Building a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and understanding of the natural systems that sustain life on our planet, is vital to understanding how we can live within Earth's natural boundaries. Environmental education (EE) based field courses are an ideal way to deepen understanding of how air, water and land interact to support our planet's diverse lifeforms.
During the process of EE and field-based studies, students build ecological literacy, for example, learning to identify fauna and flora and participating in scientific inquiry by seeking answers to important ecological questions. Field courses typically form an essential component of most biology, geography, environmental science courses and related disiplines at both primary (elementary) and secondary school level and beyond.
Ecological Literacy and Scientific Understanding
There are many well-documented benefits of eco-based field learning. A good EE course facilitator or eco-field studies provider is able to create a suitable field course for any age and ability from primary (elementary) through to senior school, linking learner outcomes directly to the relavent curriculum.
Investigating natural systems through scientific inquiry is an essential skill for the 21st Century, as it forms the foundations of sustainability. In addition, EE and eco-based field studies link well to other educational disciplines, especially global citizenship education. However, the main difference is that the key focus of EE and related field courses is on the scientific aspects of Earth's natural systems and how this supports living things, rather than considering the wider interactions between the social, economic, political and environmental issues connected to sustainability.
A good understanding of ecology and our planet's life-giving systems is an essential pre-requisite for grasping multi-faceted sustainability issues and becoming informed global citizens, who are ready to take action and become the next generation of sustainability changemakers.
It takes time to build a child's knowledge of to the complexitiy and challenges presented by sustainability. Eco-literacy is a key part of that puzzle, and for the best outcomes, this process should begin in early years and feature prominently throughout compulsory learning in schools and educational institutions.
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