National Geographic : 1994 Dec
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation Wilderness Comes to the School Yard W here is the wilderness? The 108 teachers who attended our Workshop on Wilder ness in Portland, Oregon, went in search of it last summer--and made some eye-opening discoveries in the process. Of course, in this magnificent corner of the country, they didn't have to travel too far from Portland to discover breathtaking natural areas. At Haystack Rock along Ore gon's rocky shore (above) teachers Eileen Anderson of Maine, Michael Papritz of Washington, and Marci Smith of Texas picked up ideas on how to make the most of hands-on outdoor projects with their students. In 12 whirlwind days the teachers also visited Mount St. Helens, and I was privileged to travel with them to Mount Hood. It was an unforgettable experi ence for the teachers, who came from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, D. C., and Canada. But as one of our co-directors, environmental consultant Jeff Harvey of Sacramento, California, observed, "When they get back to their classrooms, less than 10 per cent of these teachers will be able to get to a major wilderness area with their students." That's why we encouraged the group, especially the teachers from urban areas, to find the wilderness that is right under their noses. In Portland, a city of more than 400,000, the teachers visited For est Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, where they exchanged ideas on how to use their own local and state parks for teach ing geography. They also spent a fascinating day at the Bull Run watershed, source of Portland's LAURENGREENFIELD water supply and an example of tightly controlled land management. "Teachers anywhere can help their students see the importance of preserving natural systems," says Jeff. "Take a corner of the back yard or a small section of the school yard. Don't mow it for a while, and watch how an ecosystem develops and changes." The Society's Geography Educa tion Program sponsored the work shop through generous grants from the National Park Service, the Arthur Carhart National Wilder ness Training Center, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and Westvaco Corporation. Thanks to this pro gram and others like it, we're help ing teachers and their students find the wilderness--from their back yards to the outback. 'Z€>^^c 1i THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY EDUCATION FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1988 TO RAISE AND DISTRIBUTE FUNDS FOR EDUCATIONALAND SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS.