Active, Adventurous, and Beautiful

Compass at the Dee Wright Observatory, McKenzie Pass, Oregon

I've returned from a week long trip through the geological wonders of Central Oregon. This is the third time I've taken this trip, and the second outing with students in tow.

For those of you who grew up with a public school education the idea of setting out with your teacher for a week long camping trip probably seems incomprehensible. The organization, money requirements, and liability complications would render such a trip impossible. Yet, I would argue, that it is just such thoughts and limitations that have neutered our public schools in the past three decades. Ultimately, I believe our inability as adults to free ourselves from such fears will contribute greatly to a dramatically diminished economic and cultural output in America.

The fact of the matter is, there is no better way to instill in a child the magnificent power of nature than to let them experience it first hand. Hiking to the top of cinder cone volcanoes in 98 degree weather only to descend through a 6000' lava cave that is 40 degrees on the same afternoon does more to nurture a child's imagination than any classroom demonstration or diagram. In order for education to be lasting and meaningful to a child, it must be composed of experiences that inspire and enliven— it must be active, adventurous, and beautiful— in short, it must be all the things that we believe our children to be.


Gerald said...

This is a great photo. A long time ago I did a trip through central Oregon when I lived in Portland. Boy, do I ever miss the place....

Jeffrey T. Baker said...

There's really no beating Oregon in terms of dramatic geology— it has youth on its side, and human impact is somewhat minimized due to our perpetually depressed economy.

I wish I'd gotten more images from the trip but my attention was, understandably, more focused on making sure no one fell into a caldera.