To build community value by creating vibrant, accessible outdoor learning spaces to promote environmental literacy and native Iowa habitat.
Outdoor Learning Environments (OLE) Definition
We define an OLE as a deliberately selected or designed outdoor setting, used and supported by many in the community that provides an intentional space for exploration, inquiry, and learning to empower environmental literacy and education in any discipline. An OLE can be located at a community location like a library, park, adjacent to a protected natural area, or other places where the outdoor setting can enhance educational opportunities for all community members.
As OLEs are created we will be working towards developing a communication hub for project leaders to share progress and ideas.
Why is support for outdoor learning environments so important in Iowa?
A wide body of research demonstrates the important role of outdoor classrooms and education in child development, skill mastery, and educational success. Regular time outdoors can help young people’s social and physical development, fitness and motor skills, and creativity. For people of all ages, outdoor learning environments can help reduce stress and violence, support lifelong learning, and build environmental literacy and empathy.
Who is supporting this program?
Major support for the Outdoor Learning Environments in Iowa project is provided by Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund, based at the Iowa Department of Transportation.