Environmental education is at the absolute core of Maine Audubon’s mission. To be sure, environmental topics are increasingly integral to the curricula in classrooms around the state, but a key component of what we at Maine Audubon offer is the opportunity for children to experience nature first hand. Maine Audubon is not in the business of creating nature videos; we are in the business of bringing children outside to explore the woods and fields and mudflats-to see and hear and feel nature for themselves.
Our objective is to help develop the next generation of environmentalists. We know that most people who develop a strong conservation ethic do so because as a child they got outside, enjoyed it and became aware of the natural world around them. With awareness came awe, appreciation, understanding and a commitment to act on behalf of our environment. But where many of us may have spent countless hours outdoors, many children today are spending their time inside watching television, playing video games or surfing the web. Even if some of these virtual experiences have a nature theme or content, it is not the same as being outdoors.
Maine Audubon’s natural history programs are based on the philosophy that curiosity and awareness of natural wonders excite an interest in learning and that the learning process stimulates further awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the environment and a concern for its protection.
Many of our programs can be modified to reflect topics being discussed in the classroom.
With the implementation of the Goals 2000 and Learning Results, Maine’s approach to education is evolving. Maine Audubon’s programs are readily incorporated into the new Learning Results initiative.
By stressing such concepts as life cycles, systems, relationships, and exploration, all of these programs help students reach the goal to “comprehend the similarities, diversity, and interdependence of living and non-living things in the environment.”
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