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Ongoing Bagley Courses:
Outdoor Skills I
Biology and Society
UMD students at the Bagley Classroom
UMD's Bagley Classroom was recognized last spring for outstanding efforts by making a positive contribution to the community, taking advanced steps for reducing environmental impacts, and implementing the use of sustainable construction materials.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) selected the Bagley Classroom as one of the top ten examples of sustainable buildings in the United States. In September 2010, the Bagley Classroom was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum status. This is the first building in the University system to be certified by LEED at the platinum level and it joins four other UMD buildings with LEED certification.
The building is a model of ecological design and construction. Some of its distinct characteristics concern the environmental impact both during and after construction. Highlights of the structure include: minimal building footprint, protecting existing habitat, maximizing open space, dramatic reduction in water use, treatment of storm water run-off, composting toilets, passive solar winter heating, super-insulated airtight exterior, recycling of construction waste, and indoor air quality. The Superior hiking trail traces through the Bagley area, and several homestead ruins remind visitors of the rich cultural history of the locale.
The 55-acre Bagley Nature Area held its grand opening on June 22, 2010. Since then, three UMD anchor groups have utilized the space: the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP); the Department of Biology; and the Center for Environmental Education. The building draws in students who study geography, teacher education, outdoor management, art and drawing, recreational outdoor programs, and early childhood learning activities.
“This is a phenomenal place,” said Thomas Beery, UMD assistant professor for the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. “Students are proud to be a part of it. They consider it their own. It’s a classroom within an outdoor classroom that allows for experiential learning.”
There are several undergraduate options available in the context of outdoor and environmental learning at UMD. These major/minor programs prepare students for professional work in formal and nonformal education settings, with an emphasis on nature-based outdoor recreation, outdoor education methodology, and environmental education. All five programs offer opportunities for students to develop outdoor skills, theory/practice-based understanding, and an awareness of the value of outdoor and environmental education as part of healthy lifestyles and as an avenue for fostering environmental sustainability.
For students aiming to become licensed teachers, but have an interest in outdoor and environmental education, there are EE Concentrations available within the Teaching Earth and Space Science and Teaching Life Science Education Majors, and an OE Concentration within the Physical Education Major. For students majoring in fields other than these, there is a Minor in Recreation-Outdoor Education. And for students wishing to teach primarily in non-classroom settings, there is the Recreation-Outdoor Education Major.
"Students who are planning on careers with national parks and recreational organizations,” said Beery, “will greatly benefit with the Bagley classroom. It is an exceptional learning environment that combines traditional education with the outdoors. Prospective employers appreciate graduates who have had experience with incorporating the outdoors into teaching plans. Employers are also looking for graduates who have a skill set that includes environmental management beyond the textbook. UMD courses that include the Bagley classroom succeed in giving that to students before graduation.“
Written and Designed by Christiana Kapsner, October 2012
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