Organization of Environmental Education Centers

ENED 3331 (2 cr.)

Fall 2007

Instructor contact information:  Tom Beery              

235 Engineering


Office Hours: M 1-3, W 9-11, F9-11

Course Description:

The name of the course should be broader; it should read Organization of Outdoor Education Centers, as this course will provide a broad overview of outdoor education delivery. The focus of the course is philosophy and organization of outdoor education centers as non-formal education providers. Both residential and non-residential centers including history, philosophy, management, and educational delivery relative to environmental literacy and other outcome goals will be studied.  The course is field-based, most of the study will be first hand in the form of visits to a number of regional OE centers; this will require a degree of schedule flexibility on certain Fridays.


The goal of this course is to provide exposure to the range of non-formal outdoor education in our region.  It is hoped that an increased awareness in non-formal environmental/outdoor education will help students considering their professional pathway.  It is hoped that this course will provide ideas for those of you already engaged in internship planning.


Course expectations:

  1. Attendance is required for this course.  It is your responsibility to contact another student for the material covered and/or assignments given in class when absent. Missed field trips will require a student to arrange a field site visit at another time.  All field trip schedule concerns will be considered and resolved with the instructor by September 14.
  2. Be prepared for class.  Have your readings completed before you come to class. 
  3. Actively participate in class.  By actively participating, you will get the most out of this course and help others learn from your experiences. When we visit OE facilities, it is essential that you actively interact with the professionals at the visit sites.
  4. Respect the formal learning environment.  This includes arriving and leaving on time, making sure cell phones are off, and being open to the opinions and ideas of others.  This also includes professional presentation of assignments and abiding by the University’s academic conduct policies.
  5. Please note, while field experiences are an essential component to the outdoor education we must acknowledge the inherent risk of field program participation. Leaving campus presents risk management concerns including transportation and field site based dangers.  In order to avoid problems and strengthen our risk management awareness, it is each student’s responsibility to behave in a manner that promotes personal and group safety while in the field.  Any questions, concerns, specific medical information, etc. should be directed to the instructor as a part of a shared effort to ensure a safe and optimal learning environment.



Date& Site




UMD Classroom, 1-3 PM





Course Introduction and scheduling


Defining the Outdoor Education Center—formal vs. nonformal 


History of the OEC


Current status/scope of the OEC in Minnesota/US

Camp Revival in Last Child In the Woods  (in class reading)



9/14, UMD Classroom, 1-3 PM



The Role of the Nature Center 


Preparing for HNC


Two important concepts in regards to the Outdoor Education Center Experience:  sustainability and environmental literacy

Read:  The Role of the Nature Center (website)


California Mission (hand-out)


Read: Ecoliteracy  (website) 


Hartley Park, picnic on Rock Knob at 12:00, 12-4 PM







Read:  Chapters 1-6. Most important ideas jigsaw


Read:  HNC Newsletter


Visit and review:  HNC website (their will be a quiz!)


Deep Portage Learning Center

6:30 AM-5:30 PM, meet in Library Circle at 6:30 AM


Deep Portage website and worksheet


1-2 PM check-in, SpHC 212

Follow-up and check-in



Soltreks @UMD, 1-4 PM

Therapeutic Outdoor Education

SolTreks website and worksheet


Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

6:30 AM-5:30 PM, meet in Library Circle at 6:30 AM

Residential EE

WRELC website and worksheet


UMD Classroom, 1-4 PM


Final exam


235 Engineering


Final assignment due

*If you cannot attend one of the scheduled field site visits, you may substitute one visit with a visit to another MN EEC/OEC site from the MOEA website.



1.      Hartley Observation

You are required to observe 2 classes/ public event at HNC. This is your opportunity to see the HNC program in action.  Interpret these visits!  Describe the event/class/program and further, using the HNC website and other literature you picked up at Hartley, describe how the event you observed fits into HNC’s  role in the Duluth community and HNC’s educational mission. You must include a minimum of two links to the stories/information provided in the Nature Center Book.  (Min. 3 page double-space.)

To observe at HNC:

Ø      Adults Night Out (one observation)—simply show up for the event.

Ø      School Program visit or Nature Nook pre-school programming (one observation) Call HNC at 724-6735 to schedule a Mon. or Tues. 10-11 AM N. N. or to inquire about school class times.


2.      Preparation Worksheets

You are required to complete a website review for four of the visit sites (HNC, Deep Portage, Soltreks and Wolf Ridge).  These reviews will help ensure that we are prepared to make informed use of our field site visits. The worksheets are on the website  and are due on the day of each trip.


3.      Final Project

After class on 9/15 you must choose a strand of outdoor education organization that is of particular interest to you.  You will develop your interest into a short research paper.  Consider the following topics related to the theme of Outdoor Education Organization:

·         Outdoor education and treatment centers for juvenile offenders

·         Where does hunting and fishing education fit within the scope of outdoor education? How do EECs incorporate these recreation areas?

·         Using outdoor education to teach cultural history—examples of Outdoor Education Centers efforts.

·         The use of adventure by residential outdoor education centers

·         Where does “sustainability education” fit into the organization of outdoor education centers?

·         Agriculture/farm education and outdoor education centers.

·         Your idea here:

 The final product will consist of a min. of 5 pages and will include a min. of 6 references (with a min. of 3 non-web based sources).




Plan your own visit to one of the MOEA listed Outdoor Education Centers in MN.  Create your own pre-trip worksheet and complete it PRIOR to your visit.  After your visit complete a three page essay including a recap of the visit and a reflection of the experience;  the essay will follow the basic experiential learning model:

Ø      DO—describe the visit, what did you see?  What did you do?

Ø      REFLECT—what do you think? Thoughts, feelings, questions, etc.

Ø      APPLYWhere does this center/program fit into the broad field of Outdoor education? How does this center/program apply to your professional path?


4.      Exam—a sort review of key topics and concepts from the course.



Participation—This course demands engagement! Attendance is required.  UMD class sessions missed will result in a ½ grade level drop.  Field site visit misses will result in an entire grade level drop; one field site alternative (make-up for a miss, can be arranged with instructor by 9/14). Use egradebook for current grade status information.  


Field site preparation worksheets             40 pts..

Hartley observation/paper                          50 pts.                       

Final paper                                                    50 pts.

Exam                                                              40 pts.

Total:                                                              180 pts.                                    


Grading Based on % of Possible Points:

92% - A          90% - A-

82% - B          80% - B-

72% - C          70% - C-

62% - D          52% - F


Note: Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this class, are encouraged to inform the instructor at the start of the quarter. Adaptations of methods, materials or testing procedures may be made as required to provide for more equitable participation.