UI Expanding Wilderness Education Program

by Brian Wilson
0 comment

The University of Iowa is expanding its wilderness education program to reach 45-hundred elementary school children this year, and it should bring the outdoor learning experience to more than six-thousand next year. Jay Gorsh, director of U-I School of the Wild, says the program is typically a five-day field trip that takes fourth, fifth and sixth graders out of the classroom and into the woods. Gorsh says it helps kids to develop a sense of awareness and appreciation for nature.

Part of the thrill, he says, is getting kids to try things they’ve never had the opportunity to do before or having what he calls a wildlife experience.

Kids today are being increasingly pushed indoors, he says, and too many of them know too little about the natural, wonderful world around us.

The U-I’s Wildlife Camps program started in 1991 and over time, morphed into becoming the School of the Wild. For many years, it was limited to the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area, but just before the pandemic, they experimented with taking the program on the road so students elsewhere in Iowa could learn about nature in their own areas.

The School of the Wild is working with 83 schools in 50 Iowa districts in 36 counties this year, and Gorsh says it’s been expanding by about 15-hundred students every year. For more information you can go online to www.wild.education.uiowa.edu/school-wild

You may also like