The kids have just finished watching the final episode of the Brilliant BBC series Africa, hosted and narrated by David Attenborough. As we watch the last part of the last episode, Attenborough made a point about the importance of the wild places and the need for these to sustain the planet.
The series was predictably brilliant, and for those schools in New Zealand who subscribe to screenrights, you can record and use this legally in our classes.
But the point that Attenborough makes about the importance of preserving the wild places and their vital role in powering the planet is important, but unless you experience “the wild” then often this is a concept with out support and or experience. To be able to understand the beauty, scale, size, variety and critically importance of these wild places can only be touched on by documentaries like Africa. That is not to decry the brilliant cinematography, stunning vistas and awe inspiring settings. But the wild is not just visual, it is not just sound it is a holistic experience.
To gain an appreciation of the diversity and complexity of the outdoors, of the wild places, it is best to experience them, even if it is in a limited setting.
I am fortunate that my school takes all of our students out for an Outdoor education week, and we run outdoor education as a subject at senior levels. It encourages adventure sports, promotes the brilliant duke of Edinburgh scheme and happily supports the Roots and Shoots club based on the work by another legendary figure in Biology, Jane Goodall. Outdoor education is a medium for understanding, experience and developing a passion for the wilder places, and the need to conserve them for not just our future generations but for our very survival.
Outdoor education as a subject, and as an event is potentially one of the keys to our survival.