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Outdoor Education Philosophies which emphasize Nature & the Environment

James Neill
Last updated:
24 Aug 2003


Some of the major wilderness-oriented philosophies in outdoor education to have emerged are:

  • Thomas James (1980/2000) (Can the Mountains Speak for Themselves?) at the Colorado Outward Bound School,

  • Colin Mortlock, including "edge adventure" and "spiritual aspects of wilderness" the UK,

  • Willi Unsoeld (1978/1999) through his mountaineering, Outward Bound, and Green Mountain College's outdoor program, emphasizes the sacred in nature, and the discovery of that sacredness via taking risks in the wilderness, and

  • Peter Martin, in the Department of Outdoor Education & Nature Tourism, LaTrobe University, Australia, recently completed his PhD in which he looks at how outdoor education can and should endeavor to facilitate participants' "friendship with nature", i.e., building of relationships between people and natural places.

  • Graham Ellis-Smith, trained originally as a park range in Australia, then developed a strong relationship with Aboriginal elders.  Graham conducts workshops and trainings to help school children, educators, and others, to "rediscover their indigenous heart".  Read "Ancient Land - Current Connections".