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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 67 Encouraging the Spirit of Adventure

September 7, 2015

The Fram in the Ice

I have always been a fan of historical explorers and adventurers. My office bookshelves are full of the true tales of Sir John Franklin’s Erebrus & Terror expeditions, Fridtjof Nansen’s successful traverse of the North East Passage, Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki Voyage and just as exciting, the overland excursions of Samuel Hearne, David Thompson, Dr John Rae and Henry Stanley’s famous line “Dr Livingston I presume?” .

I’ve mentioned before I am a fan of human endurance – as a marathoner with over 40 42.2 mile races under my belt I am profoundly astounded at the ability to push through the proverbial wall and find the energy to continue when one feel they cannot any longer. Through my long distance running I feel, (rightly or wrongly) a bond with those explorers of old. Some will argue that they lived in a simpler time. Little technology at hand they counted on their own abilities and those of their teams to succeed.

I often think of this at the beginning of a marathon or even at the beginning of the school year. I know it is extremely possible to reach that point where you feel you just can’t take another step. Franklin in his overland journeys had his team so desperate that they ate the moccasins off their own feet!

When when it has happened to me, I have been lucky enough to have a fellow runner — every single time a stranger — their seeing me in a difficult spot they could relate to and give me the encouragement to take that next step and the one after that. I’ve tried hard to follow suit. I’ve encouraged more than one first time runner and slowed my own pace to help them cross the finish line.

As educators how often this school year will we hear, “I can’t do it”, or “…it’s impossible”? How often will a co-worker say, “There is too much on my plate…”? We have it in us to feed those that are suddenly starving of ambition or cause. We may not be able to start someone on their quest for knowledge but we can sure keep those fires burning.

Any journey gets it’s start with a full tank of curiosity but it runs stronger, faster and longer when the adventure is energized and applauded by others.

As such, this year as educators let’s encourage that Outdoor Inquiry. Let’s embolden our students, our colleagues and our personal learning networks.

And recognize that while the destination may enlighten, it’s the odyssey that makes the individual and crew.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you for your words of inspiration and encouragement Rob. Tobin and I have signed up for the David Suzuki Get Back Outside weekly challenge for September. Can’t wait to do that and hopefully inspire more students to care deeply about their environment.

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