Northern Arizona University & Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course
I'm finishing my B.S. in Parks & Recreation Management. I could go a lot of different directions with that, and haven't chosen one single path yet. Already, I've had varying levels of experience working in the non-profit summer camp sector, the private commercial company sector, and the community-based recreation center sector.
A roommate jokingly teased me about being a tree-hugger, and as I started to object, I had to laugh and say "actually, I DO hug trees!" because my job has me 20-50ft off the ground, amongst Ponderosa Pines, standing on platforms and crossing obstacles while tethered to a safety cable. :-) I'll understand if you're jealous. haha.
Anyway, I have grown up with nature as an integral part of my life, thanks to family day trips, big backyards, and summer camps. My mom's answer to "I'm bored" was always "go outside," and my dad had us hiking trails from as early as I can remember. I recently worked with an afterschool program, and got an up-close view of our middle-schoolers these days... kids need adults to combat this illusion that the outdoors are either boring or dangerous, and encourage them to go outside and to teach them how to do so inquisitively and safely. I had a couple students who had been pegged as those "problem kids" before I arrived, but I took care not to prematurely treat them any differently, and when they were outside with me we had half the behavior issues that we did when they were inside.
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That sounds like a wonderful thesis. Take a look at C&NN's research. www.childrenandnature.org/research. It might take some digging, but you'll likely find research supporting nature play and its benefits to academic learning.
You can also ask in our Natural Teachers Network to see if anyone has specific leads, as well as browse the conversations there. In addition, our general discussion area may have some info - there's a topic on the intersection of libraries and nature, for instance. Or feel free to start your own discussion, either in the Teachers group or the general board.
Keep us posted on what you find out and how it's going!
Hi Michal, Warm welcome to C&NN Connect. I'm the forum host. I'm glad you found us and hope you make yourself at home in discussions and groups, share your activities, ideas and photos with us and find this a rich source of resources. For any questions about the network, see our FAQ page. What brings you here?