As Sarah outlined in her No Child Left Inside post, those of us here at the California Academy of Sciences are passionate about giving students the opportunity to connect with nature. Spending time in urban green spaces and local habitats can impact a student along all three “realms” of learning:
Cognitive: improving knowledge of the natural sciences,
Affective: creating positive emotional ties to the environment, and
Behavioral: inspiring actions to explore, explain, and protect the natural world.
Did I just throw our mission statement in there? Bonus points if you can spot it!
As such, we support students in discovering the outdoors. Why not make it interdisciplinary, integrating art with science? Then encourage your students to create works for the Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest!
Having inspired Canadian youth for almost a decade, the Get to Know contest has finally come to California. As of September 26, 2009, youth aged 18 or younger are invited to enter.
How does it work? Youth are encouraged to go outside to "get to know their wild neighbors, and then to share their experience with the world by creating an original work of art, photography, or writing" to enter in the contest. Outside can be one’s background, a neighborhood park, a hiking trail, or a local zoo, aquarium, or museum.
And with Forests as the theme for this year’s contest, students have endless options for exploration! Here are some links compiled by Nature in the City that might spark ideas for outdoor sites (but don’t forget the urban forest in your neighborhood, or that schoolyard garden!).
Assign a project this autumn, since all entries must be received by November 30, 2009.
Where did you bring your students? How did you frame the assignment? Tell us by leaving a comment!