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“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

– Aldo Leopold in Foreword to Sand County Almanac


“Transfer is a highly problematic metaphor that reflects particular ways of understanding learning and what counts as knowledge…By locating learning in the practices of the day-to-day activities of the community there is little need to prove transfer occurs. Schooling becomes an extension, or complement to, the life of the broader community.” (Brown, 2011; pp. 153)

Brown, M. (2011). Transitions: A Changing Sense of Place. Chapter 7 in Wattchow, B. and Brown, M. A Pedagogy of Place. Pp.153. Monash University Press: Victoria, Australia.

“Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned. For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future.” (Dewey, 1938; pp. 48)

Dewey, J. (1938) Experience and Education. The Kappa Delta Pi Lecture Series. Free Press: New York.

“To increase your child’s safety, encourage more time outdoors, in nature. Natural play strengthens children’s self-confidence and arouses their senses–their awareness of the world and all that moves in it, seen and unseen.” (Louv, 2005; pp 186)

Louv, R. (2005) Last Child in the Woods. Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, NC. [Richard Louv is also founder of the Children and Nature Network, working to create or maintain natural experiences for youth across the globe].

Well-intentioned and arguably important efforts to engage students in learning about environmental and societal concerns in faraway places (e.g. melting arctic glaciers) can distract from students engaging in their local communities and the real environmental and societal issues there. A local approach to education that engages students in their local natural and social surroundings can have far greater educational value in that it promotes community outreach and service, the application of multiple disciplines, a global perspective of place-based knowledge, and experiential learning (Semken & Freeman, 2008).

Semken, S., Freeman, C. B., (2008) Sense of Place in the Practice and Assessment of Place-Based Science Teaching. Science Education 92(6).


NPR’s podcast series How To Raise A Human provides insight from researches on the realities of schooling and parenting.