“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson, environmental activist and author

How do you help to instill a sense of wonder in the students you work with?  Please give examples and share anecdotes on the joy and mystery of the natural world that you’ve experienced with your students.

Environmental education and place-based education are dependent upon the successful passing on of environmental knowledge and passion from teacher to student.  How that is done successfully, however, depends on several important factors.  As Rachel Carson eloquently states, and as several environmental studies have found, sensitivity to natural environments is a key component to adult environmental behavior, and involves continuous contact with natural environments alone and with close friends and relatives and consistent reinforcement of environmental concepts.  Together, combining knowledge and a love of place in both formal and non-formal exposure to outdoor education is key to long-term care and stewardship.  Therefore, educating parents, teachers and finally students about local access to natural areas is the reinforcement necessary to build students who both understand and protect their natural areas.  From there, educating on issue investigation, action and community sharing are the next steps in helping students carry out collective environmental behaviors (Hungerford and Volk, 1990).
Use the comment section of the blog to reflect on your own experience of seeing students transformation from loving a place to protecting it!