Outdoor Education

Reclaiming Spaces

Providing opportunities for students of color to explore the outdoors and science careers   Text and photos by Sprinavasa Brown  recall the high school science teacher who doubted my capacity to succeed in advanced biology, the pre-med advisers who pointed my...

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Advice for white environmentalists and nature educators

by Sprinavasa Brown I often hear White educators ask “What should I do?” expressing an earnest desire to move beyond talking about equity and inclusion to wanting action steps toward meaningful change. I will offer you my advice as a fellow educator. It is both a...

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Outdoor, Hands-on STEM Learning

Outdoor Learning in Shelton: A Surge of Hope by Eleanor Steinhagen   Bayshore Preserve – Shelton, WA wo 7th graders have just tossed their pears into Johns Creek and are jogging downstream to see which one will cross the finish line first. Maneuvering around a...

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Outdoor Education Perspectives

Outdoor Education — Thoughts From an Elder by Dan Kriesberg   uring college I was a waterfront director at a sleepaway camp and absolutely loved it. When my post college job search led me to residential outdoor education centers I was thrilled. It was summer camp...

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Classroom without walls

“Mr. D., that was the best science class I’ve ever had!” The trials and successes of a classroom without walls By Greg Derbyshire he above feedback, made by a grade 8 student, is one of many similar comments made to me by students and parents who recognize and...

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Wolverines, Wonder and Wilderness

Wolverines, Wonder and Wilderness Why the Wolverine Matters to a Kid Who Has Never Seen a Raccoon by Megan McGinty IT IS APRIL AND I AM SITTING UNCOMFORTABLY on the cobbles of a gravel bar on the Skagit River in the North Cascades National Park with a group of local...

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Transformative Power

The Transformative Power of Wilderness Education A graduate student finds an understanding of the effect of wilderness on the development of young people’s sense of self-worth by Rory Crowley n July 7th, 2001 I lie huddled in my sleeping bag, shivering as I survey the...

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Forest Schools and the Benefits of Unstructured Outdoor Play

Forest Schools and the Benefits of Unstructured Outdoor Play By Deanna Fahey Miami University, Oxford, Ohio t is snowing outside and you’re getting your child ready to go to kindergarten.  While other children may be wishing for a snow day so they can play in the...

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In Support of Outdoor School

In Support of Outdoor School By Merrill Watrous “I not only learned about ghost shrimp and how to catch them, I did catch them. I not only learned what a chitin was and where it lived, I went out to where it was and petted it. Almost everything (at Outdoor School) was...

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Students’ Lived Experience

Effective Education: Turning the Classroom Inside Out By Indira Dutt s a child at school I remember sitting in a stuffy portable looking out the window to the field and houses beyond. I felt constrained: my seat was attached to the desk, the classroom was just barely...

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Race, Class, Climate Change and Outdoor Education

Race, Class, Climate Change and Outdoor Education By Jay Roberts A recent post on climate change and race (http://tinyurl.com/b6fzp7) brings up an issue that really needs to be on the forefront of outdoor and environmental education moving forward. It is becoming...

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Fueling the Fire: North Cascade Institute’s Path for Youth

Fueling the Fire: North Cascade Institute's Path for Youth by Mollie Behn t is no secret that today’s youth are increasingly disconnected from nature. As a result, youth are less aware of issues and threats facing the environment and how to address them. We need to...

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Seeking Environmental Maturity…

...at Starker Forests Helping students climb the ladder to responsible citizenship by Dick Powell This past summer I attended the World Forestry Center's International Educator's Institute (IEI). As an environmental educator without any formal pedagogical or...

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The Return of Salmon Watch

Salmon Watch is back by popular demand and coming soon to a stream near you! . by Lizanne Saunders . his Fall ten classes of middle and high school students in the Portland metropolitan area are participating in a revitalized Salmon Watch program sponsored this pilot...

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Lessons for teaching in the environment and community — 20

"Lessons for Teaching in the Environment and Community" is a regular series that explores how teachers can gain the confidence to go into the world outside of their classrooms for a substantial piece of their curricula. Part 20: Beginning at the Beginning . by Jim...

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To all residential environmental educators: You are invited!

Straight Talk, Sound Ideas IslandWood is convening a conference for residential environmental educators in the Pacific Northwest! Meet new colleagues, make new connections and friends, get fresh ideas - get inspired! You can look forward to workshops, explorations and...

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How to Give Kids a Nature Experience to Remember

ne of my favorite nature quotations comes from the Japanese conservationist Tanaka Shozu who said, “The question of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart.” I wanted to touch the hearts of my middle school students with the beauty of nature as well...

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Deepening Science Education, Increasing Ecological Literacy

Woodland Park Zoo's "Ready, Set, Discover" gets kids outside By Katie Remine, School and Community Engagement Supervisor Woodland Park Zoo “With an opportunity to wonder, explore, and to question, students can discover fresh reasons to excel at other subjects and...

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A Greater Impact—What Teaching has Taught Me

by David Strich North Cascades Institute Mountain School has ended for me, but this recent spring session changed my life as an educator. I have become more convinced that I am pursuing the right career and that my teaching techniques have had meaningful impacts in my...

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The Importance of Deep Experiences in Nature

By Joseph Cornell Profound moments with nature foster a true and vital understanding of our place in the world. I remember an experience I had as a five-year-old boy that awakened in me a life-long fascination for marshes, birds, and for a life lived wild and free. I...

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The Social Studies of Spirituality

The Social Studies of Spirituality By Kasey Christian IslandWood (photo from silouanthompson.net) Where are the boundaries between Social Studies, Science, and Spiritual beliefs? Where do these distinct practices intersect? How does a teacher model equal respect for...

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The Art of Mentoring: Rekindling Appreciation of Nature

For the questioning mind, learning never concludes because it is an endless journey with an infinite number of destinations... by Chris Helander Head Instructor Coyote's Path Wilderness School (reprinted from The Best of CLEARING) There are many people who say our...

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Outdoor Education is Boring

by Tony Deis TrackersPDX Remember when Outdoor Education was chopping wood, ghost stories, building log cabins, lighting fires and fishing? Nowadays it's playing nature games, parroting sanitized and co-opted indigenous lore, taking water quality samples and sitting...

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A Reflection on Teaching Environmental Education

by Julie Corotis Children were taken hostage in Russia, thousands died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and bombs were detonated in Palestine and Israel. All of these events have occurred while I have been an environmental educator at IslandWood. How these events define my...

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Climate Change, Youth and Hope: Debunking the Paradox

by Megan McGinty North Cascades Institute Last year we began a service-learning summer program for high school students focusing on climate change. The Climate Challenge program consisted of a summer residency in the North Cascades followed by a service project in...

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Guiding Students’ Questioning

by Jude Curtain The sun was shining. There was just a hint of fall in the September air. Twenty three fourth graders were hunched over their white dishpans, excitedly sorting through their samples of forest litter. So began a series of lessons designed to guide...

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An unapologetic advocate…

by Rob Sandelin My primary goal as an educator at the Environmental Science School is to create connections between students and nature. I do this because I believe once students have a deep connection to nature, they become advocates, often for the rest of their...

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Outdoor Education in the Schoolyard

by Julie Lancaster Last year, I left the OE world that I love so much and went back to school to get my teaching credential/MA Education. I felt that loving education as much as I do, it would be extremely beneficial to study it! Finding myself headed toward student...

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Review: Ten-Minute Field Trips

A Teacher's Guide to Using the Schoolgrounds for Environmental Studies Review courtesy of Fletcher Brown, University of Montana Author unknown Environmental education for children growing up in urban areas is often limited to a single trip to a forest preserve or...

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Review: Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature

©2008 Jon Young and Wilderness Awareness School. This a book that needs to be in the possession of everyone who claims to be, or aspires to be, an outdoor educator. This book goes to the heart of developing a sense of kinship with nature and teaching about connecting...

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Humane Education for a Humane World

Humane education examines the challenges facing our planet, from human oppression and animal exploitation to materialism and ecological degradation.  It explores how we might live with compassion and respect for everyone. by Zoe Weil In 1987, I offered several courses...

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The Birds Are Out There

by Lyanda Haupt Seattle Audubon Society Birds are everywhere.  Their lives hold myriad ecological lessons, some obvious, some subtle.   No matter where we live, or where we teach, there are birds to be found.  They may not be wondrous, rare, or exotic.  They may be an...

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