Brooke Erickson

An Eco-Adventure: Using Active Learning to Facilitate Naturalist-Health Connections

The environment plays a crucial role in physical and mental health. Education about the environment can lead people to have more positive ideas about it and therefore inspire them to increase their exposure to the natural world, allowing them to experience these positive benefits. EcoliteracySCHOOL (Students Collaborating in Health-Oriented Outdoor Learning) is a course that combines high school and college students in a mentorship program that facilitates learning about public health. To prepare my project, I reviewed relevant literature, created an active learning activity, and had both high school and college students complete this three-tiered scavenger hunt activity. The first step involved students in matching natural objects with descriptions that emphasize their environmental significance and connectedness, followed by a hands-on search for students to find these items. The final component allowed students to demonstrate their new understanding of environmental connectedness by incorporating these items into an illustration. This approach to teaching students about connections within the environment helps cultivate curiosity and creativity, inspiring them to engage more with the outside world.This engagement not only facilitates positive health benefits for these students, but these connections may also encourage them to learn about and participate in sustainability policies and actions, contributing to a collective effort of preserving and protecting the environment.