Outdoor Education

June 10, 1996

A special issue celebrates the thousands of educators who are working to teach people about the West. But it also raises some questions: Who are they reaching and where should the lessons be learned?


Spreading the gospel
The number and variety of outdoor education programs has increased dramatically in the last 25 years.
Getting outside all around the West
A state-by-state directory describes some of the many outdoor education programs in the West.
Tough love proves too tough
Controversial "wilderness therapy programs" such as Utah's North Star, intended for troubled kids, come under critical scrutiny - and lawsuits - after several teenagers die while in their care.


Learning from an inner-city garden
The writer describes a tough and educational time spent working in the inner city with the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners.
What outdoor education didn't teach me
A former professional outdoor educator traces his slow disillusionment with wilderness programs that live off the urban high-tech society and teach nothing about truly living simply on the land.
My coyote education
Writer and Wyoming native C.L. Rawlins considers the good and bad inherent in trying to provide an outdoor education.
Hearing stories, finding family, returning home
Writer and naturalist Terry Tempest Williams lauds the lessons she learned from the Teton Science School.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
Special issue, board meeting in Grand Junction, drop-ins, odds and ends.


Military in a dogfight for crowded skies
The Colorado Air National Guard's plan to increase fighter-jet training over southeastern Colorado raises opposition from environmentalists, ranchers and residents - and from Colorado Springs' booming airport.
Silence could be shattered by military jets
The Colorado Air National Guard's plan to increase training flights over the Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountains and the San Luis Valley upsets locals, including contemplative monks in Crestone.
GOP moves to rein in its rebels
A GOP memo to this year's Republican candidates urges them to start looking green.
Sagebrush rebels in the apple orchards
Two Chelan County commissioners defy Washington state's Growth Management Act, claiming freedom from state and federal controls.
Planning regulations bite a planning proponent
Former U.S. Senator Dan Evans, who once supported Washington state's Growth Management Act, now seeks to change the law after finding it will prevent him from building a house where he wants.
A small fish takes a big hit
An irrigation district's water diversion from the Rio Grande in New Mexico wipes out an estimated 70 percent of the endangered silvery minnow population.
Lawmakers say Colorado prisons are king
The Colorado Legislature passes a bill allowing the state Corrections Department to ignore local zoning when it wants to build or expand prisons.
Salvage logging rider barrels into a shy seabird's world
Under the salvage logging rider, thousands of acres of habitat of the endangered marbled murrelet may be cut in coastal Washington and Oregon.
Operation bullsling
To improve trampled vegetation and watershed in California's Ishi Wilderness, Forest Service officials remove 13 tranquilized bulls by helicopter.
Salmon find a friend
Republican Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska joins an environmental lawsuit fighting Columbia and Snake River dams in the Northwest to save endangered salmon.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Strange bedfellows in the West: Wal-Mart and Main Street, sheep and range restoration, javelinas in Washington state, cartoonist John Callahan runs for Oregon state Legislature, Cheetos in space, cowboys and California.



New life springs from tainted soil at a Denver school
A program called Volunteer-led Investigations of Neighborhood Ecology (VINE) introduces urban children to nature, as demonstrated by Denver's Garden Place Academy.
The best guide knows how to let go
River guide, author and activist Roderick Nash describes a method of outdoor education he calls "unguiding" - letting the river teach its own lessons.
An unsung army of students maintains our national parks
The Student Conservation Association has been sending thousands of young volunteers to help maintain national parks since 1957.
Acting for the environment
A Northwest conservation and outdoor recreation group, The Mountaineers, educates children by sending actors such as Loren Foss into schools, who teach by assuming character roles such as "Old John."
The big dogs: Outward Bound and NOLS hit their thirties
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound are the biggest outdoor education schools in the West.
The rise and fall of Steve Cartisano
Utah native Steve Cartisano, the controversial "godfather" of wilderness therapy, has left a trail of lawsuits behind him, including one for negligent homicide in the death of a Florida teenage girl.