Dallas Ecological Foundation. Appreciation for the Outdoors and Conservation of Wildlife and their Habitat
 

Dallas Ecological Foundation - DEF - Outdoor AdventuresOutdoor Adventures Education

Independent Research has clearly shown that:

  • Students involved in extracurricular activities tend to engage in more appropriate behavior and
    perform better academically in school.
  • Students who are actively engaged in the educational process have greater attendance and
    academic achievement.
  • Students tend to stay away from drugs and other destructive behaviors when the parents are
    actively participating in activities with their child.

Students engaged in outdoor activities:

  • Are healthier physically and mentally
  • Do better in school
  • Have higher self-esteem
  • Have good self-discipline
  • Feel more capable and confident
  • Are good problem-solvers
  • Are more cooperative with others
  • Are more creative
  • Feel connected to nature
  • Are tomorrow’s conservation leaders 


General Description of  “Outdoor Adventures”

Outdoor Adventures (OA) is a fun and exciting co-ed physical education course, local elective or Ag. Science Wildlife Management class. Students are taught life-long skills by using integrated curriculum of science, math, writing, critical thinking skills, and computer technology.

The goal of OA education curriculum is to provide and expose students and their parents to a wide range of outdoor activities.

Education focuses on outdoor activities including: 

  1. archery
  2. orienteering
  3. survival skills
  4. first aid/CPR
  5. trip planning
  6. angling
  7. tackle crafts
  8. hiking
  9. backpacking
  10. camping
  11. outdoor cooking
  12. conservation/environmental issues
  13. certifications through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD).

On campus activities include:

  1. archery
  2. angling
  3. CPR/first aid
  4. survival skill
  5. trip planning
  6. tackle crafts
  7. orienteering

Rationale and Justification

The OA curriculum is not your traditional PE course. Instead of teaching PE with basketballs and tennis rackets, students use rods and reels, and bows and arrows. The OA course is designed to change young people’s lives forever by exposing them to the many great opportunities of the outdoors. With today’s accelerated curriculum, full of bench mark testing and academic pressures, students need a fun class that will motivate them to stay in school and concentrate on their studies. The OA curriculum is being taught in over 170 secondary schools with numerous positive attributes associated with the class. School principals report improved self esteem, improved attendance, less discipline issues and improved grades for students while enrolled in the course. 

No Boundaries

Many students are not involved in extracurricular activities and the OA program helps those students become engaged in the educational system. After school archery teams and fishing clubs have been created in some schools. There are no racial, physical, gender or socio-economic boundaries and therefore all students enjoy an equal opportunity to participate and become engaged in extracurricular activities. The OA curriculum encourages and invites all youth to participate.

Teacher Training

The Dallas Ecological Foundation will assist with teacher training by certified instructors for each unit offered in OA. School districts and OA teachers will benefit from the teacher training and it is the expectation the training will be completed. The DEF will organize teacher training but it is the responsibility of school district and the individual teacher to attend the trainings. There will be multiple training dates per semester and a week long training session each summer. 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other State DNR’s will provide 6 to 8 hour instructor trainings for Hunter Education, Angler Education, Boater Education and National Archery in Schools Program. The trainings for the other units vary in length and may be grouped together to maximize time. Some teacher training outside of the Texas can be organized depending upon locations and instructor availability. All teacher training is scheduled and organized by the DEF’s Outdoor Adventures coordinator, .

Qualification of the Teacher – P.E., Ag. Science, Elective

All teacher training for the specific units offered in the curriculum is free. Most high schools offer the OA program as a regular physical education class utilizing a certified physical education teacher. 

Schools may offer the course as a local elective which will increase the overall participation in the course. The schools that offer it as both a physical education and local elective course have over 300 students enrolled in the course. The local elective course can be taught by any certified secondary teacher. At the middle school level, the course is usually a local elective course. Some schools use the OA education curriculum in an Agriculture Science Wildlife Management course.

Credit Requested and Grade Level

2 semesters, one full year and one credit 7-12th grade or 1 semester (1/2 credit) for 7-12th grade.

Texts

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides free textbooks and classroom instructional materials for the hunter education, boater education and angler units. All TPWD resources are available to all teachers who have completed their certifications provided by the teacher training opportunities.

Equipment

"In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." -- Baba Dioum, Senegalese poet.

The primary equipment needed for the OA course is archery and angling gear. The archery equipment must be the NASP approved archery gear and the angling equipment can be any combination of rods and reels from various vendors. 

The Dallas Ecological Foundation has numerous grant opportunities available through outdoor conservation programs to assist schools with equipment needs. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has school sets of the NASP and angler gear available to schools for loan. Check with your local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offices for the availability of the school sets.

For more information on how your school can become involved in OA, contact Scot McClure at 469-805-2390 or via email:   Click here to make a donation to DEF.

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