SCOOP MAGAZINE electronic - Page 8



Let Nature
Be Your Guide:
The Importance
of Outdoor
Environmental
Education
BY CARLY SCHUNA
“Nature frees kids’ minds and allows
them just to be themselves,” says
Geoffrey Bishop. “It has no demands.
It’s like a blank canvas. When kids go
out and immerse themselves in it, they
can create it as their own.”
Bishop works as Executive Director of
Nature’s Classroom Institute (NCI), an
innovative environmental education
program with five sites in Wisconsin,
Texas, and California. NCI hosts students of all ages for three- or five-day
immersive visits with custom programming in settings including farms, lakes,
mountains, forests, and more.
The program grew out of Bishop’s own
passion for the natural world. After
growing up in the Australian bush and
studying horticulture and landscape
agriculture in his home country, Bishop spent five years traveling the world,
visiting almost 125 countries and seeing how people interacted with a wide
variety of landscapes.
6
Bishop feels that when someone goes
outside and truly connects with nature, there is a calming effect, as in
yoga or meditation. In essence, spending time outside is a way to press the
“reset” button on a child’s day and
ease the burden of any baggage they
may be carrying around – a stomach
that hurts, an argument with a parent, an interaction with a bully, or
any number of other troubling things.
After getting time outdoors to center
themselves and be active, Bishop has
observed kids go back into the classroom with the kind of focus, attention,
and enthusiasm they need to tackle
academic work.
Another great asset of nature is how
it encourages kids to learn about
and take calculated, controlled risks,
in situations where they might skin
a knee or fall in the lake, and learn
about their boundaries and interests.





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