Seems like you can't recycle a magazine or a newspaper today that doesn't mention the environment or the "green" movement. Time, Newsweek -- even Sports Illustrated published a special issue this March on sports and global warming. And today you might have seen the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's feature on Islandwood, a Bainbridge Island outdoor camp.
Clearly green is the new black. And that might be a good thing for today's students, more and more of whom would rather hang out indoors or don't have a safe option outside. In his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, author Richard Louv details a whole generation of children for whom playing outside is neither an option nor an interest. Or both, in some cases. His premise is simple: children today have little free time, and what they do have is structured (piano lessons, little league, karate, etc.). As a result, kids are losing touch with the natural world - and the long-term effects could have big implications for us all.
If, indeed, green is the new black, then AWSP was wearing green long before it became fashionable. For decades, AWSP has provided elementary, middle and high schools students from all across the state with outdoor learning experiences at Cispus Outdoor Learning Center, and more recently at the new Chewelah Peak Learning Center near Spokane. At both centers, classroom teachers guide their students in lessons that apply traditional indoor lessons in the non-traditional outdoor classroom. For some kids, it's a better way to tackle issues like math and science. For others, it's more about connecting with each other and the world around them.
The cost? About $70 a student for a week's worth of bugs, trails, critters, mud and fun. And that learning stuff, too.
Note: If you are an AWSP member and are interested in reviewing this book for an upcoming issue of The Principal News magazine, please e-mail me.