Throughout my schooling years, I have had a few Outdoor Education experiences. With each successive experience, I began to slowly unravel and understand the deeper meanings attached to Outdoor Ed./Environmental Education. My first official Outdoor Ed. experience was a three-day trip to Camp Monahan in the late spring of my grade eight year. I remember sleeping in tents with my friends, going swimming, making crafts, and playing games. This experience was fairly straightforward, as it served the purpose of getting my peers and I outside and having fun. In this instance, there wasn’t a deeper meaning associated with the trip. The experience was fairly surface level in terms of Outdoor Ed., depicting the traditional western worldview of wilderness as rejuvenating, peaceful, and adventurous, as Newberry mentions in her article.
My next significant Outdoor Ed. experience was on a school trip to Banff national park the following spring. Although I was on a choir trip, my teacher saw the availability of spare time one day as a great opportunity to take a nature walk through the mountains as an Outdoor Ed. experience. As we walked, my teacher stressed the importance of being one with nature and giving thanks for our beautiful surroundings. This was one of the first times I truly felt connected to nature, giving me a deeper understanding of wilderness consisting of relationships, as Newberry describes in her article by exemplifying Kaaren Dannenmann.
It was not until starting this course and studying Outdoor Ed./Environmental Education that I really began to understand the deepest implications of the subject material. This course (as well as other University courses I have taken) has presented me with Newberry’s idea of troubling knowledge that disrupts the traditional view of wilderness and tells the deeper narratives of Outdoor Ed. When we went on a nature walk in this class a couple weeks ago, I found myself recognizing many of the points Newberry makes in her article. For instance, I acknowledged that the purpose of the walk was not just to tour and enjoy nature, but rather to feel connected and recognize the storied past of the land. I recognized that I was on treaty four territory, and was informed of the indigenous ways of living and knowing that were and still are practiced to some extent on the land. I was informed of the land’s history of colonialism, the relationships between Indigenous peoples and European settlers, and the narratives that have been constructed in attempt to avoid these realities. I recognized and understood the truth of the land that so often goes unacknowledged, and my visual for this post represents just that.
Upon initial observation, my visual appears to be a scenic picture. This is meant to symbolize the deceptiveness and influence of traditional western narratives about wilderness. When some features of the picture are flipped back however, words and phrases that describe the true and sometimes troubling narrative of the land are uncovered. This shows that with deeper thought and inquiry, the land can reveal a hidden history that is not initially visible or known to all.