How might we expose Garfield sixth graders to outdoor opportunities in Boise to foster a positive relationship with nature?
Field + Stone began with a team of students who desired to develop a service project that centered around nature. During their initial research, the team learned about Nature Deficit Disorder and were intrigued by its impact on humans. They also shared personal stories of how nature had positively influenced their own lives and had helped build relationships with family and friends. Other research consisted of talking to a local ESL teacher who has created outdoor programs for refugees, watching documentaries, and interviewing a sixth grade teacher about what role technology plays in his classroom. That same teacher then gave the team the opportunity to go into his class and discuss nature with his students. After empathizing with those students, the team learned that many choose to stay inside and watch TV or play video games. Some were involved in team sports, but many had never visited local natural sites right in Boise's backyard.
The team also learned that economic situations can play a role in the ability to experience natural spaces further from home. The student created the How Might We statement: HMW expose Garfield sixth graders to outdoor opportunities in the Boise community to foster a positive relationship with nature. Thus a project called Field + Stone was developed.
Field + Stone was a half-day event that brought together fifth and sixth graders from Garfield and Adams Elementary Schools out to East Boise’s Quarry View Park to provide them with a fun and thought-provoking experience in nature. The recipients played tag-inspired games like “Predator vs Prey” on the grass fields, teams raced to build the tallest tower out of natural materials, and student leaders taught lessons about “Leave No Trace” and local native history. At the end of a beautiful hike, the fifth and sixth graders were surprised to learn that they were spending time right in the area of a sacred Native American burial ground. The team challenged students to experience nature through all five senses with activities such as “walk like a fox” and finding the colors of rainbow in nature. Lastly, recipients experienced the thrill of learning how to use flint and steel to start their own campfire.
15 5th and 6th grade Garfield and Adams Elementary students participated in the event.
One participant said, “I liked nature before this, but now I love it.”
Recipients were given Bingo cards that had local nature activities in each space. When participants get five in a row they’ll send it to One Stone and receive a mystery prize from One Stone. The Bingo card will encourage students to continuing spending time in nature and engaging all five of their senses in nature.
In the words of the planning team:
“I loved playing outside with the kids, it made me realize how grateful I am for the opportunities I have to explore and experience nature.”
“The project was eye-opening. I saw how much fun it is to share my love of the outdoors.”
“It was incredible to create an experience for someone and see them gain a greater appreciation for nature and not want to leave!”