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How place-based education nurtures connection with nature

With its emphasis on learning through participation and immersion in local ecosystems, PBE and “two-eyed seeing” occupy an essential space in today’s curriculum. Teacher candidates in Professor Lewis’ course learned how the combined approach can make climate action personally relevant for themselves and for their future students.

“You know, you’ve been told this a thousand times, we’re in a climate crisis, things are bad, and we see that real life example of what decreased biodiversity means. There are global impacts to climate change, but this is happening in Ottawa, Ontario,” said a first-year student. “It’s not so far away. It’s happening here in my hometown.” 

Another mentioned how seeing the local impacts of climate change can be a wake-up call for youth. “We’re very clearly in a climate crisis right now and it’s more important than ever that people be educated about that. Our focus should be on the younger generation, just because they’re the ones who are going to be carrying this on,” they said.

“If they make that connection, and they see that impact, and they’re able to experience the beauty of nature firsthand, then I hope that they might be inspired to take care of the planet,” they added.

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