Teach­ers grounded in out­door lessons

Hawke's Bay Today - - Local News -

EIT is teach­ing its teach­ers to use the out­doors to fur­ther their suc­cess.

In a week when EIT was an­nounced as a cor­po­rate guardian of the Hawke’s Bay Bio­di­ver­sity group, the ter­tiary in­sti­tute has brought to­gether en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tors from around the coun­try to ex­plore ways to in­cor­po­rate ed­u­ca­tion out­doors into an in­no­va­tive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

At an overnight hui held at Man­garara Eco Lodge in Patan­gata, Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay, 40 ed­u­ca­tors shared ideas on us­ing the out­doors as a teach­ing tool.

“We want to be sure that EIT stu­dents and prac­tis­ing teach­ers have the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to equip them with the tools, knowl­edge and con­fi­dence to in­cor­po­rate the use of out­door learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments into their teach­ing,” says Pro­fes­sor Natalie Waran, who is spear­head­ing the ini­tia­tive.

“Our over­all goal is to im­prove aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing of the en­vi­ron­ment across the whole com­mu­nity by pro­mot­ing the con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources, lead­ing to a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment and a bet­ter qual­ity of life.

“We see it is crit­i­cal for the whole com­mu­nity to un­der­stand the bio­di­ver­sity is­sues fac­ing our re­gion, and in fact, the world.”

Part­ner­ing EIT to or­gan­ise the work­shop were the Cape to City team from Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil and the Air New Zealand En­vi­ron­ment Trust.

The group was ad­dressed by Ruud Klein­paste, Air NZ En­vi­ron­ment Trust chair by video link. He spoke on the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing fu­ture ed­u­ca­tors who were confident and skilled in pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion in an out­door en­vi­ron­ment. He ac­knowl­edged EIT for tak­ing a lead­er­ship role in help­ing to achieve this in Hawke’s Bay.

The first day in­cluded dis­cus­sion and hands-on out­side learn­ing that saw the par­tic­i­pants get­ting dirty. “We were def­i­nitely walk­ing the talk,” says Waran.

Dame Anne Sal­mond, Pro­fes­sor in Ma¯ori and Pa­cific Stud­ies, from the Univer­sity of Auck­land in­tro­duced the work of Wild Lab. Sal­mond and her hus­band Jeremy founded the Waik­ereru Eco­sanc­tu­ary, a haven for rare and en­dan­gered species of na­tive birds, plants and an­i­mals in­land from Gis­borne city.

To­gether with Pe­ter and Ellen Jar­rat, award win­ning cre­atives, the Sal­monds have cre­ated Wild Lab where artist-sci­en­tists of all ages are in­volved in multi-sen­sory ac­tiv­i­ties and chal­lenges.

Other ses­sions were led by Pro­fes­sor Bron­wen Cowie, di­rec­tor of the Wilf Mal­colm In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tional Re­search at Waikato Univer­sity. She pre­sented na­tional and in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tives on us­ing the en­vi­ron­ment as a con­text for learn­ing with the aim of pro­vid­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional out­comes.

Es­ther Kirk, En­vi­ron­schools’ na­tional man­ager as­sisted by re­gional co-or­di­na­tor, Sally Chan­dler spoke on that or­gan­i­sa­tion’s kau­papa.

Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s North Is­land ed­u­ca­tion re­gional co­or­di­na­tor, Ben Moore­house out­lined the depart­ment’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion per­spec­tive.

, Man­garara Farm own­ers, Greg and Rachel Hart shared Man­garara Farm’s ap­proach to re­gen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture that em­braces con­nected land­scape and peo­ple.

Richard Ed­wards, an EIT teacher ed­u­ca­tor, gets hands-on learn­ing to teach out­doors.

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