Outdoor Classrooms Lead to Appreciation of the Environment
Marc Rogoff, Environmental Education Specialist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, sits down with Steve Adubato to discuss how he believes offering outdoor classrooms in all schools, regardless of location, will help students understand the importance of the environment.
"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. I want to introduce a very special guest, joining us for the first time, he is Marc Rogoff, who is Environmental Education Specialist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Marc we are, in fact, talking about outdoor classrooms, outdoor education, part of an ongoing program, a series we're doing, there's a panel discussion on this subject as well. Make sure you check it out. What is outdoor learning? Outdoor classrooms, or outdoor learning, basically, is just the way it sounds. It's taking the students and the activities that they may do in a classroom and taking it to an outdoor environment. For example? You can do a lot of different things just getting outdoors. You can do mathematics, English, science, basically it's... Back up. How do you do English out...? What's the difference between doing English outside? Inside? What's the difference? Well it depends on what the lesson is. I mean, it's a lot easier to perhaps write poetry about an environmental issue, or about a tree, if you're outside looking at one. It's interesting. I never even thought about that. The other thing I often think about is, what is the role...? I know the State Department of Education and their role when it comes to education. What is the Department of Environmental Protection's role in outdoor classrooms and education? Well, we actually have a small group of people in our department who specialize in education, and we have a lot of... the department covers a lot of issues. We have Fish & Wildlife, we have Parks and Forestry, we have things like the Site Remediation Program. So we are a regulatory agency. It means it cleans up, let's say... Yes. ...environmentally dangerous areas? Yes. We're a regulatory agency, and we deal with a lot of different issues, pollution, prevention, and the different Superfund sites. But where does this come in? Where does outdoor education come in? But but nobody can make an environmentally sound decision unless they are familiar with the issues, and have the knowledge to actually make that decision to be environmentally friendly. What I'm curious about is the actual... what does the department do to help these teachers facilitate these discussions? Alright. Well we have a lot of resources available to us. The state parks and natural wildlife areas are open to the public. Teachers can bring schools there. Many of the parks have a park naturalist that can do programs at the parks. What does that mean? What does that mean? A naturalist? A naturalist is a professional who is basically there to facilitate educational resources. They can do outdoor programs. They're not there..."