Learning About Learning in Nature

Spring 2018 quarter

Taught by

ecology, biology, mycology
literacy acquisition, theories of learning and brain development, research and assessment

What can nature teach us? How do we learn? How might experiences in nature help us understand how learning occurs and how we can support the learning of others? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to how our brains learn and change, as well as an introduction to the ecology of western Washington.

We will start by examining ourselves as learners, the filters that we carry, and how we create memories. Expanding our scope, we’ll explore some of the ways to facilitate the learning of others. We will look at how groups form and function, and we will consider the role of group work in educational strategies. The history and influence of nature-based education will form a theoretical perspective to inform our field studies. At the same time, we will experience the ecosystems of western Washington as a learning laboratory where we can observe, test, and examine nature education in action.

Topics will be covered through texts, workshops, seminars, field trips, and lectures. There will be two multiday field trips, as well as a number of day trips. Students will be expected to research topics, write papers, and give presentations, both individually and in small groups. Student progress will be assessed through discussions, written assignments, exams, individual and group projects, and participation in program activities.

Program Details

Fields of Study

education environmental studies

Preparatory For

education and environmental studies


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$150 for overnight field trips.