Outdoor Education Blog

Learning Beyond the Walls

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Value of Outdoor Education

I just returned from a trip to Arizona. I had the privilege of hiking the Grand Canyon (pretty good for a pregnant woman!), visiting the ancestral homes of the Pueblo people and walking the trails between the red rocks of Sedona. Following these beautiful experiences I ended up on a road trip to Las Vegas with ten guys (yup I must have been crazy).

Now for those of you that have not been to Vegas- I believe it is ‘Walt Disney World’ for adults- bright lights, gambling, lots of naked women and booze. In my mind it is the epitome of North American gluttony. So how does this fit into outdoor education? Well in the presence of all of this excess I was thinking- is my dream for a healthy plant a lost cause? How can you ever convince a population of people who participate in such greedy consumerism to be contentious of their impact on the environment and grateful for the natural gifts that sustain them? The city of Las Vegas is so removed from the natural environment- geez they even have fake birds singing on the street!

What does this have to do with outdoor education? Well it reaffirmed my need to keep trying to facilitate meaningful experiences that help people to forge positive relationships with the outdoors. People need to see the connection between themselves as humans and the natural world, and to appreciate that our lives depend on natural systems remaining healthy.

My conclusion? Instead of visiting Vegas take a walk in a park- any park local, provincial, national….it is way nicer and definitely cheaper!

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