Sunday, February 4, 2007


Posted by Kirk
A few years back I wrote the following:

1. seeing meaningful vision/values based change in youth as the result of powerful outdoor experiences that help them examine life/ecology and self.

I wrote that in response to the question, "What is your number one motivator at work?"

I need to re-examine everything I do. I've lost sight of this a little over the years as what I do becomes more about work and less about a vocation. How do I create powerful outdoor experiences? I think I'm doing okay with that but what bothers me about my current work is that it isn't as powerful as the adventure education. When I did adventure ed. I would see life change in hours. When everything went right the kids who left were different from those who came. Usually this shift was about self confidence. Studies show that this new self confidence lasts at least a year but for some kids you see that it will last much longer.

I think the effect is more subtle in any kind of environmental education or natural history program. Insted of a profound difference in how they view themselves, which is so personal, they may have a new appreciation for birds or something like that. That's cool and all but because it isn't really a change in self it isn't as intrinsically powerful.

We tend to teach natural history instead of environmental education. I'm proud of that fact but again, it is easier to see the change in an EE class versus a straight up natural history lesson. I think in truth the two can't be teased apart. I prefer coming at a subject from a natural history approach because I can get the group to fall in love with the subject and then they want to save it instead of telling them they are destroying something when they don't even care about it. If someone is falling in love with something that is a profound personal change that will affect their lives.

Bah. I need to examine all three parts of this but my brain isn't up to the task right now.

That and it is hard to affect change in the world when all of your programs get canceled because there isn't any snow.