Who ever heard of using pine cones to study math? Or writing a short story from the perspective of a great blue heron? Or study the ecological, esthetic, or financial effects of a heavy rain storm at your favorite local park? Or learn what occurs all around you when you sit absolutely still for 15 minutes in a forest or prairie?
BYNC connects children and adults with the wonders of nature. One of the ways is with an emphasis on learning – the connection of awe with the intellect, the expanding of one’s horizons with new insights and the introduction of fresh cause-and-effect relationships, juxtaposing concepts with hard data from the senses to enhance critical thinking. The connections may take place in 3 ways:
See Site Resource Packets and Contact Us for information and questions regarding potential locations and learning opportunities.
Classroom Learning in Nature
No matter what the subject or what the grade level may be, there is an excellent chance that nature can be the vehicle for learning. And the learning experience can be an 1-hour event such as seeing, studying, and discussing the effects of a fire on a prairie/savannah site, or a 9-month longitudinal study such as the impact of removing buckthorn from an area of 10 square yards.
BYNC partners with local school teachers and curriculum specialists to design learning opportunities that take place in nature sites and that are relevant to the academic requirements of the classroom.
“Using the environment as an integrating context in school curriculum results in wide-ranging, positive effects on student learning … including: development of problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills; increased enthusiasm and engagement in learning.”
-Gerald Lieberman, Linda Hoody
Service learning integrates community service with instruction that enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility, and strengthens communities. It can be adapted to any age level, and implemented for individuals, groups, and school classrooms (as long as an instructional component exists). Service learning has three stages:
- Pre-service/planning – identifying the need, researching and identifying community resources, and developing a plan of action
- Action – the actual service, research, or advocacy
- Post-service – processing the experience and demonstrating it in a larger context.
Beyond the Classroom – learning and having fun in nature
For individuals and groups, there’s an excellent chance that BYNC can connect you and your inquiring mind to a resource person and nature site. Want to learn how to identify animals by their tracks? The ins and outs of fly fishing? Not only be able to tell one bird from another, but a red-tailed hawk from a Cooper’s hawk? To be able to identify trees from their bark and leaves, native flowers from their petals and colors? There is much to see, hear, and learn from a hike in the woods, a stroll in the park, or paddling on a lagoon.