Connecting Youth with Nature
“Connecting Youth with Nature” addresses the problem that young people are losing interest in nature, and that their involvement in outdoor recreation is declining. This project responds to the need for outdoor-based curricula identified by the Outdoor Education Working Group in January 2009. It will allow children to experience positive photography experiences in the outdoors through planning and presenting 80 digital photography training workshops for 1000 elementary and middle school teachers, park naturalists, and nature center naturalists.
Two coordinators would train and supervise nine workshop facilitators who have a background in nature, digital nature photography, and teaching. These coordinators and facilitators would plan and carry out teacher workshops on how to use digital photography in the outdoors to enhance traditional classroom curricula. Teachers would receive continuing education units (CEUs) and be provided with curriculum guides and free loan of learning trunks with cameras and field guides.
Teachers would return to their classroom, state park, or nature center and carry out digital photo safaris with their students. These activities would meet state academic standards as they relate to science, art, language arts, and math. The photo safari sessions would involve the use of volunteers who would serve as mentors.
The goal of this project is to reach at least 1000 teachers and naturalists with nature photography outdoor workshops over a two-year period. It is estimated that they will introduce 30,000 students to the opportunities for discovering Minnesota’s outdoors through digital photography.