5 Reasons To Support Outdoor Education
While previous generations spent an average of 8 hours a week outdoors, kids today only spend about 4 hours a week outside. A more concerning statistic shows children spend anywhere from 6-10 hours a day in front of a screen—which some experts have claimed is negatively impacting mental health. The Escondido Creek Conservancy has been bringing local students into nature for the last ten years—often for the first time in their lives. Our programs are reaching more students than ever before, but with greater impact comes greater costs. We are launching the Escondido Creek Eichen Education Fund to sustain our educational programs and continue connecting students to nature for the following reasons.
1. Academic Performance
Providing outdoor education allows students to apply concepts learned in the classroom with community partners but that’s not all! One study compared test scores from California schools with and without outdoor education programs and found that students who learn outdoors score better across all subjects!
2. Health and Wellness
Outdoor education is not just about learning—it’s about wellbeing. Many studies have shown that healthy learning environments provide natural, open spaces for students to learn. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D for children which helps boost serotonin levels while nature has also been shown to lower stress hormones like cortisol.
3. Political Efficacy
Studies have shown that the best way to confront the helplessness and cynicism of political efficacy is with real-world application. Through our outdoor education programs, students have the opportunity to write letters and present their results to city councilmembers making them more confident in the political system.
4. Social Capital
The project-based learning opportunities in our environmental education program provide opportunities for civic engagement which helps foster social connectivity, trust, and volunteer involvement. These contribute to positive youth development by making students feel empowered by their community and more likely to believe that they can make a difference.
5. Environmental Values
Studies show that repeated exposure to nature increases positive environmental values towards nature. Which is why we’ve partnered with other local organizations to ensure environmental education is offered to all 3rd-7th graders in the Escondido Union School District—giving us generational hope for preserving our watershed in perpetuity!
How you can help!
Please consider a donation to the new Eichen Education Fund so we can continue supporting the bus rides, staff time, and materials to keep our education programs running!
Click Here To Donate
If you’re interested in volunteering for our field trips please email our Education Manager, Simon Breen; [email protected].