Outdoor School, Environmental Education At It’s Best
For years I sensed something adversarial to my nature about education, especially environmental education and the training my children received in our public schools.
How well I remember this story. I’ve retold it so many times that it hasn’t faded over the years. Little did I know that the source of my adversarial feelings were associated with Agenda 21.
My now 30 year old son was in the sixth grade at a Vancouver Washington middle school. Outdoor school was soon coming and the plan was to stay a couple of nights at Skyliner Lodge just southwest of Bend on the way to Mt Bachelor. In anticipation of writing this post I asked my now 30 year old son what he remembered about the trip. He recalled being so excited to travel to central Oregon for an educational opportunity at Skyliner Lodge .
The trip would include two bus loads of sixth graders and several what seemed to be college students assigned to the group by OMSI for the most updated instruction in the out of doors. My now 30 year old sons mom and dad followed the group as chaperones.
The 150 mile trip made a rest stop at Smith Rocks State Park, not far from Terrebonne, Oregon. Everyone got to stretch and blow of some steam. I watched as the kids interacted and took in the majestics of the steep rocks and the Crooked River as it flowed between us and the Smith Rocks.
One of the boys was entertaining himself by throwing a few rocks into the Crooked River. That’s when the strangeness began.
An OMSI person, for lack of a better name, quickly scolded the youth for throwing the rocks by saying ” do you know what happens when you throw that rock into the water?. Now that question wasn’t leading down the path of the usual reasons why someone would tell you to stop throwing rocks.
For Students To Conform To The New Environmental Education You Need To Lie To Them
I had to laugh at the kids response to what he thought happened when the rock hit the water. He said “it makes a splash!” Boy was he wrong. I’m surprised she didn’t pull out the handcuffs. He was told he had just killed millions of micro organisms. You should have seen the puzzled look on the boys face.
He’d never even seen a real micro organism and now he’s a mass executioner. He could write a book about How Do You Kill 11 Million Micro Organisms.
Now back in the buses we headed to our environmental education summit and to the lodge where it gets better. Or should I say worse?
What a beautiful location. It was the perfect atmosphere for a good time. The perfect place for lessons on environmental education. We played games and took hikes. On one of the hikes we were walking down a gently sloped access road with a group of about 15 kids and an OMSI person. The weather was great. The kids were joking and enjoying each other. You know, kicking stones and making memories.
Environmental Education Teaches You How Natural Resources Are Preserved
But we got a lesson on kicking stones. You see, there was this rock on the edge of this access road, slightly buried in the dirt. Someone, we’ll never know who, overturned the rock so it kind of laid on the road. The OMSI person somehow saw through 30 legs walking down the road that another giant mishap had occurred.
“Who moved that rock” she blurted. Not a single volunteer came forth. “OK we’re not going anywhere until someone puts that rock back” was the next order. The group was silent. No confessions coming out of their lips. This was going on and on, the gestapo was loosing her grip. Finally a non guilty person put the rock back into it’s original holder (that’s another debate) and the walk continued on down the gentle slope. Our environmental education was coming to a close.
Never again could we enter the out of doors and enjoy the sheer God given beauty that we have been given. The fear of destroying our surroundings was exaggerated by our purveyors of environmental education.