How to reconnect students to nature

Reconnecting Your Students to the Lessons of Nature

Justin Ward connect students to nature

We need to take kids out into nature! Far too many children are growing up not seeing the beauty of nature and not learning to respect the danger. We are going to inherit the future where the only thing valued by this generation is made of concrete, rebar, and steel. The lone wildflower that springs up in the sidewalk will just be seen as a weed. We need our kids fording streams, climbing mountains, and getting down on all fours to look at an insect they've never seen before. Listen to the show.

According to a 2015 Outdoor Recreation report (linked in resources), outdoor recreation is at its lowest levels since the report began in 2006. Only 60% of kids aged 13-17 report ONE outdoor activity in 2014. (Adults aged 18-24 have only 56% reporting one outdoor activity!)

Today's show is about a school that takes kids outside into nature.  Many schools are canceling these nature field-trip events for safety or financial reasons. Never taking school children outside is a grave disservice to this generation who needs to get outdoors more than ever before. Let's talk about nature, learning, and one thing we should be teaching in school.

Essential Questions: Reconnecting Your Students to the Lessons of Nature

  • How is an extended overnight nature experience be run by a school district?
  • How do you educate children on outdoor safety?
  • How can you raise money and secure parent support for nature learning experiences?
  • How does a successful 45-year outdoor nature program keep going in a budget-crunch situation?
  • What are the benefits from an overnight nature experience?
  • What technology can you use to help kids learn more about nature?

Educator Resources from this Episode

albert einstein look deep into nature Robert Frost look deep in the woods nature learning

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How to reconnect students to nature

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Megan Weed February 7, 2016 - 9:54 am

I absolutely love the idea of getting our students back to nature. We may not all be able to implement a camping program like the one mentioned in the podcast, but we can all plan activities that get our students outside. I especially love the idea of connecting them to real world experts in outdoor activities. By allowing the students to connect in meaningful ways to the outdoors, they learn so much more about nature than if they were sitting at their desks. When my niece was young, we would go outside and explore often. We would look for bugs and worms, and she loved it. I remember taking my Science textbook outdoors with us, and we would talk about the bugs and flowers we encountered. It was such a rich learning experience for the both of us. Our students should get to experience learning in this way.

Vicki Davis February 8, 2016 - 12:56 pm

Awesome Megan! All of us can do something!!!


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