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Friday, October 12 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
A Return to Nature: Helping Young People Develop a “Sense of Wonder” with Their Environment

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Today young people live in a world where they do not spend much time outdoors anymore. They have many demands competing for their time and attention, and it is becoming more difficult to find “natural” places to enjoy. However, research shows that exposure to the natural environment helps young people improve their physical health, cognitive performance, and psychological well-being (Keniger et al, 2013; Bowler et al, 2010; Pretty, 2004; Wells, 2000). Since children and adolescents alike spend much of their time at school, educators play an important role in helping their young students regularly connect with the natural environment and benefit from its restorative effects. 
In this presentation, the presenter will briefly review the literature that explains how young people benefit from spending time outdoors. Then, the presenter will share a “Sense of Wonder” blog assignment that requires students to choose a different outdoor location each week, spend at least 30 minutes there, engage their senses and thoughts, and write about their experiences in a blog. 
The idea for this assignment is based on an award-winning piece in which ecologist and author Rachel Carson (1907-1964) wrote about a child’s “sense of wonder.” In the piece, she emphasized the importance of sharing “the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” This blog, then, is a way for children and adolescents to recapture and enliven their own inborn “sense of wonder” and share it with an audience. As a child, Rachel Carson spent a great deal of time outdoors, engaging her senses and learning about the natural world around her. As a child, she lived during a time when engagement with the outdoors was fairly easy and less uncomplicated. Our world today is drastically different. This assignment, therefore, is designed to help young people make time for the outdoors, rediscover the splendor of the natural world—wherever they can find it—and write descriptively about their “sense of wonder.”

Speakers
LV

Laura Vernon

Assistant Professor of Practice, Radford University


Friday October 12, 2018 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Salon C 2801 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24017

Attendees (2)