Connecting with Nature

Photo credit: TJ Watt (from DSF website)
Photo credit: TJ Watt (from DSF website)

When my friend Linda put me on to the UBC Faculty of Education, her contact referred me on to Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe. I emailed him, outlining my research plan idea – at the time, it was to take the book I’d just written and turn it into both a classroom and on-line course with an international field course component. He liked the idea, which prompted me to apply to his department, and launched an on-going correspondence leading up to being accepted as a Masters candidate in Educational Studies with a concentration in Adult Ed.

I didn’t really know at the time how fortunate I was to have landed in Rob’s corner. I was still somewhat the reluctant participant in this whole graduate degree idea. But I’ll never forget our first face-to-face meeting. I felt like the top of my head was going to blow off as Rob and I began to discuss the potential directions I could travel. That excitement has continued throughout my first two terms with Rob as my supervisor. I was also able to see him in action in a classroom when he was a guest speaker in one of my courses. He talked about the impact study he had done for the 2010 Olympic Games. He used a powerpoint as a backdrop, but the real power was in his passionate storytelling. The whole class was spellbound and engaged in the discussion.

This May I will be taking a course with Rob that involves attending an educational conference in Victoria. He’s also teaching another summer course that is ever so tempting. It’s called “Issues and Frameworks in Environmental Education” (EDST 451) and will be offered July 22 to Aug 9. Participants will work with the David Suzuki Foundation to align their new course “Connecting with Nature” with the BC Ministry of Education’s curriculum.

Rob’s courses always engage with the community in a really meaningful way. Wish I could take this one, but I’ve already got a full load this summer. If you have some time, I’d highly recommend it.

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