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Outdoor Economy

Lessons from the Mountain: Outdoor Education for Entrepreneurs

Mountain Morgue

 

Lessons from the Mountain

One of the best places to contemplate is on top of a mountain.  There are so many things that can be learned and applied to one’s business and life from the process of climbing a mountain.  Those that hike with their mind open learn different things from the journey.  There are several schools and education programs that use outdoor skills to teach team building, leadership and life lessons.

Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from climbing a mountain.  About 7 years ago, I climbed Mount Whitney with Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen.  (Mark Victor Hansen is a speaker and famed co-creator of the “Chicken Soup for The Soul” series.  Robert Allen is a renowned author, entrepreneur and real estate guru).  We climbed together with a group of entrepreneurs on a trip organized by my friend Werner Berger, who is a business strategist who once broke the record as the oldest man to climb Mount Everest.  Our group had been watching Mark and Robert speak and teach from a stage over the prior weeks where they were very comfortable.   The hike to Mount Whitney was the first time we had the opportunity to interact in a situation where we all had to overcome challenges together in unfamiliar, treacherous territory.  We learned a lot about each of our strengths, limitations, and the value of teamwork.   It does not matter how much fame and fortune you have attained, when you are crossing a steep, snow covered slope that drops thousands of feet off a cliff, everyone is on the same playing field.  The view from the summit made it all worth it.

Robert Allen often uses his experience of a previous dangerous hike he had taken as a lesson to illustrate the following:

The best fishing holes are usually found in the most difficult to reach places. Those that do what it takes to make the trip and overcome adversary, reap the benefits.

A few lessons that I took from the experience of climbing Mount Whitney were:

Be prepared
It is easier to get somewhere if you know where you are going.  It is smart to study the terrain you will be hiking and get a rough idea of what you are in for.  Make sure you have the right supplies and are prepared for emergencies.  You should also have an idea of who you will be climbing with.  A plan can help you avoid some real problems and help you have a much more enjoyable experience.  If things don’t go according to the plan, be ready to improvise with good judgment.

Keep steady and be persistent
The secret for reaching new heights really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other.  Learn from those who have come before you to chart your course.  Then keep chugging along with dogged persistence.  If you work as a team, your strengths are multiplied.

Bring a good guide
A competent guide is invaluable to help you avoid the common pitfalls and danger zones.  They can help guide you through the rough areas of the hike and get you to the summit a lot easier than if you were to go it alone.   There are many people that are willing to share their experience.  It makes sense to listen to them.

Expect ups and downs
There may be some really steep, arduous cliffs to climb as well as some easy plateaus and dips.  The trail to the top is full of challenges.  Be prepared to meet each one.  Realize that it is all part of the process.  Each time you overcome a challenge, you emerge stronger, wiser, and closer to your goal.

Enjoy every part of the journey
The great beauty of the climb is all around you every step of the way.  Everywhere you look there is something fascinating.  All the ups and downs have something to teach you.  Don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way.

Take advantage of the opportunities to gain a new perspective
Each part of the journey offers a different perspective.  The terrain, plants, and wildlife often change during an ascent.  You will get to see a different part of the mountain and gain a new understanding if you take time to absorb it. Once you sit on top and look back down over the vast peaks, take time to contemplate what you have done and enjoy the moment.

The natural world has so much to teach us.  I hope you find strength and enlightenment climbing your own personal mountains and share your experiences to help others.

 

What is Environmental Education by Definition?

There are many definitions for environmental education depending on where you look.

Although definitions may vary, there seems to be some common agreements to what it is and what it should be.

Environmental education is often thought of when teaching about the environment and conservation.  Sometimes it is referred to as experiential learning outside and may include things like outdoor classrooms, outdoor adventures, and outdoor recreation.  It also often refers to learning about natural processes in the classroom.

This video is a compilation of various definitions of environmental education from some leading organizations and authorities.

 

What is your definition for environmental education?

Please leave it in the comment box below.

Environmental Education: Benefits to the Economy & Human Health

outdoor environmental educationWhat do Ben Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, Beethoven, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Mozart, John Frost, Henry David Thoroeu, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Albert Einstien, Carl Linnaeus, Copernicus, The Wright Brothers, Charles Darwin, Vincent Van Gough, and many other great men and women of art and science have in common?

They were all influenced by nature and created some of their greatest accomplishments by observing it and learning from it.

As our plugged-in lifestyles cause us to spend less and less time outdoors, what is being lost as we become more and more disconnected with the outside world?

The sedentary lifestyle spent in front of screens has led to a dramatic increase in obesity and other health related issues.

The resources below show how Environmental Education can help both children and the economy.

Why Environmental Education is Important
[ForestFoundation.org]

Today we are seeing a drastic change as people spend more time indoors in-front of screens and less time exploring the world around them. This generation has been growing up indoors and disconnected.

According a worldwide study in 2005, %53 of children expressed feelings of fear about natural processes such as rain, wind and snow.

This movement indoors is not benign; there are costs to the health of our children: attention difficulties, hyperactivity, childhood obesity, diminished use of senses, disconnect from things that are real.

Additionally, if children are detached from nature, how will they learn about, understand, and value nature? How will the next generation care about the land and be stewards of its resources?

What is the cost to society?

Cost of Obesity:
[GetAmericaFit.org]

According to a study of national costs attributed to both overweight
(BMI 25–29.9) and obesity (BMI greater than 30), medical expenses
accounted for 9.1 percent of total U.S. medical expenditures in 1998
and may have reached as high as $78.5 billion ($92.6 billion in 2002 dollars)(Finkelstein, Fiebelkorn, and Wang, 2003).

Approximately half of these costs were paid by Medicaid and Medicare.

Cost of ADHD
[Center for Disease Control & Prevention]

Rising hyperactivity and and attention deficit causes significant burden on the medical and healthcare system. The cost of ADHD is estimated to be between $36 and $52 billion, and is estimated to be between $12,005 and $17,458 annually per individual.

This does not mention the stress on parents, teachers, and the students own self esteem and achievement

Cost of Disconnection to Nature
[Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching]

53% of children in a worldwide study expressed feelings of fear about natural processes such as rain, wind and snow. Schoolyard design also reflects a lack of understanding of how quality outdoor play environments can provide children rich educational opportunities, particularly in the area of social skills and environmental learning (Evan 1997)

Environmental Education can be a solution to these issues.
[Campaign for Environmental Literacy]

Environmental education increases student engagement, improves academic achievement in core areas, reduces discipline and classroom management problems, increases enthusiasm for learning, creates greater student pride and ownership in accomplishments, and provides critical tools for 21st century workforce.

This has been proven to be true for students with and without learning disabilities.

Children and families with opportunities to play outside in natural areas and explore their environment have been found to develop a deeper sense of place and understanding of who and what they are.

Families that understand the benefits of outdoor play are looking for ways to allow their children time outside in a safe learning environment.

Now that we know environmental education can directly and indirectly add social and economical value, how do we go about implementing strategies to ensure that our communities have access?

What is Environmental Education?

image of environmental educationThere are various opinions on how to define environmental education.

The following are a few examples:

“Environmental education is aimed at producing a citizenry that is knowledgeable concerning the biophysical environment and its associated problems, aware of how to help solve the problems, and motivated to work toward their solution” – (NAAEE)

“… the process of recognizing values and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among men, his culture and his biophysical surroundings. EE also entails practice in decision-making and self-formulation of a code of behaviour about issues concerning environmental quality. – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN; 1971)

Environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues or problems. In doing so, it provides the public with the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action. Education.com

Environmental education teaches students about how the planet’s physical and biological systems work, and how we can create a more sustainable future. Ontario Ministry of Education

Environmental education is a process by which people develop awareness, concern and knowledge of the environment… and learn to use this understanding to preserve, conserve and utilize the environment in a sustainable manner for the benefit of present and future generations.
Environmental Management Bureau-DENR

It’s how we help people – of all ages – learn about environmental issues, either as part of their general curriculum based learning, or through specific activities.
Manchester City Council Environmental Services

Environmental education is the study of the relationships and interactions between dynamic natural and human systems.

What is your definition for environmental education?

Resource Guide – Environmental Education


INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION:
| Environmental Education |


There has been a lot of research that has been done recently about the disconnect that the young generations of developed countries have with the natural environment. There is a growing demand for environmental education by teachers, parents, and governments.

This creates a great opportunity for the purpose driven entrepreneur to build collaborations with environmental education providers and create programs to broaden their reach.

Definition:
Environmental education (EE) refers to organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_education]

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESOURCES

What is Environmental Education?

Additional Articles:

  • Ahlberg, M. Environmental Education.
  • Disinger, J. (1985). Environmental education’s definitional problem.School Science and Mathematics, 85(11), 29-68.
  • Lucas, A. (1972). Environment and environmental education: Conceptual issues and curriculum implications. Unpublished doctoral Dissertation. The Ohio State University.
  • Lucas, A. (1979). Environment and environmental education: Conceptual issues and curriculum implications. Melbourne: Australian International Press & Publications.
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