Kids Who Value Our Ecosystem

Submitted by Ashlee Kolar on Thu, 2017-07-13 00:00

How do you get kids to connect to our ecosystem and see the value of how we manage our environment?

While talking to my (almost) 5 year old about why she likes to be outside - her response was, "I like to swim in my pool and play on my swing set."

I think kids struggle with seeing the big picture.  I know she's not even in school yet, but she already knows that being outdoors and involved with an activity is fun.  I feel that we need to pursue this desire that kids have for connecting to "things" and angle it towards the overall picture that allows us those "things". Help them to understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how of our ecosystem.  They want to learn these things if we make it tangible for them to understand and bring it down to their level.  

My second question was, "Why do you enjoy the mountain?"  Her response, "Because I love the snow - it's fun to play in."  They need to realize how "fun" our ecosystem is and the effects that we can have (or not have) on the environment around us.  I feel that Adventure Learning has a vast variety of activities to bring things more down to a kid's level of learning, and in doing so, allow them to understand the entirety and importance of our ecosystem and how/why we need to protect it.


I agree with your idea that it is very difficult to get students to see the big picture. It's not just a problem with younger students. I teach high school students and have similar problems in getting students to understand the global scale of some of the issues we talked about.

If I had the money and I believe the code I would write a program that would be a new Oregon Trail. But instead of everybody dying of dysentery, we would be able to see the effects of environmental choices we made projected forward in the program. A Boise Watershed form of civilization where the way we utilize our Water Resources affects the different parts of the game in the different development do we have in different areas.

Emma Shannon's picture

Hi Ashlee!

As a new mother, I think of these things all the time.  Is my son going to like the outdoors? Why should he? What lessons did it teach me and how can I instill this appreciation in him? Or is it something one's born with? Eventhough he is only one year old, I make a conscience effor to get him outdoors as often as possible. By making these experiences fun for him, I hope he will grow to be an advocate for the wilderness as a young adult. It's a huge responsibility to teach a child the importance of our ecosystems.  I honestly think that parents and teachers (often without even meaning to) have such a powerful role as models and mentors when it comes to cultivating an appreciation for the outdoors in young people.  By simply taking our kids camping, hiking, and swimming we are showing them the value.  By the time my son is 5, I hope to have initiated many conversations about conservation, pollution, and how humans can affect the environment.  And I'm excited to raise him around many family members, friends, and teachers who are also passionate about the environment and will help foster a love of the outdoors.  Thanks for sharing what your daughter's thoughts! She sounds like a true outdoor enthusiast, already!