Green School and Kids in the Garden

By: Emma Gilberston, Deb Greiner, Antonella Bell

Let children get dirty? Run through a meadow? Hold leaches? Snowshoe at -20 degrees? Follow moose tracks through the forest? Yes to all and much more. The 100,000 children who have participated in Devonian Botanic Garden’s Green School and Kids in the Garden programs immerse themselves into the outdoors with either daily or week-long nature experiences called “slow education”. These formative nature experiences, once commonplace for rural kids, are now missing from city upbringings. Outdoor education professionals Deb Greiner (lead Green School teacher, BA Education), Emma Gilbertson (Program Director, MA Education) and Antonella Bell (Program creativity, Education PhD student) lead learning in the garden’s woodlands and wetlands. These innovative outdoor educators directly tackle Nature Deficit Disorder as well as teach public school teachers how to bring experiential education to classes. Since 1981 grades K-12 students have been outside getting dirty and loving it!