The August 2022 issue of JOEE is features seven papers from international academics and researchers, predominantly from Canada, USA and Australia. In this issue, we take a closer look at: university food gardens being essential for environmental literacy, the gender and risk in the outdoors, how inclusive practices are influencing Leave No Trace outcomes amongst climbers in the USA, kindgarten journaling in Vancouver, planning for the increased risk of Heat and Sun Related Illnesses with Global Warming, and constructive development theory in growing up and immunity to change.
These issues offer OE professionals a diverse rang of topics relevant to many.
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Learning from the Dirt: Initiating university food gardens as a cross-disciplinary tertiary teaching tool
Food gardens are an underdeveloped resource for teaching and research in Australian universities. While some campuses have food or botanical gardens, outside the biological or physical sciences, food growing is not routinely incorporated into mainstream curricula.
This article investigates why and how we might change this. It examines universities’ traditional reliance on classroom-based, non-experiential learning, which preferences reading and writing over doing, particularly doing anything outdoors.
The consequence is that most Australian students come to university with little or no experience of living from the land, growing food or other plants. This has flow on effects for environmental literacy because one of the fundamental ways human beings have traditionally gained an appreciation of the precarity of the natural world is through the imperative of growing their own food. Our survival depended on our plants’ survival. Urbanisation has broken this nexus for city-dwellers.
The article then explores the example that United States campus food gardens provide other universities, as well as the process of creating food gardens for teaching and research at a high-density campus in Sydney, Australia. The article ends by postulating lessons students and staff might learn about food systems, sustainability and green cities, when food growing is incorporated into teaching and research. The article aims to inspire academic staff, particularly outside the biological sciences, to instigate campus food gardens to increase graduate environmental literacy.
Types of outdoor education programs for adolescents in British Columbia: an environmental scan
Jennifer Gruno (pic) & Sandra Gibbons
This paper provides an environmental overview of the outdoor education (OE) programs offered in public school, grades 6-12, across British Columbia (BC). The overview draws from Canadian academic literature related to OE and an internet search of programs in each school in BC.
The authors discover a wide-ranging outdoor learning activities run each of the 63 school districts in BC.
Analysis revealed eight main categories of OE programs: (a) physical and health education courses; (b) programs with an Indigenous focus; (c) interdisciplinary programs; (d) unique content programs; (e) annual trips; (f) district programs; (g) school-wide initiatives; and (h) community partnership programs.
The findings have implications for educators, administrators, non-governmental organizations wishing to partner with schools, BC Boards of Education, the provincial Ministry of Education, and other provinces and countries regarding creation of programs and resource allocation for outdoor learning.
Heat and sun related medical concerns in Australian led outdoor activities: a three-year prospective study
Lauren V. Fortington (pic), Natassia Goode, Caroline F. Finch AO & Paul M. Salmon
Regular participation in sport and recreational activities, many of which are enjoyed outdoors, is beneficial for health and wellbeing (Dickson et al., 2008).
However, outdoor activity can present a risk of adverse health events related to weather, including exposure to the sun and heat/
Local mitigation strategies and acute management of heat- and sun-related illness (HSRI) are generally well understood by researchers and medical practitioners, however, cases continue to occur so further understanding of why this happens is required.
This study aimed to identify the number, nature and contributory factors of HSRI in Australian led outdoor activities in order to seek opportunities for their prevention.
Epidemiological data on the occurrence of heat illness in led outdoor activities is needed because there is an expectation of an increase in the number of hot weather days experienced globally, including in Australia (Hughes et al., 2016; Townsend et al., 2003). Therefore, activity providers need to be prepared to manage their programs and participants in hot weather.
Rethinking nature journaling in the Kindergarten Program action research in learning and teachings
This qualitative action research study in a Canadian urban public elementary school proposes teachers and early childhood education integrate different types of nature journaling into the Kindergarten Program.
In this study, analysis of data collected from weekly classroom lessons and student work samples through two action research cycles led to the identification of three types of nature journaling: 1) observation-focused nature journaling, which may encourage sensory engagement; 2) relationship-built nature journaling, which may help to foster a sense of connection with the natural environment; and 3) curriculum-connected nature journaling, which may contextualize nature journaling as an interdisciplinary pedagogical strategy.
. This study values whole child development and experiential learning. It emphasizes the pedagogical values and curriculum connections nature journaling can bring to the Kindergarten Program, especially when used as a way for students to explore environmental and nature education. Based on its findings, this study recommends that educators organize curriculum and foster students’ interdependence in the context of real-world experiences through a nature journaling approach.
Gender and Risk in Outdoor Adventure Education
Elisabeth Tilstra, Doug Magnuson, Nevin J. Harper & Annalee Lepp (pic)
This paper analyses how gender intersects with risk processes and practices in outdoor adventure education by exploring three factors:
(i) hierarchical language and the gendering practices of order, labeling, and omission place girls and girls’ needs as external or additional to a “neutral” masculine norm.
(ii) adherence to a rigid binary in the definition and conceptualization of risk parallels and perpetuates a gender binary that prioritizes masculinity and boys above femininity, girls, and non-binary youth.
(iii), societal norms influence stereotypes, assumptions, and expectations that gender risk on outdoor adventure education courses.
The authors present how these 3 factors work together to gender risk and conclude by offering practical suggestions for how this research can be applied to outdoor adventure education and youth programming more broadly.
Leave no person behind: Exploring how demographic categories shape LNT principles among climbers in West Virginia’s new river gorgw
James N. Maples (pic), Michael J. Bradley, Brian Clark, Sadie Giles & Rhiannon Leebrick
Mitigating the environmental impact of rock climbing remains an important task for land managers. Leave No Trace (LNT) Principles offer a proven approach to minimising outdoor recreation users’ impacts on public lands, and this approach has similarly been shown effective among climbers.
Climbing organisations have introduced minimum impact education programs, such as the Climber’s Pact, which ask climbers to publicly commit to practicing minimum impact actions. Equally, some run inclusivity programs to be more sex, gender, and race inclusive. These programs often include LNT education,.
This study examines LNT knowledge among climbers (n=274) in West Virginia using a 28-item measure linking LNT Principles to appropriate climbing actions. The researchers found that climbers scored well overall on LNT knowledge. However, in difference of means testing, those identifying in the survey as females and people of colour occasionally outscored those in their comparison categories. These findings open new avenues for studying how diversity and inclusivity programs may be improving LNT knowledge in the climbing community overall.
Outdoor adventure education and constructive development theory: An inquiry into meaning making, growing up, and immunity to change
Curt J. Pollock (pic) & Nevin J. Harper
This paper, by Candian authors, explores how one’s experience in an outdoor adventure education program may be observed, understood, and potentially maximised through the lens of Robert Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory.
This paper shares the theoretical foundation of constructive-developmental theory and literature relevant to understanding how a program participant makes meaning of their outdoor adventure experience.
The constructive-developmental perspective can help inform understanding of participant experiences of change and may direct practices underpinning outdoor adventure programming.
Kegan’s theory may provide cogent understandings of change, how it is facilitated and measured, and insight as to why some youth thrive and others struggle in outdoor adventure programs.
Outdoor Education Australia is a national network of outdoor education associations that facilitates communication about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.
OEA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heartand First Nations Australians’ quest for truth telling, a voice and makarrata. We look forward to walking together with First Nations Australians to build a better future. We recognise that the land we live and work on was never ceded.