Outdoor Education Blog

Learning Beyond the Walls

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Sense of Community

It was a dark and rainy afternoon when a large orange bus pulled up in front of the Kiln House and out poured students from Georgian College's ecotourism course....
The students appeared to be apprehensive when they learned that that they would be staying outside- with rain jackets, of course. Their intrepid guides, myself and Jen, attempted to warm them with an introduction to the program we had designed- entitled 'A Sense of Community'. Since this group of students had come to experience 72 hrs. in the life of the Northern Edge we strove to tap into the human senses sight, touch, taste and smell to experience the Edge community, human and non-human, at the Edge and within the bush... in hopes that they would remember more then the tapping of rain drops and the smell of wet earth- we had the students play some active games that encouraged them to work as a human community and introduced them to some non-human organisms...and turned them into 'tree huggers'- literally. They also recieved a 'behind the scenes' talk and tour of how our facility is run as a company with an ecological focus.
I hope they took home information that will helpful within their courses as well as life.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A 'balanced' Education

This past weekend, students from Dr. Brown's BioChem lab, McMaster University, came to the nature retreat. Their experience was a little different from many of the educational programs that we usually provide. They wanted a relaxing space to get away and discuss their research ideas, with a nice balance of outdoor activities.

Well, I thought this was a really great idea....not too long ago I was a university student so I am familiar with the pressures of school and often felt unhappy when I realized I had spent my whole day inside with only my computer for company.

Balance is important for everyone- and for people who spend time inside of a lab looking for answers to life’s mystery's it is important that they also understand the natural world beyond the walls of a humanly controlled environment. It helps us to see the 'bigger' picture in our personal and professional lives.

Dr. Brown's students are lucky enough to have a supervisor who understands this need for balance and shares not only his knowledge of science but his love for the outdoors. So I would like to give him a virtual pat on the back!

While they were here, students spent the mornings presenting different research ideas to their peers, and the afternoons we hiked and paddled.

On the Loxton Beaver Trail we saw claw marks on beech trees left behind from bears climbing to the tops to retrieve nuts, and lots of moose and deer tracks. We had a lot of fun looking at the wide variety of mushrooms and fungus that have flourished in the recent damp weather. The colours and textures were amazing...velvety brown, bright orange, yellow with polka dots...each one seems unique.

Despite an unplanned chilly dip in the lake- we had a nice canoe trip up the Amble du Fond- seeing a grey heron and the beaver lodge...hey I even got the rare treat of being the princess (third person who sits in the middle of the canoe) for awhile.

Well the students have promised to send a few photos- so I will attach them when they arrive.

Have a great long weekend and for those eating a turkey dinner...remember 'balance' :)

Learn more at ExpEd.ca