Title

Teaching and Learning in Nearby Nature

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 3-11-2017

Publication Title

The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics

Department

Education

Abstract

How can we engage the tension that environmental degradation and meaningful remediation efforts co-exist in the same space? In this documentary account, I describe a weekend mini-course I developed and taught to support undergraduate students in exploring former industrial sites that have been redesigned as earthworks, parks, or public walkways. I share conceptual frameworks for learning and reflection in nearby nature and describe how I purposefully selected sites for exploration. Strategies I used to foster a culture of contemplation and reflection are documented. Finally, I consider the tensions in students’ written reflections and identify patterns in student learning. Students found new appreciation for nearby urban parks and green spaces, often re-thinking the idea that one must visit "wilderness" to experience a connection to nature. They also debated whether restoration efforts should focus on restoring sites to some ecological ideal or leave visible evidence of past environmental degradation.

Volume

4

Issue

1

pp.

33-52