The official publication of the New York State Outdoor Education Association Spring 2003
Professional Development Though Literature
By: Dan Kriesburg There are many ways to take time for professional development. One simple and effective way is to read. There are many reasons to read: new thoughts, interesting facts, support for your ideas, challenges to your ideas, inspiration and of course pleasure. In our busy lives it is easy to say “I have no time to read”. Just because you do not have lots of time to read doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read; remember ten minutes of reading a day is better than zero minutes a day. In most elementary schools there are times each week called DEAR. Sometimes it is called other names but the idea is the same. DEAR means Drop Everything and Read. In the schools that do it best everyone, teachers, students, administrators even custodians drop everything and read. Try it sometime in your personal life or with your staff. Don’t worry everything will still get done. Here are a few books that I have read over the past couple of years that I have found worthwhile. They sould get you thinking about what we teach, who we teach and how we teach in this day and age. These writers focus on the special years of middle childhood, ages 6-12 when connecting with nature is most likely to occur. The Geography of Childhood, Why Children Need Wild Places by Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble. Beacon Press, 1994 A wonderful book that speaks to the need for children to have time in the outdoors to play, explore and come in contact with nature on their own terms. Traces of an Omnivore by Paul Shepard. Island Press 1996 These powerful essays by a provocative thinker will get you thinking about humans and their inherited connection to the natural world. Beyond Ecophobia, Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel Orion Society 1996. A short but powerful book that may change the way you teach. It acts as a reminder of the importance of teaching children about the environment not by scaring them with all the problems, but by connecting them to nature exploring and direct contact. Noah’s Children, Restoring the Ecology of Childhood, by Sara Stein North Point Press, 2001 Like The Geography of Childhood Sara Stein’s book discusses the need for children to have opportunities to be in the outdoors. She also demonstrates the loss to children who do not have these opportunities. These are books that provide both inspiration, facts and skills to becoming more aware of the natural world. Seeing Nature by Paul Krafel. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1999 Paul Krafel’s observations will help you look at the world in a different way. His writing will help you to see the fit between various aspects of the natural world. His story will remind you of the impact simple actions can have.
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NYSOEA Executive Board
President Foster Portzline VP Administration Kathy Ambrosini VP Communication MaryLynne Malone VP Human Resources Tom Vitti VP Program Vacant Secretary Sue Williams Treasurer Sharon Kennelty-Cohen Regional Directors Jim D'Angelo, Central Frank Benenati, Central Tara Feeney, Eastern Elaine Young, Metro Jack Sheltmire, Northern Mary Anna Russo, Western 2003 Conference Committee Chairs John Stowell Tom Smith Office Services George Steele
418 Merry Road, Amsterdam, NY 12010 518-842-0501 Office 518-842-1646 Fax E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message From the President Spring….. In My Neck of the Woods
The days have inched longer and begun to warm. Trees are budding, and red maples are dropping their blossoms. In neighboring ponds, trilling toads have joined a chorus of spring peepers. Woodpeckers are tapping out their territories. It’s hard to miss the goldfinches, decked out in their finest feathers, and we’ve watched bluebirds and chickadees “square off” on claims to nesting boxes. A pair of red–shouldered hawks keep everyone on their toes as they patrol THEIR neck of the woods. One more sign of spring bursting forth, is the bustling activity of Outdoor Educators everywhere! Not that this last group has been dormant, but the lengthened days of spring usually mean the lengthened day, and heightened pace of the Outdoor Educator. As you try to fit everything into your busy schedule, I would like to wish you good luck with your plans for the spring. May you make a positive, lasting influence on those you teach. Take some time (if you can) to enjoy the changes in nature this time of year. Outdoor Educators strive to make a difference in the way people view our world. NYSOEA is as strong as the contributions volunteered by its membership. If you haven’t already done so, why not plan on ways you can share some of your time and skills to support this great cause. Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and have a wonderful spring!!!
pathways (ISSN 1077-5110) is published
four times a year by the New York State Outdoor Education Association and is mailed to NYSOEA members. Opinions expressed by contributors are theirs solely and not necessarily those of the Editorial Board of pathways or of NYSOEA. Advertisements included in pathways should not be interpreted as endorsement of the product(s) by NYSOEA.
Anyone interested in contributing to pathways is encouraged to submit material to the NYSOEA pathways c/o MaryLynne Malone, P.O. Box 39, Southfields, NY 10975 or E-mail: email@example.com. Materials should be typed. Please include a short biographical section about the author of the article. References cited in the article should be listed at the end of the article, APA style.
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pathways welcomes advertisements which will be of interest to the membership of NYSOEA. If you have a product, service, equipment, resources, programs, etc. that you would like to share with our membership via an advertisement, please contact MaryLynne Malone (914) 351-2967.
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Sand Company Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold. Oxford University Press ,1949 This classic is a must read over and over again. Leopold descriptions of a year on his land in Wisconsin will inspire you to pay attention and appreciate the place in which you life. Even though the essays are over 50 years old, the need for a new set of ethics proposed by Leopold still requires our efforts to become the standard we live by. Reading the Landscape by Tom Wessels Countryman Press, 1997. A beautifully written and illustrated book that will change the way you look at the land. Each chapter helps you to see the history of the land by the trees, stones, fields and wetlands. Even though it is written for southern New England, the message applies to New York. Once on a trip to Canyon de Chelly our Navajo guide teased all us tourists about our desire to adopt Native American values towards the environment. Why don’t you learn about your own religion she asked. I took her advice and found that there is much to learn and a message to guide us in both Judaism and Christianity (haven’t done the reading but I am sure there is much to learn in other religious traditions as well). Embracing the Earth, Catholic Approaches to Ecology edited by Albert J LaChance and John E. Carrol. Orbis Books, 1994. This collection of essays exploring the Christian view of nature and the human place in it. Ecology and the Jewish Spirit, Where Nature and the Sacred Meet edited by Ellen Berbstein. Jewish Lights Publishing, 1998. This collection of essays explores the wisdom of Jewish teachings on nature that help to make our lives fuller. The book offers many ideas for ways to incorporate Jewish traditions in a more ecologically aware lifestyle.
Summer 2003 Courses Offered at SUNY Cortland Outdoor Education Centers Raquette Lake
55th Annual NYS Conservation Education Workshop. Two college
graduate credits are available through the Education Department at SUNY Cortland as an independent study, July 20-26, 2003 at the Antlers facility. For further information contact Linda Coffin at (315) 894-33022.
Environmental Approach to K-8 Learning Standards. Three
graduate credit hour course, July 20-25, 2003 at Huntington Camp. B. Klein, K. Klein, T. Slekar, instructors. Fungi of the Adirondacks. Three graduate credit hour course, July 19 - August 1, 2003 at Huntington Camp. T. Baroni, instructor. For more information regarding the SUNY courses, please call (607) 753-2011. Connie Elliot, Secretary Center for Environmental & Outdoor Education SUNY Cortland, 230 Miller Building PO Box 2000 Cortland, NY 13045 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (607) 753-5488
Outdoor Education: One College’s Approach
by Snapper Petta Director College Outdoor Programs - SUNY Oneonta Members of the NYSOEA realize that outdoor education comes in many forms. At the College at Oneonta, part of the State University of NY system, students have many opportunities to be involved in the out-of-doors during their academic career. While some classes offer field experiences, it is through the student development program that the majority of outdoor opportunities exist. As the director of college outdoor programs, it is my responsibility to ensure that our students’ needs are met in this area. Currently we offer three outdoor programs that are open to the entire student community throughout some part of their college career. The oldest established portion of our program is the Oneonta Outing Club. The club has been in continuous operation since the early 1950s and is an important part of the campus’ extracurricular program. With my arrival in 1980 the program has striven to offer at least one trip each weekend when classes are in session. Typical weekend fare includes day hikes in the Catskills, paddling trips on local waterways, horseback riding, rock climbing, the occasional caving trip, whale watching and, during the winter months, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. When our breaks arrive students have had the opportunity to go on extended journeys to sea kayak along the coastal waters of Maine and South Carolina, canoe camp in the Adirondacks and the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge of Georgia and to backpack in either the Catskill or Adirondack mountain ranges of NY. While outdoor adventure is the focus of the program, it’s not the only avenue open to our students. Participants are encouraged to take on a variety of leadership roles within the club. Some of our 4 students agree to the formal responsibility of being a guide on trips. This position requires them to be trained in first aid & CPR as well as taking on the additional responsibility for planning emergency evacuation plans pertinent to the trip they’ll be assisting on. Other students involve themselves in the club’s Executive Board where all the programming and financial decisions are made. They may also be involved in working in the Outdoor Resource Center, the campus’ outdoor program headquarters, or running our equipment rental service. Whatever it is they chose to take on, these students can expand upon their educational opportunities at the college via their activity with the club. The second outdoor adventure option open to Oneonta students is our residential program known as OWLS. An acronym for Oneonta’s Wilderness Living/Learning Section, this program was started nine years ago. Headquartered in the same building as the Outdoor Resource Center, students who choose to live in this special interest housing option do more than just avail themselves of the activities already mentioned. These members of our program have also agreed to take on the maintenance of two lean-tos in the Catskill mountains. In conjunction with the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the NY-NJ Trail Conference’s “Adopt a Leanto” program, visits are made twice yearly to the Biscuit Brook and Shandaken structures to check on their overall condition. Students clean the fireplaces found at each site, collect wood, pick up litter, clean the roofs of debris, remove leaves from water sources and generally tidy up each area. A visual inspection of each lean-to is made and, where appropriate, outhouses are also
checked. After each visit a written report is filed with the Trail Conference. Through their efforts these students are adding to the outdoor adventure enjoyment of the many people who use these facilities throughout the year. Our last adventure education program is held each August and is open to incoming students. In cooperation with the college’s Academic Advisement & Orientation office, Outdoor Connections is an optional orientation offering. Held the week prior to the beginning of classes, this program offers backpacking, canoeing and kayak touring trips led by faculty, staff, alumni and upper level students. The program is designed to enhance outdoor leadership and decision making skills in each participant while easing their transition into college. The four day trips emphasize group cooperation and support while also challenging each person to move beyond their own self perceived limits. In the two short years of the program’s existence we’ve found this to be a wonderful way for our students to begin their college career. Though involvement in the college’s outdoor adventure program isn’t a mandatory requirement for graduation, the students who do take advantage of our program are consistently learning new skills. While discovering how to minimize their impact on the environment, they are also experiencing the benefits of hands-on learning while maximizing their personal growth.
A New Way to Bird
A great new teacher tool & family bird activity The Taconic Outdoor Education Center has created a unique tool to help teach birding skills to children and adults. All About Birds solves the one big challenge faced by all educators – how to identify moving birds using binoculars. The colorful, weather and fade resistant, life sized birds can be placed outdoors in their natural environment. Without needing to focus on moving targets, students easily learn how to use binoculars. Both student and teacher can observe a chickadee, cardinal and woodpecker side by side. The teacher can help everyone compare and contrast the species, and assist the students in referring to a field guide to practice identifying birds. The supporting curriculum and field guide is an excellent resource. It allows the teacher to focus on content information and related observation. It insures success for all age levels. All About Birds includes a 28 page curriculum activity guide, Peterson First Guide and 12 color life sized birds. For further information, contact the Taconic Outdoor Education Center at 75 Mountain Laurel Lane, Cold Spring, NY 10516 (845)265-3773.
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Exploring The Five Stages of Group Formation Using Adventure-Based Activities
By: Dr. Jim Cain, Teamwork & Teamplay During a summer long experience of working and playing together as part of your summer camp or recreation program, your summer camp staff often works through most, if not all, of the stages of group formation, commonly referred to as forming, storming, norming, performing and finally, transforming. While entire graduate dissertations, college and management classes and seminars, and numerous journal articles have been written on this subject, this brief article opens the door to explaining and experiencing these stages of group formation for your upcoming camping season. This brief introduction to the stages of group formation are suitable for a session during your camp staff training. Additional resources and references are provided at the end of the article for those interested in a more detailed explanation of these stages, and techniques for exploring them with your summer camp staff. Activities for the Forming Stage - Get acquainted activities and ice breakers, these are done to form the atmosphere of safety and acceptance. There are a few more activities in this stage, because it is imThe Forming Stage - portant to build a strong foundation, This is the polite, opening, get ac- if the rest of the stages are to be sucquainted, ice breaking stage of cessfully encountered. group formation. This process begins as the first staff members ar- Believe it or Knot Thanks to Mike Anderson rive at camp and begin moving in. of Learning Works for this excellent The opening dinner, the general welcome comments from the director, get acquainted activity that is a the camp orientation session, and variation of Two Truths and a Lie. even the first evening discussions With the entire group holding a Racand conversations prior to turning coon Circle (a 15 foot long section out the lights, are all part of the of tubular climbing webbing tied forming stage. At this point, mem- with a knot), the knot is used as a bers of the group are just trying to pointer to identify the person talkidentify who’s who, and possibly ing. Begin by passing the knot to where they fit into that plan. This the right around the group. Somestage includes forming an atmo- one says "right there!" the knot sphere of safety and acceptance, stops, and the person nearest it has avoiding controversy, and is filled the opportunity to disclose some inwith guidance and direction from teresting fact about themselves, such as, “I have seen three movies the director or camp leader. this week!” It is now the discussion and responsibility of the rest of the participants to decide whether The stages of group development come from research by Tuckman they believe that this information is and Jenson. For more information about this work, review the true or false. After some discussion, following articles: the group gives their opinion of the Tuckman, B., 1965, Developmental sequence of small validity or falseness of the disclogroups, Psychological Bulletin, 63, p38 399. sure, and the person providing the Tuckman, B. & Jenson, M., 1977, Stages of small group developcomment can tell the real story. This ment revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 2, p419-427. single comment version of Two You can find additional information related to group forTruths and a Lie, proceeds a bit mation and learning in the Johnson and Johnson book, Joining more quickly for each person than Together, page 469. the full blown version. Use either, 6 Consider the five stages of group formation shown above, and let’s consider how a typical summer camp staff might progress through these stages.
as time permits. After a person has revealed the true nature of their comments (true or false), they say “left” or “right” and then “right there!”, and a new person has the opportunity to disclose something to the group. The level of disclosure to the group is often a measure of the closeness, unity and respect within the group. For example, a disclosure such as, “I have traveled to another country,” is a lower level of disclosure than “I have some a family member that is in trouble with the law.” Depending on the group setting, and the purpose of this activity for your group, different levels of information or disclosure are appropriate. As the group becomes more unified, this activity can bring out greater disclosure between members of the group, family members, members of a team, etc.
same author. After identifying three attributes that they have in common, these two partners raise their hands, and find another group of two ready to form a group of four. Now the challenge is to identify 2 items that they have in common. Again, look deep, and no fair using any of the attributes already identified. Finally, after this group of four finds out what they have in common, they raise their hands and join another group of four, for a total of eight, now standing inside one of the Raccoon Circles spread around on the floor. The goal for these eight is to find ONE event, interest or activity that they have in common. Have each of these groups of eight tell the other groups what they have in common. Again, the more unique and unusual, the better (or at least the more interesting!)
Begin with partners for this activity. This conversational activity has the goal of identifying unique and sometimes unusual events, activities and life experiences that we have in common with other members of our group. The two partners need to identify three unique items that they have in common. Encourage participants to dig deep for these items. For example, they may discover that they both like dogs, but under closer examination, they may also discover that they like the same breed of dog. Additionally, they may discover that they both enjoy reading, but by digging a bit deeper, they may discover that they have read the same book in the past 6 months or perhaps enjoy the
Possibly one of the greatest n e e d s within a group is to identify the commonalities of the members. Chris Cavert says (with regard to some of the tough middle school students that he often encounters) that, “the more I know about you, the less likely I am to hurt you.” Which typically means that the more students have in common with each other, the more they recognize the commonalities rather than the differences, the more likely 7
they are to include those other people, the more likely they are to be nice to them, to protect them, and the less likely they are to steal, hurt or be mean to them. To this end, our goal is to find out some of those commonalities that we have with each other. The more unusual and unique, the better. The Bus requires two Raccoon Circle Lines, stretched parallel to each other. Have participants 'get on the bus' by standing between these two lines. At the first stop, have folks get off the bus, according to what is there for them on the left or right sides of the bus. First stop, chocolate ice cream on the left side, vanilla ice cream on the right. Now look around you, you have something in common with those folks on your same side of the bus. Now back on the bus, next stop: Cats Dogs Loud Quiet Running Walking Save Money Spend Money Bus Driver Bus Rider Sky Diving Deep Sea Diving Hamburgers Hotdogs Chicken Salad The object here is to find interests, activities and events that folks have in common. Be careful to choose topics appropriately for the audience that you are serving. This activity can be used with even large audiences, provided that the folks on the bus can hear the bus driver! Thanks to Tom Heck for sharing this activity.
Raccoon Circles bring people together in a variety of ways,
and this activity illustrates that point. First Impressions brings participants into a closer physical proximity to each, discovers commonalities between participants, allows participants to become acquainted at a deeper level, and provides the opportunity for participants to discuss how their instinctive guesses about others, especially those that they do not know very well, may or may not be accurate. Begin by forming groups of three participants, seated within a Raccoon Circle. Also provide a copy of the following page, and a pencil or pen for each participant. The instructions for this activity are printed atthe top of the following page. Just pass out copies of this page, and go.
Your Guess * Where were they raised?(Farm, city, suburbs, other country...) * Their favorite food? * What type of music do they listen to?(Rock, country, hiphop, folk, classical, etc.) * What would they consider a hot time on a Saturday night? * What would their ideal job be? * What would their ideal car be? * What hobbies do they have? * What do you have in common with this person?
From the Teamwork & Teamplay Website at www.teamworkandteamplay.com
lenging, and need to have a suitable amount of time after each one for discussion within the group.
Thanks to Sam Sikes for this seemingly simple but yet complex activity. You can find this and other activities in his book, Executive Marbles (1-888-622-4203). Photo Finish (or the Finish Line) uses one or more Raccoon Circles as a straight line. The task is for the members of a group to ALL cross the line at exactly the same time. You can additionally ‘stress’ the group by minimizing the available space that they have to plan prior to crossing the finish line. Tell the group that they have 15 minutes to make 5 attempts to cross the finish line at exactly the same time. This is a great opportunity to use a digital camera for instant feedback. Every time someone breaks the plane of the finish line, the facilitator yells, ‘Click!’ even for the occasionally careless mistake. This activity involves planning, communication, timing and occasionally the ability to deal with frustration.
The Storming Stage This second stage of group formation introduces conflict and competition into the formerly pleasant work environment. At summer camp, this stage typically is encountered around week three. Why week three? Because that is when most staff members are at their peak "loss of sleep.” Suddenly those things which didn’t seem to matter, begin to matter, and conflicts arise. Staff behavior ranges from silence to domination in this environment, and a director or camp leader needs to demonstrate coaching to move past this stage. Activities for the Storming Stage - While some staff members would rather avoid the conflict of this stage, it is important to build skills and show them how to cope and deal with the storming stage. The activities in this section, therefore, contain just a bit of stress (so that the door may be ‘opened’ to discuss what is really going on). The following activities are very chal8
Form a group of three, preferably with two other participants that you do not know very well, and have a seat. Within this group, you are to guess the following traits and characteristics about your partners. This is not a conversation, just make your best guess about each of the following traits, for both of your partners, and write your answers in the outer spaces. When you and each of your partners are finished guessing the following eight traits, begin sharing your guesses with each other, writing in the true information when given. Keep track of how often you were able to guess correctly. Person on Your Left Side The Person on Your Right Side Your Guess The True Story Traits The True Story
Cross the Line
This activity requires a single untied Raccoon Circle, stretched into a straight line. With half of the group on one side of the line and standing about 6 feet (2 meters) behind the line, and the other half of the team on the other side, the scene is set for a moment of conflict (of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’).
Make no mistake, this Raccoon Circle activity is a bit higher level than most, but it is excellent for setting the stage to talk about conflict, negotiation and win/win, win/lose, and lose/lose scenarios. Tom Heck calls this activity, ‘Their Ain’t No Flies On Me!’, and begins this activity by having one side say, ‘There ain’t no flies on me, there ain’t no flies on me, there might be flies on you (point to folks on the other side), but there ain’t no flies on me!’, and then boldly take a step towards the line (with just the right amount of attitude). The other side now replies, ‘there ain’t no flies on me, there ain’t no flies on me, there might be flies on you, but there ain’t no flies on me!’, and takes a step towards the line. The first side now repeats, and moves to the line, followed by the second side repeating their lines, and stepping face to face with the other side. Now the facilitator says, “you have 10 seconds to get the person across the line from you onto your side of the line!” Typically, this phrasing results in a rather quick tug of war between partners, and usually a physical solution (for one person at least) to the challenge. Leaving open a major opportunity to discuss conflict, challenge, attitude, negotiation, and how to resolve differences between people.
while still blindfolded, is to create a perfect square with the rope. Participants are allowed to slide along the length of the rope, but cannot let go or skip over or move around another participant.
The Norming Stage -
Blindfold the entire group, and allow them to search and find a nearby piece of rope (about 100 feet long). After finding the rope, instruct the group that their goal,
This third stage of group formation is typically a welcome breath of fresh air after the storming stage. Although the group is not yet at the high performing stage, some of the bugs are beginning to be worked out within the group, and good things are beginning to happen. This stage of group formation includes cohesion, sharing and trust building, creativity and skill acquisition. The director or camp leader demonNot Knots strates support during this stage. In this activity, which can be Activities for the Norming Stage - accomplished with only a single Sharing, trust building, and skill piece of webbing (in a straight line, building activities are used in the without a water knot), a ‘doodle’ is constructed (see examples below) Norming stage. and the group is given the choice of whether this doodle will create a Inside Out KNOT or NOT A KNOT, when the This is a great initial probends of the webbing are pulled. lem solving activity. Begin with a The object here is to provide Raccoon Circle on the floor. Have the group with some tools to use the entire group step inside the when they cannot easily form a concircle. The task is now for the ensensus. Typically, upon analysis, tire group to go from the inside of about half of the group thinks the the circle to the outside, by going doodle will form a knot, and the underneath the Raccoon Circle, other half a straight line. If this is without anyone in the group using the case, ask participants to partner their hands, arms or shoulders. with another person that has a difWhat is important in this ferent viewpoint (i.e. one partner activity, is to stress the group probfrom the KNOT side, and one partlem solving process. In order for ner from the NOT A KNOT side). other members of the group to asBy learning how to listen to a persist in the completion of the task, son with a different viewpoint, they need to know the plan, and group members learn how to coopwhat their part is in the solution. To erate. After this discussion, ask parthis end, encourage the group to 9
‘plan their work’ and then ‘work their plan.’ This means that prior to ANY action, the group will need to plan their approach to solving this problem, and making sure that everyone in the group knows their part of the plan. After completing the task, debriefing questions include asking the group if they had a plan, and did they change the plan during the completion of the activity, and if so, why? As a second part to this activity, you can also ask the group to go Outside In, again without using their hands, arms or shoulders.... and see if they ‘plan their work’ before ‘working their plan.’ Thanks to Tom Heck for sharing this activity.
ticipants to choose sides, with the KNOT decision folks on one side of the knot doodle, and the NOT A KNOT folks on the other side. At this point, it is likely that there will still not be a complete consensus within the group. Prior to slowly pulling the ends of the knot doodle, let the members of the group know that you will pull the knot doodle slowly, and that they can change sides at any time during the unraveling of the knot doodle (this illustrates the ability to make an initial decision, but still be flexible as more information becomes available).
The Blind Trust Drive
Participants are asked to choose a partner for this activity. One person in front, arms extended like they are holding onto the steering wheel of a car. Their partner behind them, with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. The ‘blind’ driver now closes their eyes, while the sighted ‘backseat’ driver safely steers them around the playing area. Remember, this is not a demolition derby or bumper cars, and a facilitator may act as the local law enforcement officer if necessary! Halfway through the activity, partners switch roles, and continue. At the completion of the activity, partners can provide feedback to their backseat drivers, and tell them what they liked, or what they would change about their guidance.
tion includes a feeling of unity, group identity, interdependence and independence. It is a highly productive stage. Leadership from the camp director or leader comes in the form of delegation. Activities for the Performing Stage - Challenging activities that may be difficult, but which are successfully accomplished by the group. Activities will also build enthusiasm. Large group projects, such as tower building (using Tinkertoys©, uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, or newspaper and masking tape), and challenge courses (low and high ropes activities) are useful.
Grand Prix Racing
Turn the Raccoon Circle into a complete circle or loop using a water knot, and you are ready for the ultimate in sport raci n g . Thanks to Tom Heck for not only the idea for this activity, but also the enthusiasm to lead it e ff e c t i v e l y. This activity will boost the enthusiasm of your audience, and provide some moderate competition in the process. From the Teamwork & Teamplay Website at Begin by spreading several www.teamworkandteamplay.com Raccoon Circles around the available space, in close proximity to each other. Ask participants to join The Performing Stage one of the ‘racing teams’, picking - The fourth stage of group forma- their favorite color team in the pro10
cess. Approximately 5 to 10 participants per Raccoon Circle. Have participants hold the Raccoon Circle with both hands in front of them. "Ladies and Gentlemen! It is summertime, and that means one thing in this part of the world - Grand Prix Racing ! Now I know that you are such die-hard race fans that just the thought of a race makes your heart beat faster. So this race comes in three parts. First, when I say that ‘we’re going to have a race’, your response is loud, ‘Yahoo!!!!!’ Next I’ll say, start your engines! and I want to hear your best race car sounds (audience practices making race car revving engine, shifting gears and braking sounds)." "Finally, with so many cars on the track today, it will be difficult to see just which group finishes their race first, so we’ll need a sign indicating when your group is finished. That sign is to raise your hands (and the Raccoon Circle) above your heads and yell ‘yessssssssss!’" Logistically, Grand Prix involves having the group transfer the knot around the group as quickly as possible, using only their hands. This activity can even be performed for a seated audience. To begin, you’ll need a ‘start / finish’ line, which can be the person that was born the farthest distance away from the present location. The race begins at this location, and ends when the knot is passed around the circle, and returns to this same location (Yessssssss!) Typically in Raccoon Circle Grand Prix racing, there are three qualifying rounds or races. The first race is a single lap race to the right, with the knot traveling once around the inside of the circle to the right
(counterclockwise). The second race is a multi-lap race (two or three laps) to the left (clockwise) around the circle. And the final race of the series, is a ‘winner take all’ championship race, with one lap to the right (counterclockwise) followed by one lap to the left (clockwise). Incidentally, after this activity, the group will not only be energized, but perhaps in a slightly competitive mood. From a sequencing standpoint, you can either continue this atmosphere (with more competitive challenges - such as into a summer camp competition) or introduce a bit of counterpoint, by following this activity with one that requires the group working together in a collaborative manner.
tograph from the summer, illustrating a perfect moment, or perhaps a moment from the future, that will be different because that person had the opportunity to work at camp.
A Circle of Kindness
Form a double circle with all group members, with one partner facing the center of the circle, and their partner behind them (also facing the center, with their hands on the shoulders of the inner circle person). The inner circle is asked to close their eyes, and only reply ‘thank you’ or keep silent. The outer circle is asked to quietly talk into the ear of the inner circle participants, mentioning something important that they learned from them during the summer, or a pleasant memory, or any other positive comment. The out group then moves one person to the right, and continues. When the outer group has completed the circle, they are asked to become the center group, and the process begins again. References and Resources Teamwork & Teamplay, by Jim Cain and Barry Jolliff, 1998, Kendall Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, IA Phone (800) 228-0810 ISBN 07872-4532-1 417 pages of activities, like those shown in this article. The Book on Raccoon Circles, by Jim Cain and Tom Smith, 2002, Learning Unlimited, Tulsa, OK, USA Phone (888) 622-4203 www.learningunlimited.com ISBN 0-9646541-6-4 Hundreds of activities for creating community, that you can present with minimal props. Developmental Sequence of Small Groups, by B. Tuckman, 1965, 11
The Transforming Stage - The final stage of group
formation is the other bookend to the initial forming stage. The Transforming stage allows the group to regroup, thank the participants and move on at the completion of the summer. This stage is marked by recognition by the leader, conclusion and disengagement of the participants. Activities for the Transforming Stage - these types of activities allow for the completion and conclusion of the group process. Feelings of celebration and affirmation are suitable.
Virtual Slide show
With all participants seated in a circle, an imaginary slide projector ‘clicker’ is passed around the group. Group members are asked to ‘show’ an imaginary slide or pho-
Phychological Bulletin, Number 63, pages 384-399. The ‘original’ article. Stages of Small Group Development Revisited, B. Tuckman and M. Jensen, 1977, Group and Organizational Studies, Number 2, pages 419-427. The revised and updated article. Building Community in Youth Groups, by Denny Rydberg, Group Publishing, Loveland, CO ISBN 0931529-06-9 Adventure Education and Outward Bound: Out-of-Class Experiences That Make a Lasting Difference, John Hattie, H. W. Marsh, James T. Neill, and Garry E. Richards, Review of Educational Research, Spring 1997, Volume 67, Number 1, pages 43-87. Adventure Programming, by John C. Miles and Simon Priest, 1999, Venture Publishing, Inc. State College, PA Fax (814) 234-1651 ISBN 1-892132-09-5. Outdoor Adventure Pursuits: Foundations, Models and Theories by Alan W. Ewert, 1989, Publishing Horizons, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ ISBN 0-942280-50-4 An in-depth text for understanding the components of adventure activities. Joining Together - Group Theory and Group Skills by David W. Johnson and Frank P. Johnson, 1994, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA ISBN 0-205-15846-3. Although set in the business world, this book isapplicable to academic fields, social organizations and camping programs as well. Newer editions are available almost yearly. Evaluating Training Programs The Four Levels by Donald L. Kirkpatrick, 1994, Berrett-Koehler,
San Francisco ISBN 1-881052-49-4 Chapter 13, Evaluating an OutdoorBased Training Program, includes commentary by Richard Wagner author of many significant challengedbased articles. Organizations Teamwork & Teamplay www.teamworkandteamplay.com (585) 637-0328 The Adventure Group www.theadventuregroup.com (800) 706-0064 Adventure Hardware www.adventurehardware.com(800) 706-0064 Learning Unlimited www.learningunlimited.com (888) 622-4203 Kendall Hunt Publishers www.kendallhunt.com (800) 228-0810 The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) www.acctinfo.org (616) 685-0670 The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) www.aee.org (303) 440-8844
Letter to the Editor:
The Following is a letter I recieved in response to "Are You an Edutainer" I encourage you to contact me if you have any comments. email@example.com
Dear Ms. Malone: My assistant director and I read your article a couple of times, hoping to be able to respond to your viewpoint in a productive way, as we feel that there are many ways educational opportunities may be offered to young people and not just in traditional school settings. First off, I began my educational outreach program, The Nature of Things, that utilizes live animals, educational materials, environmental literature and activities back in 1983 after my experiences at a local university environmental center. At the time, my program was the only outreach program available to young children, and its success could be found in the professional teaching abilities I was able to offer my schools and centers that requested programming. Since then, we have grown to an assistant director, 5 professional educators with degrees in the environmental and conservation fields, and an animal curator with office staff. We service almost 80 or so Westchester pre-schools, the BOCES Arts in Education programs in Westchester County, some schools and centers in NYC and in surrounding Connecticut communities. Our program is a quality program that relies heavily on program fees to continue operation. All the animals, materials and office are located in our home in North Salem, NY and I can assure you that my husband and I have never made huge amounts of money at this. We each have other positions but work at The Nature of Things in various ways. I am currently employed as an administrator at a Montessori school that has an integrated Special Education program for children birth - 6 years, and my husband is a railroad conductor. We feed chilckens, care for sick birds ( I am also a NYS Wildlife Rehabiliator since 1981 and carry a scientific Collector’s permit for 2 Eastern Box Turtles, one of which has been a resident since 1981!), answer wildlife questions, help teachers with curriculum and provide other community services, and have done so for the past 20 years. We vacation infrequently as we can never leave here for more than a couple of days, raised our 3 children here, and pursued our interests in education and history in our local community.
Some Information about the Author
Dr. Jim Cain is the author of the award winning adventure-based text Teamwork & Teamplay, which received the Karl Rohnke Creativity Award presented by the Association for Experiential Education, and co-author with Tom Smith of The Book on Raccoon Circles. He is a former Executive Director of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, Senior Consultant to the Cornell University Corporate Teambuilding Program and the Director of the adventure-based training company, Teamwork & Teamplay. Dr. Cain makes his home in Brockport, New York and frequently serves as a visiting professor and staff development specialist on subjects ranging from experiential education to challenge and adventure-based activities, and from recreational dancing and games leadership, to structural engineering, chaos and powder mechanics. Dr. Cain has presented team building and active learning sessions in 36 states and 9 countries in the past 5 years, and generally has more toys and adventure-based books in his library than most developing nations. 12
Having said all that, I take offense to the notion that offering non school-related educational programs to children at different occasions in their life with qualified educators and captively raised live animals that are not taken from the wild is NOT appropriate. As to your questions regarding what are we teaching and how are we regulated, those are great questions. We did not decide to start a party business. We follow local laws and the state police and area police dept. know of us and often call with questions or when in need of help. Many years ago, a teacher friend asked me to do a nature program at their child’s house and I agreed. They offered me more money than I usually received from not-forprofits, and I gratefully accepted their money as it helped with all the hidden costs in providing our program. We now offer parties on weekends and on holidays and pay our staff extra money if they choose to work these occasions. All our party programs are based on our school curriculum and our teachers add their own talents such as music and environmental games. We have philisophical discussions quite often regarding which animals are to be used and which are not appropriate as they send the wrong messages to children. We do not use Birds of Prey, nor do we have native species, but we discuss them and other nature/environmental topics with the help of fancy-breed poultry, exotics that we purchase from local breeders, and donated pets that would have otherwise had been destroyed by the local shelters. Our teachers are wonderful, putting the educational needs of children first, giving advice regarding pets, which ones for which age, and the care of local habitats in their backyards and how important these areas are to our local wildlife. Over the years I have written a nature column in the local paper, spoken at libraries and offered
staff development. Neither I nor my teachers are just a couple of “ animal party people” out to make a little money in the entertainment industry. We book all our own programs, pay insurance and follow local education policies as we work in schools and refuse to be listed as a party business as we are not. Remember, just like you, myself and my teachers are in a very low-paying industry. I have received a BA, an MPA and an SAS for the NYS Education Department in my professional career, and my staff are all credentialed. No environemtal education salary in Westchester County reflects those levels of academic achievement nor work experience. Again, in this field, all environmental educators make less than public school educators who also teach children. Fortunately, my educational staff earn more than the local nature centers pay their educational staffs, and we provide health benefits and educational opportunities, all possible through the added benefit of entertainment fees that we charge for our “parties” as opposed to our not-for-profit fees. I also carry some of their auto expenses and guarantee raises for each teacher. My goal is to keep young environmental educators in the field as long as possible, as I feel that less and less people can afford to stay in the field due to the poor salaries. I am a great example, as I have children in college and could not support them on what I made as the director of this program after 20 years. So, yes, the added revenue is helpful. But in response to your concerns about edutainers and how “educational”are they, and why do we “drag animals” to a kid’s party, think again about some of your fellow NYS Outdoor educators who were the ones reading your article. There is more to it than just money. My teachers and those at other centers are not Pet Store employees who are told to do Saturday Parties for $20.00 more. They are
trained educators with environmental ethics that I feel can be appropriately and tastefully shared with all children in an edcational setting, whether it is at a child’s school or at their home. Parents are honored to have their school’s nature teacher provide the program for their home celebration and we are honored to be recognized as important adults in their children’s lives as well. Even after 20 years, I continue to have parents meet me and thank me for making their child’s occasion so memorable and how honored they were that I came to their home. It has always been my feeling that when someone is willing to pay a price for something, they think about who and what they are supporting, and over the years, the financial support of others has truly been important to the success and longevity of The Nature of Things. I appreciate their generocity and often write personal notes to the families that invite us to their home. I respect your personal decision not to “do” parties, but it is just that very attitude that divides our membership as you have put a rather negative spin on it. Is that the opinion of the NYS Outdoor Education Association? If it is, I am very disappointed, and will be forced to cancel my organizational membership. I can’t see supporting an organization that lumps issues together and makes judgements on professionals that make decisions that a few consider not as “lofty” as others. The topic most definitely is a controversial one, and we feel strongly that there is another side that I hope I have adequately expressed. Sincerely, Deborah Mumford, Director The Nature of Things For more information on The Nature of Things and its programs web address is: www.thenatureofthings.com
nysoea.org is up
and running! Please visit us there and send your Extra! Extra! friends. nysoea.org up Feel free to and running send advertisements for affiliate programs and regional events. All programs ads will be reviewed before posting.
The Nature of New York, A Natural History Celebration
It is spring, but it is still time to think about fall. The New York State Outdoor Education Association annual conference will be held on the weekend October 23-26, 2003 at the Villa Roma Resort in Callicon, NY. Conference booklets will be sent out in May to give everyone plenty of time to make plans. There will be many new workshops and old favorites. The conference will be a great opportunity to learn, network, relax and have fun. We want this to be the best conference ever, and we need your help. Show the conference booklet to your friends, colleagues, relatives, and anyone who may be interested. The more people we can get to attend the conference the better it will be. The conference committee worked very hard to get the program set up early so there would be lots of time to market and promote the conference. Please take advantage of any opportunity to help make this our best conference ever. One of the exciting new opportunities at the conference is the student assistant program. Students who volunteer to help at the conference will be given discounts to attend. If you are interested contact John Stowell or Tom Smith. Contact Information: Conference Co-Chairs: John Stowell (firstname.lastname@example.org and Tom Smith (email@example.com) NYSOEA Information: George Steele, 518-842-0501 firstname.lastname@example.org Conference Registration: 607-6744017, email@example.com Meals and Lodging Information: Villa Roma, 800-727-8455, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thinking about ways you could help out NYSOEA? Consider running for a position on the Board. Many board positions are up for election and it is time to stop wondering and start volunteering. The following positions are available. President Elect, Metro Region Director, Northern Region Director, Western Region Director, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Communication, Secretary. Look for nomination information NYSOEA Conference in the mail. The following posimentioned in tions are currently empty and can Conservationist Magazine be filled by appointment until Do you get Conservation- they are filled by election Eastist Magazine? Well make sure you ern Region Director and Northlook for an article by member Dan ern Region Director, anyone in Kriesburg in an upcoming issue fea- these regions interested in filling the remainder of the term please turing the Nature of New York. contact Foster Portzline as soon as possible.
Check out Nature Dad
at linature.com. Newsday, Long Island’s newspaper is doing a year long series of articles on the natural world of Long Island. Yes, there is nature on Long Island! They have also developed a great website that includes our very own Dan Kriesberg as Nature Dad. Click on the Nature Dad icon and see a video and read articles on introducing children to the natural world. The site also has loads of information on natural history topics of interest to all New Yorkers.
Award the Deserving
Please consider nominating someone deserving a NYSOEA award. Award nomination information will be mailed in the summer months but it is never to early to start the wheels turning. Awards include: The Harlan "Gold" Metcalf Award, Leadership Award, Service Award, Creative Art/Literary Award, Environmental Impact Award, Outdoor Educator Award, and Julian Smith Student Award. 14
Vicki Cobb is the well known author of more than eighty highly entertaining nonfiction books for children. Cobb’s lighthearted approach to hands-on science has become her trademark for getting kids involved in experiences that create real learning.
2003 Conference Site Information
Dr. Susan Flader
Susan Flader is professor of history at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she teaches American and world environmental history. She has published several books and numerous articles on the career and thought of Aldo Leopold, including Thinking Like a Mountain and The River of the Mother of God.
David is a full-time professional nature photographer, writer and naturalist. He has produced several books including: Ancient Forest, The New Key to Ecuador and the Galapagos and The Nature of America. More than an outdoor photographer and naturalist, David is a gifted and enthusiastic teacher who truly enjoys sharing his experiences and expertise with people.
Villa Roma Resort Callicoon, NY (845) 887-4880 www.villaroma.com
New York State Outdoor Education Association 36th Annual Conference
~ The Nature of New York ~
A Natural History Celebration
October 23 - 26, 2003
Villa Roma Resort - Callicoon, NY
Workshops specific to New York native flora & fauna 15
Who We Are Established in 1968, the Association is the leading professional group supporting outdoor education, environment education and interpretive services in New York State. Our membership includes classroom teachers, environmental educators, college professors, naturalists, interpreters, youth leaders, administrators, students, parents and others interested in the outdoors. Our Goals We promote public awareness of the value of outdoor and environmental education and interpretation. We foster a lifelong appreciation and sense of stewardship to enrich curricula and programs.
We assist our members in expanding their knowledge and skills in using the environment for responsible education purposes. We act as a unified voice supporting the fields of environmental education, outdoor education, interpretation and outdoor recreation. Benefits of Membership Annual Conference Regional Events Publications Awards Scholarships Membership Fees Individual $40.00 Family $50.00 Retired $30.00 Student $25.00 Affiliate A $45.00 Affiliate B $75.00 Library $30.00
The New York State Outdoor Education Association, Inc. is a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to lifelong learning in and about the outdoors. Outdoor Education is a method which embraces multiple subject areas, including development of an appreciation of nature and the total environment. Membership services, in addition to pathways, include the annual conference which provides opportunities to share and learn, regional activities, annual award presentations and scholarships.
New York State Outdoor Education Association, Inc. 418 Merry Road Amsterdam, NY 12012 E-mail: email@example.com
Printed on recycled paper. Address Correction Requested