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Creating Earth Adventures: Self-Guided Programs to Connect Children with Nature

Originally appears in the Summer 2009 issue

Providing children with opportunities to develop connections with nature is a task that grows in importance with each passing year. However, as governments, school boards and non-governmental organizations struggle with tight budgets, the resources to lead these programs can be jeopardized. After 15 years of programming at the Halifax Regional Adventure Earth Centre, we had reached our limit. Our staff could offer only so much and we were nowhere near satisfying the demand for our services. We tried new strategies for providing environmental education resources to teachers and parents: we recommended resource books describing engaging nature activities for children; we pointed to trail guides giving ideas on where to do these activities. Teachers and parents would nod at our recommendations, yet rarely did they pursue them. They simply did not have the expertise or the time to read the activity books, figure out what would work best with their groups, and then find the place to do the activities.

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Alan Warner teaches environmental education in the Recreation Management and Community Development Program at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.