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In the time of COVID-19, outdoor learning can be a safe, effective way to promote students’ engagement and achievement. This short video (filmed before the pandemic) focuses on the benefits and logistics of taking students outside, and was produced by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. These materials were developed under a MiSTEM grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.

General Guidance for Educators about Organizing and Managing Outdoor Learning

GLSI Tips and Tricks—Learning Outdoors
Teachers and community partners who work with the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative’s hubs across Michigan, and staff of those hubs offer tips and tricks about outdoor learning in short (30- to 60-second) videos. More contributions are welcomed. Check it out and add your advice!

Getting Ready to Teach Outdoors
The first of three helpful blog posts from Madison Audubon. This useful overview provides some great tips about outdoor learning with students.


Teaching Outside: Outdoor Routines
The second of three blog posts from Madison Audubon focuses on the importance of establishing in your practice and rehearsing with your students certain routines that can support outdoor learning.

Teaching Outside: Adapting to Online Learning
The third of three blog posts from Madison Audubon suggests ways to effectively combine teaching outdoors with virtual instruction, and recommends several helpful resources.


Articles and Links to Research on the Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
This article describes the benefits of learning outside the classroom and its practice in Scotland.

8 Reasons to Take Learning Outside
A summary article that includes links to several studies about outdoor learning.


7 Benefits of Outdoor Learning
A short article focused on documented benefits of outdoor learning

The Surprising Benefits of Teaching a Class Outside
Article from The Greater Good Magazine, noting several important benefits of outdoor learning, including the phenomenon of increased student engagement persisting beyond a single experience of outdoor instruction.


Resources that Focus on Content in Outdoor Learning

DNR: Natural and Historical Education Resources for Home
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has made a list of outdoor education resources that can be used during the pandemic. Ranging from virtual tours to short lectures, this free content is available for all.

Outdoor Discovery Center Network Backyard Series
Explore ways to adapt the six-week learning series to a hybrid learning model, or choose specific lessons that suit both your school site or students’ home places.