Secondary-school students across Texas are giving high marks to recently accredited coursework that teaches traditional outdoor skills such as fishing, hunting, and camping, according to a 2013 survey.
Student opinions of the fast-growing Outdoor Adventures education program were collected in a program assessment commissioned by the Dallas Ecological Foundation (DEF) and funded by a grant from the Dallas Safari Club.
The Outdoor Adventures program will reach about 16,000 students this year at more than 160 secondary schools that have formally adopted the curriculum.
DEF, an education partner with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, developed the curriculum, which aligns with national education standards and is accredited by the State of Texas. Teaching units within the program cover camping, boating, archery, hunter education, shooting sports, orienteering, survival skills and outdoor cooking. Conservation is a theme woven into each of the units.
“Survey results definitively and quantitatively support the anecdotal reviews that students, parents and teachers have been sharing with DEF from the beginning. This program introduces young teens to outdoor activities that they enjoy and value,” said Scot McClure, Outdoor Adventures coordinator for DEF.
He added, “Greater participation and involvement in the outdoors tends to strengthen understanding of—and ultimately stewardship of—wildlife and natural resources. We’re very optimistic that student enthusiasm for Outdoor Adventures will translate to a lifetime of good conservation.”
Highlights of the survey include:
• 90 percent of students gave favorable overall ratings to Outdoor Adventures.
• 92 percent of students responded that Outdoor Adventures prepared them to hunt, fish, camp, go sport shooting or boating either on their own or with a family member.
• In before-and-after surveys, students reported developing from “good” to “excellent” abilities to participate in sports or physical activities, develop friendships with other students, maintain good relationships with teachers, stay out of trouble and get good grades.
McClure added, “The outdoor industry also will be thrilled to learn that the survey indicated marked increases in all types of equipment purchased after participating in the program. After all, Outdoor Adventures is not your traditional PE course. Instead of teaching with basketballs and tennis rackets, we use rods and reels and bows and arrows.”
Teachers participating in Outdoor Adventures receive special training, complete scope and sequence, syllabus, daily lesson plans and cross-curricular opportunities in math, science, writing, technology and other applications, and more.
Responsive Management, a premier survey analysis company, conducted the survey using a representative sample of 4,957 students.
About Dallas Ecological Foundation (DEF)
Dallas Ecological Foundation empowers today’s youth with the awareness to appreciate and embrace all outdoor and wildlife conservation skills thus enabling them to be educated, accomplished and respectful stewards of the world’s natural resources and to instill them with the passion to pass their knowledge to future generations. Learn more at www.dallasecologicalfoundation.org.
About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)
Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. Get involved at www.biggame.org.