An Introduction to our Guide
I grew up in rural South Carolina, so I was never too far away from nature. I remember fishing with friends occasionally, catching grasshoppers, and exploring the woods beyond my backyard. When I got to college, I didn’t give myself as much time to be outdoors, though it remained something special to me. The occasional camping or biking trips became escapes from school – they were a time to relax away from academia. On the surface, there isn’t anything wrong with this. I think it’s actually a great thing sometimes! It, however, is reductive – the forests and mountains of North Carolina have so much more to offer than just a good place in the shade or a trail to walk. Nature is a wonderful, albeit overlooked, learning environment. The past year has been an incredible re-introduction to nature in a new way. As a part of ASC’s Journey’s program, I was able to witness students interact with the subject they’re studying in a way that an indoor classroom doesn’t allow. The Nature Matters Curriculum Guide is an attempt to bring the fantastic learning opportunity that nature presents into a more traditional classroom setting. Our goal with this guide is multifaceted. We want to ensure that nature is accessible to all youth and to foster an understanding and closeness to it. It is in our backyards, it is in our city, it is beautiful, we benefit from it so much, and it is vital that we understand its importance.
-Carlos Miranda Pereyra, Editor