Saturday, January 31, 2009

Teaching Natural History and the Spirit of Place

Fred Taylor and John Tallmadge have a new article in the Journal of Natural History Education on Teaching Natural History and the Spirit of Place. Using the field-based graduate seminar they teach as a case study, they explore the opportunities and rewards of teaching course to non-specialists that combines a literary and scientific perspective on what it means to understand and inhabit a place.

From their abstract ...

This paper describes the design and conduct of an interdisciplinary doctoral seminar on the spirit of place offered in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota to adult learners of the Union Institute Graduate School. Natural and human history were addressed through readings and class discussions combined with observations and excursions by canoe, simulating the experiences of early explorer-naturalists. Exercises in narrative and descriptive writing as well as reading the landscape and splitting the spruce roots used for bark canoe repair provided visceral appreciation of the unseen dimensions of the ecosystem and the literary achievements of the poets and writers discussed. This type of course can be easily tailored to fit different venues or clientele. Such approaches are timely as we intensify the search for a sustainable world.

Check it out.

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