Experiential learning in the natural environment: Reflections from the North Pacific Ocean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Experiential learning by students is a common feature of many Environmental Studies programs. But some teachers of Environmental Studies, especially those in the Humanities and Social Sciences, may have few opportunities to learn in similar ways. This article describes the author’s experiential learning about the environment while voyaging on the North Pacific Ocean in a small sailboat. The author learns firsthand about wind, waves, and sea; comes to appreciate the vitality and scarcity of potable water; witnesses some of the potential impacts of climate change on oceanic weather patterns; searches for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; looks for whales but finds albatrosses; experiences the many frailties of a human in the wild; and develops a new appreciation for Charles Darwin’s fortitude. Being on a very small boat in a very big sea—in this case, the biggest ocean on Earth—is not for the overly faint of heart. But there are compensations: heightened awareness and new understanding of the natural environment. Copyright © 2019 AESS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-280
JournalJournal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online dateJul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

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learning
social science and humanities
study program
wind wave
whale
witness
climate change
student
social science
drinking water
weather
water
ocean
teacher
experience
natural environment
environmental study
North Pacific Ocean
programme
sea

Citation

Harris, P. G. (2019). Experiential learning in the natural environment: Reflections from the North Pacific Ocean. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 9(3), 276-280. doi: 10.1007/s13412-019-00559-8

Keywords

  • Environmental studies
  • Experiential learning
  • North Pacific Ocean
  • Ocean environment
  • Offshore sailing