Vital program

There has been a lot of publicity lately in The Northern Star devoted to the IBHE proposed cuts in educational programs around the state. Here at NIU, the publicity focuses primarily on the endangered law and clinical psychology programs.

While these programs are valuable, another program vital to everyone’s future is slipping through the fingers of the system without much of a whisper. I’m writing of the M.S.Ed. program in Outdoor Teacher Education, in part available because of our university’s dynamic assets at Lorado Taft.

Many people are unaware of the broad scope of outdoor education. It extends well beyond the boundaries of recreation-hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping, etc.—although these leisure activities are vital to a healthy life. Outdoor education spills over into environmental and conservation studies, direct experience education in biology, land and waste management, natural resource use, and continues into teaching English, anthropology, math skills, community awareness, and personal and interpersonal development.

With more leaders trained in direct experience and values education, with more environmentally and inter-culturally literate professionals instilling knowledge of like kind among our population, our nation’s need for lawyers and clinical psychologists would decline.

Megan Elliott

Graduate in Anthropology

and Outdoor Education