Vision 20/20 is an exciting environmental learning program for grade eight students that combines adventure and fun in the natural world with interdisciplinary work back at school.
Examine your lifestyle and community from new environmental perspectives. Consider alternative possibilities for the future and begin to define your vision as a basis for making choices now. Get involved with hands-on cooperative learning at its best, beginning with an engaging and dramatic three-day residential camp experience. Back at school, follow-through with an Enviroquest that utilizes research and exploration activities in your community as a means to understand and apply ecological and sustainable development concepts to your life.
Vision 20/20 helps students to…
- Realize there are different ways to view the world with respect to lifestyles and visions of the future.
- Make positive choices to reduce their environmental impact based on their vision of the future.
- Understand and apply three basic ecological concepts to their lives.
- Explore and appreciate specific natural communities.
- Learn about positive environmental models, resource persons, and systems in their home communities.
- Take leadership in promoting positive environmental attitudes with peers.
- Gain specific skills in science, language, and social studies through a meaningful interdisciplinary learning process.
Vision 20/20 is challenging and dramatic…
…The spotlight in the hushed and blackened room falls upon a professorial character dressed in a dark suit as sharp synthesized music shatters the background, “Welcome to the year 2020, this is your world as you approach 40 years of age… one of the greatest disasters has been the rise in sea level over the past few years caused by global warming and the melting of polar ice. Since about the year 2005 there has been an increase in environmental refugees, millions of people have been forced out of their homelands due to environmental disasters”…
…The spotlight instantly shifts to a character in simple cotton clothes of earth tones, “Cut it out Doom, your vision is hysterical, you were hired by an educational cult to predict the apocalypse”… Soft harmonious music plays in the background, “Welcome to the year 2020, this is your world as you approach 35 years of age… There has been a small increase in global temperatures since the 1990s caused by pollution in the late 20th century, but the world ecological revolution that started slowly in the 1990s gathered momentum and brought sweeping changes in the first few years of the 21st century…”
… A narrator cuts in…What will it be like in the year 2020? We can speculate now, but the one sure thing is that the picture of the future will be determined by each of our choices now.
Vision 20/20 invites young people to begin to consider their vision of the future by participating in the intensive three day outdoor residential experience which is structured along three paths – exploring, questioning, choosing!
Vision 20/20 is Exploring…
…the wonder of the natural world around us and the feelings and ideas of the individual worlds within us.
The Exploring element of the program involves developing appreciation for the natural world through discovery activities and reflection in beautiful wild settings. They design an art gallery of natural objects and then participate in its formal opening. They explore special natural places in small groups and share their writings and descriptions of them with each other. They spend time alone each day with a personal journal in a “vision spot.”
Vision 20/20 is Questioning…
…how the ecological systems of the planet actually work and the role we as humans play in them.
The Questioning element involves the presentation of three major concepts from the field of ecology and questioning the relationship between human activities and these concepts as they govern natural systems. For example, at the “Pizza Parlour” students learn about the concept of energy flow by developing a detailed accounting system for where the energy comes from, and how much is required, to make a variety of pizzas. They then choose one for their supper. At the “Cycle Factory” they take on the role of assembly line workers propelling molecules through and enormous simulation of the air, water, and soil cycles. When pollutants threaten the cycles, participants must make difficult choices involving real consequences and sacrifices if they are to de-contaminate the systems.
Vision 20/20 is Choosing…
…the way in which we balance our personal needs with the need to live in harmony with the earth.
The Choosing element involves giving students a multitude of lifestyle choices within an energy based financial system that is in effect throughout the residential experience. They must choose how they will spend their “photons” (energy units) in order to obtain the food, water, and energy needed to sustain their lives across the three days. They can choose to be conserving or consumptive in their spending patterns (i.e., to use or not use an Ipod, to eat highly processed or basic foods), and their selections are followed by discussions of what they chose and why.
Vision 20/20 is Learning Close to Home…
A critical aspect of the program is the follow-through curriculum back at school which is set up by the three day experience. Each student takes on a major project in their own community which involves exploring (discovering and spending time in wild areas near home), questioning (applying ecological concepts in everyday settings) , and choosing (learning about positive environmental initiatives in their community and then making their own lifestyle choices). Students work on their projects with the assistance of a structured guidebook and their teachers. Activities are done individually or in small groups in the community while class time is used to share and reflect on what students have accomplished. They are asked to examine and understand their lifestyles and communities in terms of their vision of the future, and to consider what choices they want to make in their lives now.
Program Design and Leadership:
Vision 20/20 is coordinated and directed by Terri Peace through the HRM Adventure Earth Centre, working in partnership with Dr. Alan Warner, School of Recreation Management and Kinesiology, Acadia University, who is responsible for the program curriculum and staff training. The program approach and some of the activities are based on the work of the Institute for Earth Education, an international organization committed to developing earth education programming at all age levels.
Up to 60 Grade 8 students participate in each session of the program. The three-day outdoor experience takes place at Camp Mockingee outside of Windsor, Nova Scotia. The HRM Adventure Earth Centre provides trained adult leaders at a minimum of one to ten leader/student ratio in addition to the on-site coordinator, team leader, cook, and teachers and staff from the school accompanying the group. The recreation leaders have specific environmental education training and extensive experience working with young people in outdoor settings. Meals and accommodations are specifically designed to provide students with a range of choices about their lifestyle during the three-day residential experience.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Adventure Earth Centre.