Editor’s Note: It’s summertime, and the reading comes easy — at least that’s what four Eagle Rock School staff members will have you believe. Below, each of these educators highlights a favorite book or two and why he or she recommends that particular read. If a description strikes you as interesting, just click on the accompanying book cover to activate a link to the selection on Amazon. At that point, you can purchase the book and have it mailed to you or download it to a laptop or tablet. At the end of this post, we offer links to other blog posts containing previous book suggestions from our staff.
“For many years I was a self-appointed inspector of snow storms and rain storms” — Henry David Thoreau
This book does a phenomenal job of stating explicitly what educators generally intuitively know about the outdoors: It can foster creativity, help increase focus, and help us re-connect with our senses. In this book, a variety of studies are explored, displaying how exposure to the natural world can improve a student’s physical health, emotional health, and even reduce depression. Louv discusses practical ways to incorporate the natural world into the more “traditional” school setting and re-ignite a sense of wonder about the mysteries of the natural world. He concludes with the argument that if we are to save the natural world from human destruction, the decision-makers of tomorrow — that would be the students of today — must have an emotional and physical connection to the environment. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the benefits of incorporating more outdoor education in their instructional practice. — Recommended by Matt Bynum, Eagle Rock Outdoor Education Adjunct Instructional Specialist
The Adventure Gap — by James Edward Mills
Those who partake in human-powered outdoor recreation — as a whole, they do not reflect the evolving demographics of Americans. It is evident that many factors impact both access and feelings of inclusion. As James Edward Mills writes, “”Passion alone isn’t enough…Like the achievement gap that limits social mobility and access to higher education or better job prospects, the adventure gap is widened by limitations in financial resources.” In The Adventure Gap, Mills narrates the 2013 “Expedition Denali” trip that took nine African Americans to the tallest peak in North America. The book not only tells the story of these outdoor adventurers, but it highlights unknown African American history in the outdoors. It introduces us to Sophia Danenberg, the first African American woman to ascend Mount Everest, and Kai Lightner, an accomplished climber from North Carolina. This book is a stepping-stone to a larger discussion that we as outdoors enthusiasts, educators, and activists need to have. Although Mills states that the mountains do not discriminate, we live in a society where the Continue reading…