Outdoor Education

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

People from all over the state and region converged in Terra Alta, West Virginia, this summer to celebrate nine decades of Mountain Nature Camp. It’s a camp where adults go to study pristine Appalachian corners of the world. Many folks came to celebrate community and traditions that have been going since 1929. But also to get their nature fix – which researchers say is critical for both human health and maybe even life on the planet.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An organization called Experience Learning in Pendleton County, has been leading kids out into pristine mountain landscapes to learn about the world, themselves and each other for about 50 years. It’s one of the longer running outdoor education institutions in the West Virginia. Organizers say they’ve spent years watching kids be transformed by outdoor experiences. More than anything else, they want kids to learn to love learning and they don’t care if kids find that love on top of a mountain, or in their schoolyards. 

Jesse Wright/WVPB

Increasingly, teachers are finding that spending time in nature with their students is essential to learning. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from educators who are knocking down classroom walls so that kids can get some fresh air and exercise, and improve test scores in the process.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’re taking a look at outdoor education. It’s the theme of this weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia because more and more educators are finding that time in nature with their students is essential to learning. 

One organization called Experience Learning in Pendleton County has been leading kids into pristine mountain landscapes for 50 years. Glynis Board spent some time there to find out more about how the program impacts kids and communities.

Eric Douglas / WVPB

A large wooden sign that says “Yew Here” greets visitors as they drive into the Yew Mountain Center. Nestled in the woods of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, the property for years operated as a farm. A few years ago, a group of community members sought to repurpose the land to create a place for outdoor education. 

“It was really a neighborhood effort to turn this property into something that would preserve the land and also serve the community,” said Erica Marks, the center’s director.

Brittany Bauer teaches classes for biology and life sciences at Wyoming East High School in New Richmond, West Virginia.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Not many high schools can say their students operate an award-winning recycling program for their county, much less small schools in rural communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a growing educational trend to get young students outside more often; how an elementary school in the Eastern Panhandle aims to provide more opportunities to its students with an outdoor classroom. Also, we hear a panel discussion from Wheeling on race and living as a minority in the historically white state of West Virginia.