If there was ever any doubt that the wonder of the natural world was right under our feet and in our backyards, researchers who analyzed soil samples from New York’s Central Park found 80,000 unknown microbes in the mix! None of them harmful, just little tiny beings making the soil ecosystem healthy. And we had no idea until now. We know so little about our natural Earth. It is such an inspiration for learning as Richard Louv, Co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, author, and nature education activist explains in a recent blog post that new research is finding that learning outside of the classroom contributes greatly to peoples’ health and knowledge.
Emerging research, some of it specific to out-of-school learning, some of it to the impact of time spent in natural environments on cognitive functioning, support that contention. A 2009 report by the National Research Council, Learning Science in Informal Environments: Places, People and Pursuits, “describes a range of evidence demonstrating that even everyday experiences such as a walk in the park contribute to people’s knowledge and interest in science and the environment…” Researcher and educator David Sobel calls place-based education, whether in a local park or the surrounding community, “one of the knights in shining armor.” Students in such programs typically outperform their peers in traditional classrooms.”
As an homage to the wonder that is our Earth, please enjoy this amazing time-lapse video of lightning, an aurora, and a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station. The beauty will astound you and perhaps contemplating the mystery (as you step outside for a walk) will make you a little smarter.
The Dirt in Central Park Contains Thousands of Previously Undiscovered Microbes via Washington Post
This Time-Lapse Video Shows Lightning, an Aurora, and a Sunrise - From Space via Washington Post
Want Your Kids to Get into Harvard? Tell ‘Em to Go Outside via Children and Nature Network
Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson