Camping to Foster Eco-Literacy
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Camping fosters Ecoliteracy for two main reasons:
Through the art of camping, you are fully immersed in nature &
you are partaking in an event that ensures everything you use to camp is found in nature.

The second you bring a class out to camp, they are being one with the earth, whether they choose to or not. The beautiful about camping is that kids always seem to love being out in nature, so on the front that every child is interested in nature, you won't have a problem getting kids out exploring. With such keen eyes, children love being outside, and camping just might be what the doctor ordered, to ensure kids stop using their cellphones 24/7.

Camping brings together a group of people as you are to work together while out in the wilderness. This brings about eco-literacy in the fact that you are firstly outside, and you are secondly embracing nature and all the ups and downs nature brings. You are learning to live a more sustainable life, with the help of some necessary essentials that will make your camping experiences even better.

Here are a few simple exercise to do while out camping with your class:
  • Once your tent is pitched, get students to sit around the fire and talk about how likely they would be to live a nomad life. Talk about how nomads survive from traveling to place to place, all the while trying to leave the smallest footprint on the earth.
  • Have a bonfire and go around and tell what everyones most unique camping experience was of the day and why.
  • Go fishing and berry hunting - teach students that if you plan on living out in the middle of nowhere, there are many times where you need to go looking near and far for food and water. Make a plan of action as to what plants you're looking for and if you like fish take to the water's edge and try and catch a few fish for dinner. This activity can be really fun, as it gets the students to see that when you don't have a fridge, your supplies are very limited as to what you can bring with you out in the wilderness.
  • Go on a nature hike through the terrain. Ask students to take photographs of some interesting plants or creatures they see hopping around. Then, once back at the campsite, get students to paint a picture as to what they saw using the photographs they took. (Of course, this entails you to bring paint and paper, but you can always just bring paint, and use pieces of bark to paint with instead of bring paper!)
  • Go on a canoe ride through the river, or better yet, go swimming! The beautiful thing about camping is that if the reception for your phones, iPads, etc. is lacking, there is the whole vast of nature that you have to admire and take in. Show your students that being outside really isn't all that bad!

Visit these various sites for more information on camping:
MEC's Camping Page: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/Learn/HikingAndCamping.jsp
Camping Destinations: http://www.accesscamping.com
Camping Ontario: http://www.campinginontario.ca
Checklist: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/Learn/Kids/TripChecklists/Camping.jsp

Camping Essentials:
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • A bag of charcoal and a spatula
  • Water (if camping close a lake this one could be omitted)
  • First aid kit
  • Flash light
  • Knife
  • Rain gear
  • Lantern
  • Organic and local food
  • Tarp

I feel camping should play a very important part of a child's growing up. It is these simple trips that leave lasting impressions. It would be nice to see camping become mandatory in the school system. I think the primary grades would be the most impressionable, as they might not have the deep thoughts on what is cool and what is not. For children that have a hard time focusing or behaving in the classroom, this can be an activity where they can excel. There is endless opportunities for getting out energy and many things you can chose to focus on. This is a great camping page, I love the links.