"We cannot assume that because our kids live in a mountain area, that they are "mountain kids." We need to lead them outside to become knowledgeable of our area. Anytime you can take an activity and make it special (by taking it outside), that makes their learning that much more meaningful. That's what they'll remember...And it can be in your own backyard."

~Adrienne Stenson, retired educator and workshop volunteer

That's one reason why Adrienne volunteered to help with several teacher workshops this summer. FRLT's Learning Landscapes worked with local schools to plan a full-day, site-specific "Teaching from the Land" training for K-6 teachers at each of the six elementary schools in the Feather River Watershed.

Each school received a field kit for outdoor lessons that includes 30 sets of binoculars, field lenses, and field guides. In addition, each teacher received their own personal field backpack with binoculars, water bottle, field guide, hand lens, and field journal. Teachers learned specifically about the trees and birds and other natural attributes on their schools' Learning Landscape outdoor classroom, and practiced activities and field observations that they can do with their students. They shared and developed helpful parameters and best practices for keeping their students focused, engaged, and safe during outdoor lessons.

Each aspect of the workshop was designed to help teachers feel appreciated, empowered as outdoor educators, and confident in their abilities to create their own lessons and "teach from the land" across the curriculum:

"Thank you for a very nice day, great backpacking gifts (already used several times), a yummy lunch, a nice paycheck (felt kinda guilty about that), and some great insight and materials to bring my little ones closer to the land." 

~Christine, K-6 Educator

Learn more about Learning Landscapes and how you can help!

Gratitude for making K-6 trainings a success: Local schools, dedicated teachers, Dean Witter Foundation, Strong Foundation for Environmental Values, Susan Hopkins, Ceci Reynolds, Laverne and Doug Leach, volunteers Adrienne Stenson and Alan Morrison, and generous friends  like you.

Saturday, November 2, 2013