Exploring the outdoors is fun and educational
Gerry Rising’s Sept. 23 Nature Watch column, “Don’t be afraid to explore the great outdoors,” was a great call to action for getting our children outdoors to explore their natural world and resources found in it. His mention of Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods,” provided the best guide for stimulating and sustaining what Rachel Carson called “a sense of wonder” in children. It is, however, the subtitle of Louv’s book, “Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder,” that Rising has eloquently described in his brief essay.
Later this month, members of the New York State Outdoor Education Association will gather in Upton and partner with scientists and educators from Brookhaven National Laboratory for their annual meeting whose theme this year is, “Outdoor Education has Always been ‘Green’ and an Effective Way to Teach STEM” (science, technology, engineering and math). I encourage teachers in formal K-12 public and private classrooms, and educators in college and university education departments, nature centers, zoos, youth groups, environmental and conservation groups to look at the NYSOEA website, www.nysoea.org, and see what this organization is doing not only to promote STEM learning, but also its efforts in creating a New York State Environmental Literacy Plan that “reconnects children to the outdoors, helping them become more capable of making environmentally literate decisions that not only protect the environment but lead to a prosperous economy and healthy citizens.”