Fieldwork: An integral part of environmental education

“It is really, really important that citizens learn to value their environment and to understand the science behind the great ecological dilemmas which face us all… All these aspirations remain ‘pie in the sky’ unless every pupil has an entitlement to extend his or her study […] out of the classroom. It is in the field […] where acting locally becomes thinking globally.”

Professor Lord May of Oxford, Former President of the Royal Society

Stuart Nundy, an Outdoor Activities Officer based in Hampshire, UK, has spent a considerable portion of his professional career looking into the benefits of practical learning opportunities. His research summarised three key advantages:

  1. Fieldwork has a positive impact on long-term memory since the fieldwork setting itself is   engaging, and therefore memorable
  2. Residential experience encourages personal growth and greatly develops social skills
  3. Reinforcement between the affective and the cognitive is interconnected and interchangeable – each one influences the other and provides a solid platform for higher learning

Read on about work on this, with summaries and illustrations from Justin Dillon, on the value of fieldwork, and University of Exeter, at: Fieldwork: An integral part of environmental education.