Linking Children and Nature through Design: Integrating nature education for children of the Texas Panhandle into Palo Duro Canyon
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIt has been suggested that the natural world establishes one of the most significant contexts children encounter during their most critical years of development. When children are allowed to interact with nature, they are able to make essential connections between humans, animals, natural systems, and gain a better understanding of the world at large. Unfortunately, within the span of a few decades, more and more children are losing touch with the natural world; the way they comprehend and interact with the outdoors is radically changing. To battle the current indoor trends, outdoor learning environments are springing up all over the country. This project serves to further examine outdoor educational facilities and to tailor a modified outdoor nature center prototype into the base of Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle. A final master plan will examine ways to implement various educational strategies for children while respecting the existing canyon ecosystem and ingraining a sense of stewardship into the nature center’s young visitors.