Nothing engages kids of all ages quite like outdoor education and experiential learning. Getting out into nature to touch, feel, and explore the natural resources of our beautiful province creates lasting impressions and reminds us all what we need to work to protect and cherish for future generations. But finding local experts to engage with educators and their students for specific experiential outdoor learning opportunities can be challenging and requires a lot of effort by teachers to put together an impactful field day. The BC Outdoor Experts group came together in 2021 in an effort to make it easier for teachers to locate and utilise the natural and human resources available to facilitate outdoor learning opportunities in your own backyard (or district). This online map tool was designed to culture location-based collaboration for outdoor exploration between educators, local environmental experts, and kids of all ages. With a focus on environmental sciences, conservation, and sustainability, the key component of this project is to connect places (of interest for outdoor learning) with people (local experts). Our objective is to really provide a sense of place and community ownership to local knowledge about unique ecosystems, and to sow some seeds for science based career paths through direct student/teacher engagement with local experts. This workshop will demonstrate how our online map tool is intended to be used by educators and to engage like-minded people on becoming contributor to the map platform to grow the network of outdoor place-based science and environmental learning opportunities in beautiful British Columbia.
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
I am an environmental researcher and educator with a Ph.D. in Earth System Sciences and a focus on creating new learning opportunities using new technologies like web-based and open-source mapping tools. My teaching experience ranges from university ecology field studies in ecologically unique places from the amazon rainforest to the Canadian Rockies, environmental GIS, all the way to primary and secondary school programs to engage kids with career applications of STEM educations. My co-presenter Rob Buchanan is a science and outdoor ed teacher at the Okanagan Academy of Inquiry and Adventure (sd22) in Vernon BC and has a long history of experiential and place-based learning.