appear more frequently in the mainstream press, it is not surprising that concerns about the long-term sustainability of institutions associated with industrial civilization have become common.  Although national and global organizations have been involved with this issue since the 1970s, only in the past decade has the general public begun to attend to the degree to which our economy and way of life are vulnerable to the impact of human behavior on the natural systems that support our species.  The term, sustainability, has become part of our daily language, and even though it is now employed to justify the efforts of transnational corporations as well as environmental organizations, its use points to a growing awareness that humanity can no longer ignore the environmental consequences of our activities and decisions. (more…)

Cool School Challenge – Students Take Action!

Cool School Challenge – Students Take Action!

The Cool School Challenge engages schools from all across the country in strategies to reduce CO2 emissions

CoolSchool-2by Katie Fleming, Rhonda Hunter & Kimberly Cline

Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, melting glaciers – oh my!  While climate change is an overwhelming issue, there is certainly hope, especially in the collective power of individual actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the underlying principle of the Cool School Challenge, an innovative climate education program that motivates students, teachers and school districts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions school-wide. At the heart of the program is the philosophy that big changes start with small steps – and taken together, simple individual actions create a world of difference. Cumulatively, we CAN reduce our carbon footprint and it’s already happening! (more…)

The Case for the Earth

The Case for the Earth

earth-spaceWe need new strategies to preserve the habitability of the planet.

by David Orr

TRADING STORIES one day about smart animals, I heard from an old farmer who described a wily fox that appeared at the edge of a clearing in which his dog was tethered to a pole in the yard. Inferring from the pattern of tracks, the empty dog dish, and the fact that the dog was bound up to the pole, he deduced that the fox had run in circles just outside the radius of the dog’s tether until he had tied the dog up, at which point he strutted in to devour the dog’s food while the helpless mutt looked on.

Something like that has happened to all of us who believe nature and ecosystems to be worth preserving and that this is a matter of obligation, spirit, true economy, and common sense. Someone or something has run us in circles, tied us up, and is eating our lunch. It is time to ask who, why, and how we might respond. (more…)

Teaching the 3 R’s Through the 3 C’s: Connecting The Curriculum And Community

Teaching the 3 R’s Through the 3 C’s: Connecting The Curriculum And Community

Teaching the 3 R’s Through the 3 C’s: Connecting the Curriculum and Community

slideshow_12xBy Clifford E. Knapp

The exploration of the educational potential of communities through direct experiences is not a new idea.  In 1912 naturalist, John Burroughs, wrote: “. . . The way of knowledge of Nature is the way of love and enjoyment, and is more surely found in the open air than in the schoolroom or the laboratory” (Burroughs, In Finch and Elder (Eds.), 1990, p. 275)  In 1915 educator and philosopher, John Dewey, re-published some earlier speeches in his book, The School and Society.  He wrote: “We cannot overlook the importance for educational purposes of the close and intimate acquaintance got with nature at first hand, with real things and materials, with the actual processes of their manipulation, and the knowledge of their social necessities and uses” (p. 11).  Why has it taken so long for educators to expand their concept of classrooms to include community outdoor laboratories?

Today, many innovative educators are venturing into the community to enrich the curriculum and to energize the instructional program and their own teaching lives.  Why are they doing this?

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Evidence from current cognitive research has shown that the human brain has two primary memory systems.  First, the spatial system allows for “locale” or natural memory of past experiences in three-dimensional space and is enriched over time as humans increase their categories for storing information.  Second, the “taxon” memory system is used for rote learning of isolated facts and skills and requires more practice and rehearsal for retention.  Outdoor learning usually capitalizes upon the personal worlds of learners by engaging their locale memory systems through direct experiences within a nearby context.  Humans understand and remember best when facts and skills are embedded in this memory system (Caine and Caine, 1994, pp. 41-46).

Howard Gardner, a psychologist, author, and educator, has identified eight human intelligences that have been used by some schools to plan balanced learning experiences for students. Recently, he described the naturalistic intelligence that meets eight stringent criteria, including an identified location in the brain and documented experimental data gathered by cognitive psychologists (Roth, 1998, pp. 9-11).  The naturalist intelligence accounts for how people recognize patterns in nature and culture, classify objects, and understand relationships in their environment.  It is “. . . the human ability to discriminate among living things . . . as well as [demonstrate a] sensitivity to other features of the natural world” (Roth, 1998, p. 7).  Trips to local areas outside the school can develop this intelligence and result in long-term knowledge acquisition and retention.

One current educational reform effort involves providing students with authentic experiences and assessments.  Educational authenticity simply means creating more realistic learning situations that mirror what others are doing in the community.  Some educators also advocate a philosophical approach called constructivism – instructional strategies based on research about how people learn.  This involves students actively learning and explaining their reasoning behind how they arrive at answers to questions of importance.  Constructivism incorporates the support of groups of learners engaged in problem solving, reflecting, and connecting the lessons to prior knowledge and past experience.

Another educational trend relates to bioregional education or place-based pedagogy Woodhouse & Knapp, 2000).  As urbanization and information technologies increase, the innate, genetically programmed human need to relate to natural places has emerged from our ancient past.  The scientist, E. O. Wilson, named this human affinity for nature “biophilia”.  Some educators believe that without a sense of place, students can not fully know who they are and where they fit into the community.  Most suburban and urban students and teachers don’t understand where their drinking water originates, can’t identify many native trees or birds, don’t know whether the moon is waxing or waning, or have ever seen the stars over the city.  How can people feel whole without an awareness of their bioregion”s natural cycles and processes?  Many youth are growing up with little firsthand knowledge of where they live and therefore, don’t know their ecological addresses or understand how their ecological footprints relate to their consumptive lifestyles.  The only field trips many urban and suburban youth take are via the software programs chosen for their computers.  Learning, conducted in the context of the community, helps students to better comprehend the relationship of the school curriculum to more of life’s pleasures and problems.

Another educationally relevant field has been labeled, “ecopsychology” or “conservation psychology” – the combination of ecology or conservation and psychology.  One principle advanced by ecopsychologists is that humans need natural spaces to relieve the modern-day stresses of crowded and fast-paced living.  Breathing clean air, viewing green plants, and caring for and observing animals can improve mental health and relieve some forms of stress and depression.  Educators have only begun to understand the importance of direct contacts with the green islands located within steel and concrete dwelling places.

One of the most promising new outdoor education studies resulted from a 12-state research project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and conducted by Gerald Lieberman and Linda Hoody.  The study described the common features of instructional “best practices” and the factors leading to student learning in 40 K-12 schools across the United States.  These schools were selected because they used natural and socio-cultural environments as integrating contexts (EIC) for learning.  “Evidence gathered from this study . . . indicates that students learn more effectively within an environment-based context than within a traditional educational framework.” “. . . EIC appears to significantly improve student performance in reading, writing, math, science and social studies, and enriches the overall school experience” (Lieberman and Hoody, 1998, p. 2).  Although more research is always needed, this study provides some support for teachers who believe that sometimes the community can be the best laboratory for learning and applying certain educational goals, standards, and benchmarks.

In our graduate course, “Integrating the Community into Curriculum and Instruction”  we used two other community-based educational models to guide our learning.  We chose the Foxfire Program (The Foxfire Fund, 1990), a nationally recognized, student-centered approach and Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, (Campbell, Liebowitz, Mednick, and Rugen (Eds.), 1998), a program initially funded by the New American Schools Development Corporation in 1992.  Both of these programs are currently operating successfully in schools across the country and have shown that a wide range of students can learn important objectives and become motivated and actively engaged in the process.  Each of these programs employs several core principles and practices that reflect sound experiential-learning philosophies.  These project-based models place high priority on student decision making, critical and creative thinking, and problem solving in the context of the community and local issues.  School curricula that are more reality based and immersed in local contexts are becoming more accepted by school boards, parent groups, and educational leaders around the country.  Several states and school districts, including the Chicago Public Schools, have required service learning programs designed to connect students to the wider community and teach civic values.  These types of explorations beyond the classroom walls increase the chances that the curriculum will be more meaningful now and in the future.  The following writers hope that their articles will inspire learning adventures in local areas, including school sites, businesses, agencies, industries, nature centers, museums, parks, historical sites, residences, and natural areas.  Will you accept their challenge of teaching with the three C’s in mind?


Burroughs, J. (1912). The gospel of nature. In Finch, R. & Elder, J. (Eds.). The Norton book of nature writing. (1990). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Caine, R. N. & Caine, g. (1994).  Making connections: Teaching and the human brain. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Campbell, M., Liebowitz, M., Mednick, A., & Rugen, L. (1998). Guide for planning a learning expedition.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Dewey, J. (Fourth Impression, 1959).  The child and the curriculum and The school and society.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Lieberman, G. & Hoody, L. (Eds.). (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. Poway, CA: Science Wizards.

Roth, K. (1998). The naturalist intelligence. Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight Training and Publishing, Inc.

The Foxfire Fund, Inc. (1990). The Foxfire approach: Perspectives and core practices. Hands On. Rabun Gap, GA: The Foxfire Fund, Inc.

Woodhouse, J. L. & Knapp, C. E. (2000).  Place-based curriculum and instruction:

Outdoor and environmental education approaches.  ERIC Digest EDO-RC-00-6. Charleston, WV:AEL, Inc.