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Exploring Nature's Classroom

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This presentation is on outdoor nature education. It includes techniques and tools which teachers could use to improve their classroom experience for their students.

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Exploring Nature's Classroom

  1. 1. MY INSPIRATION THIS PRESENTATION IS INSPIRED BY THE BOOK- LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS BY RICHARD LOUV “ I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are”- Fourth grader in San Diego
  2. 2. PLAY VIDEO CLIP
  3. 3. DEFINITIONS • Nature: The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. • Outdoors: Not part of man-made world but part of nature • Biophily : Humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life • Wilderness: An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region
  4. 4. “ ” We know things aren’t right when your only neighbhor is another human being and there is no tree, no bird, no butterfly in sight…all isn’t well around us anymore We know things aren’t right when the tree on your way to home gets axed, a bird home is destroyed and fishes die in a water body near you, yet we continue our life….like all is well…when it isn’t - SHUBHALAXMI SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH US
  5. 5. GIFTS OF NATURE Nature comes in many forms: A newborn calf; a pet that lives and dies; a worn path through the woods; a fort nested in stinging nettles, a damp. Mysterious edge of a vacant plot. Whatever shape nature takes, it offers each child an older, larger world separate from parents • Nature is a healer for child living in destructive family or neighbourhood • Nature inspires creativity a child by demanding visualization and the full use of senses • Nature can frighten a child, too, and this fright serves a purpose • In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace. Finally its only during childhood that a child could get smitten with the ‘nature bug’
  6. 6. WHERE ALL THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS ARE • THEN • NOW Nature was fun, adventurous, relaxing and bonding time Nature is unproductive, offlimits, alien, harmful and dangerous
  7. 7. GENERATION GAP FITTER GRAND PARENTS OVERWEIGHT GRAND CHILDREN Blame it on Nature Deficit Disorder
  8. 8. CONTAINERIZED KIDS OUTDOORS YET INDOORS COMFORT ZONE OF TV OUTDOORS YET NOT FREE Most kid-containerizing is done for safety concerns, but the long-term health of these children is compromised. Research shows physical restriction of childhood reduces the activity level in a toddler
  9. 9. BENEFITS OF BEING OUTDOORS • Direct exposure to nature is essential for physical and emotional health of a child. • Exposure to nature reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) • Improve child’s cognitive abilities and resistance to negative stresses and depression. • Supports creativity and problem solving • Improves academic performance • Increases physical activity • Improves nutrition • Improves eyesight • Improves social relations • Improves self-discipline
  10. 10. CONTACT WITH NATURE: SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR In number of urban regions humans and wild critters are coming in close contact in ways that have been unfamiliar to us. Leopard- the most tenacious cat refuses to leave its territory which it shares with city people.
  11. 11. SPEAKING TWO LANGUAGES • SPOKEN • UNSPOKEN Parents, educators, other adults, institutions- the culture itself- may say one thing to children about nature’s gifts, but so many of our actions and messages- especially the ones we cannot hear ourselves deliver- are different. And children hear very well.
  12. 12. CHILDREN NEED “VITAMIN G” • “Green environments are an essential component of a healthy human habitat” • Humans benefit from exposure to green environments (parks, forests, gardens, etc.) And conversely, people with less access to green places report more medical symptoms and poorer health overall. • “Vitamin G” (G for “green”) to capture nature’s role as a necessary ingredient for a healthy life. Evidence suggests that, like a vitamin, contact with nature and green environments is needed in frequent, regular doses.
  13. 13. WHERE TO START BOOKS Textbooks v/s Field guides and Encylopedias PLACES Classrooms v/s Gardens and Playgrounds ACTIVITIES Written/Reading Assignments v/s DIY Activities
  14. 14. FIELD GUIDES ENCYCLOPEDIA ACTIVITY BOOKS
  15. 15. DIGITAL RESOURCES
  16. 16. BRINGING NATURE TO SCHOOL
  17. 17. CREATING SOILED ENVIRONMENTS
  18. 18. Naturalize outdoor learning environments
  19. 19. CREATE GARDEN FOR WILDLIFE BUTTERFLY/BEE GARDEN POND ANIMAL SHELTERS/FEEDERS
  20. 20. ACTIVITIES NATURE TRAILS PROJECT WORK NATURE CAMPS
  21. 21. NATURE TRAILS • Find out nearest national park/wildlife reserve/wildlife sanctuary • Check out their educational tour plans • Find out nearest garden or public parks • Check their open and close timing • Survey for points of interests • Find out nearest nature education centre/natural history section of a museum • Check out their educational tours TIPS: Avoid taking tours to tourist place, crowded places and curated spaces
  22. 22. HOW TO MAKE A NATURE TRAIL • Components: Few trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers | pond | animal shelters/feeders | pile of rocks | vacant wild corner| weedy grassy patch • Identify point of interests e.g. tree, bird nest, pond insects, invasive species, insect homes so on • Make a pathway to ensure it passes through the point of interests • Make small signages for each point of interests • Research for information about each of point of interests and weave interesting stories around it. • Incorporate topics from syllabus such as adaptation, classification, soil erosion and so on. • Duration: 30 to 45 min. Best time: Early morning or late afternoon. Best season: Monsoon and Post Monsoon. Group size: upto 25 students. Age Group: All ages
  23. 23. MAKE A SCHOOL WILDLIFE CALENDAR • Make a poster calendar • Mark days with wildlife sightings from the school environment • Engage students in reporting on wildlife • Track the annual sightings and check whether you get repeat visitors • Publishing these findings on school website and social media accounts will generate good amount of interest in the community
  24. 24. PROJECT WORK PLANT-ANIMAL ASSOCIATION • Identifying plants and animals which interact with each other for food, shelter or protection • Analysing the interaction and categorizing them • Researching on the interaction and verifying the facts URBAN BIODIVERSITY • Recording sightings of plants and animals • Identifying them using reference books • Observing their behaviour • Recording seasonal changes ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CHECK UP • Making list of environmental parameters (abiotic/biotic) • Studying landuse patterns • Collecting climatic data • Collecting data on health issues • Understanding environmental literacy among the residents Duration: Mini. 3 months, Max. 1 year
  25. 25. NATURE DETECTIVE AGE OF A TREE BIRD NESTING MATERIAL BIRD FEEDER
  26. 26. NATURE CAMPS NATIONAL PARKS & SANCTUARIES • Find out nearest national park/wildlife reserve/wildlife sanctuary • Plan longer nature camps with help of local tour operator CAMPING SITES • Find out nearest camping site • Do safety check out • Plan overnight camps with help of campsite owner DAY NATURE CAMPS • Find out day camps being held within your region • Check out their offerings TIPS: Avoid taking tours to tourist place, crowded places and curated spaces
  27. 27. DESIGN YOUR OWN CAMP OBSERVE • Include 1-2 Nature trails during the day • Invite an expert to lead the trail • Keep field guides handy ENGAGE • Include 1-2 hands on activities during the day • Games, songs and skits • Organize more group activities REFLECT • Organize quiz, debates and competitions to reflect back on the learning from the camp • Make Camp diary
  28. 28. EMPOWERING TEACHERS PARTICIPATE IN NATURE WALKS/TALKS • Check out who conducts nature walks in your locality • Join these walks and get acquainted with like-minded people • Learn about experts leading these walks • Attend public lectures organized in your locality • Subscribe to their events JOIN FACEBOOK GROUPS • Indian Birds • Indian Trees • Butterfly India • Insect India • Wildflowers • FungiIndia • Reptiles and Amphibians BECOME A MEMBER • Become member of BNHS/WWF • Subscribe to wildlife magazines such as Santuary Asia, Saveus • Join citizen portals such as inaturalist, India Biodiversity Portal, ebirds and feed your wildlife sighting data to these global sites. • Take up to nature photography Passion for nature is an infectious dieseas- you could infect your students provided you have it
  29. 29. JOIN OUR ONLINE COURSES BIRDS FOR BEGINNERS GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE 3 Months Complete Online Designed for non-science people Graded Certificate Course KITCHEN GARDENING BOTANY FOR BEGINNERS BUGS FOR BEGINNERS GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE
  30. 30. Contact Dr. V. Shubhalaxmi iNaturewatch Foundation www.inaturewatch.org info@inaturewatch.org 9987013144 THANK YOU

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