Governor's proclamation encourages teachers to take their students outside
WESTERN WYOMING – As a part of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network, the Wyoming Alliance for Environmental Education has launched a pledge campaign called Outside for 5 encouraging teachers and educators in Wyoming to engage in outdoor learning for at least five minutes a day, five days a week, or any meaningful amount of time. This is part of a national campaign that calls upon teachers to support student wellness by learning outside.
To support Outside for 5 in Wyoming, Governor Mark Gordon proclaimed April 17-23, 2023 as Outside for 5 Week (below). It is part of his push to improve student mental health in the state and encourage healthy choices.
The Outside for 5 campaign was developed in response to the pandemic-related decline in youth mental health and the associated impact on classroom educators who have faced increased levels of burnout. The campaign is focused on engaging school communities in outdoor learning as a way to provide a more enriching and healthy learning environment.
“Today’s students face many stresses that affect their mental health and productivity in the classroom,” said Susan McGuire, executive director of the Wyoming Alliance for Environmental Education (WyAEE). “By incorporating outdoor learning into the school curriculum, educators can provide an outlet for students to release emotions and stress.”
There is a large and growing body of evidence-based research that demonstrates the benefits of outdoor learning for mental health and well-being, stress reduction, physical health, student engagement, and academic success. Outdoor educational experiences also offer schools an opportunity to ignite learning, which addresses both social and emotional well-being as well as learning loss during the pandemic.
“Our goal with this campaign is to inspire educators to think outside the box when it comes to enhancing the social-emotional wellness of their students, each other, and their entire school community,” said Sarah Bodor, NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations. “We want kids to get outside and experience the benefits of nature’s classroom.”
WyAEE invites educators of all grade levels to sign the Outside for 5 pledge online at www.outsidefor5.com and commit to spending at least 5 minutes a day outside with their students. Whether that means teaching a classroom lesson outside, studying the local ecosystem, or taking a short walk across the school campus, everyone can benefit from going Outside for 5.