A Life-Shaping Week: The Outdoor Education Experience (page 2)

By — Nature Deficit Disorder Special Edition Contributor
Updated on Oct 25, 2010

Parents Can Help Bring Environmental Education to Schools

Unfortunately, American children spend more and more time indoors than ever before. At home they are enticed indoors by the lure of television or computer games, and they are kept inside out of concerns for their safety or the legitimate lack of accessible parks in their neighborhoods. At school children find limited opportunities for outdoor learning, while school field trips are reduced due to shrinking budgets.

Some school districts maintain their own residential environmental learning centers while others work with private facilities like Glen Helen. Despite the proven value of the Schoolcamp experience, most schools don’t participate in such programs. As parents, it can be our responsibility to be the “squeaky wheel” that pushes our kids’ schools to participate. Participation in programs like the Glen Helen Schoolcamp produces a lifetime of benefit for children and their communities.

An online directory of residential programs in the U.S. and Canada can be found at RainCloud Publications (

Nick Boutis is the Executive Director of the Glen Helen Ecology Institute in Yellow Springs, Ohio. A father of 3, he holds a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, and a Masters degree in Non-Profit Management from the University of Maryland. He began his career in environmental education in the naturalist training program of the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center. Additional experiences in environmental and conservation education include work at Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve, the National Audubon Society, and Population Connection. He is active in the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Association of Nature Center Administrators, and the Environmental Education Council of Ohio.

Beth Krisko is the Director of Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center, with a B.A. in Communication and Masters degree in Environmental Science from Miami University of Ohio. Beth began as an environmental educator in Alaska, but has spent most of her career teaching in the deciduous forests of Glen Helen. Beth’s credential as an Ohio licensed science teacher provides a foundation for advocating the importance of outdoor learning experiences for children.

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