Updated: Sep 30, 2020
With the pandemic many people are finding themselves heading outdoors without any information or background in how to keep our natural places the same or better than they found it. This LNT Principle does a good job of going over guidelines when playing and staying in the outdoors. LNT #2- Hike and Camp on Durable Surfaces
We had to take some time going over the differences between durable surfaces versus non-durable surfaces. Some of the students were very surprised to hear that snow is actually a durable surface that is okay to hike and camp on (when safe of course). This is a big deal since our town is covered in snow for much of the year.
One big lesson for the day was distinguishing social trails from established trails. Our little state park has high traffic and there are many social trails that the students observed on our hike. In this photo below, students are putting some sticks on a trail to discourage people from hiking on it to get to a popular spot. We also used this as an opportunity to read and discuss different signs we saw in the park (which will be brought up again in a few weeks).
In school students get to have a few recesses and P.E. to help keep them active and engaged. During my outdoor days I make sure to have planned times where students get to play with one another though sometimes I plan a little structured activity that I know they will like. This week for their structure play time, I challenged them to create mini-shelters with a partner that could withstand different environmental elements. They were only able to use materials that were dead and down on the ground and had 20 minutes to complete their shelter. Students came up with ways to test different environmental elements such as using a water bottle (rain), shaking (earthquake), flapping my clipboard (high wind) or sprinkling duff on the shelter (debris falling from a tree). This activity provided time for students to move around, team-building since they had to work together and they practiced their presentation skills by sharing their shelter designs with the rest of the group. Plus the students were engineering their shelters by creating a design and testing them to make them better! It was a huge hit! My favorite part of this activity is the natural conversation that started during lunch because of shelter building. The weather was a little stormy feeling and we were talking about the importance of safe shelters when a student brought up lightning. I used this teachable moment to talk about lightning safety.
Below is a picture of a student moving a big log to create a lean-to style shelter.
If you have any questions about Leave No Trace, check out their website https://lnt.org/ . So many neat games and activities to do with your students!