Learning About Outdoor Learning

Morehead State University's Appalachian Future Educators grow their place-based prowess through engaging Kentucky's natural landscape.

March 30, 2022 |
Appalachian Future Educators Students in the Field

Pictured: Students from the Volgenau College of Education and Paul Lovelace, Founder and Director, Teach Outside. Photo courtesy of Dr. Chris Beckham.

The Appalachian Future Educators program at Morehead State University, the lead for our Appalachia Regional Hub, was planned and funded through the 2021 Catalyst Initiative. In additional to seeding the program itself, these funds allowed AFE students to embark on fantastic examples of place-based instruction, including an earlier reported theatrical retelling of Alice Lloyd's life by Kentucky Chautauqua. Thank you to Dr. Christopher Beckham, Director of AFE and Associate Professor of Education, for sharing these stories!

Morehead, KY - March 29th, 2022

MSU's Appalachian Future Educators with Paul Lovelace of Teach Outside
Paul Lovelace, Founder and Director of Teach Outside and Morehead State University AFE Students. Photo courtesy of Dr. Chris Beckham

Paul Lovelace, Founder and Director of Teach Outside, recently visited with the Appalachian Future Educators and other MSU Education students and faculty on March 28, 2022. Gathering at Morehead State University’s Eagle Lake, participants learned about ways to develop lessons utilizing outdoor spaces and natural ecology.

Lovelace guided students on how to determine the best usage of available outdoor spaces, as well as important considerations on making spaces accessible for learners of varying abilities and ages. He explained the importance of understanding the natural ecology of a given space, and how that can serve as a lens for exploration and learning.

Lovelace noted that while interest in outdoor classrooms grew as a result of the world-wide pandemic, use of outdoor classrooms and place based learning can and should endure long after the pandemic has ended.

The event was sponsored by the Appalachian Future Educators Scholarship Program and the Appalachian Regional Education Hub of the MSU Volgenau College of Education, and made possible with funding from a Catalyst Grant from the Rural Schools Collaborative.

The Appalachian Future Educators Scholars Program (AFE) Scholars Program provides scholarships, support and mentorship for students from Eastern Kentucky who are interested in teaching. The program’s purpose is to enhance the pipeline of qualified educators and educational leaders returning to the 22 counties in MSU historical service region. Through this program the Volgenau College of Education is strengthening partnerships with school districts in identifying, recruiting, and mentoring students from the region so they can return and give back to their home communities as rural educational leaders. For more information about this event, the AFE Scholars Program, or the Appalachian Regional Education Hub, please contact the Dean of the Volgenau College of Education Dr. April Miller (ad.miller@moreheadstate.edu) or AFE Program Director Dr. Christopher Beckham (c.beckham@moreheadstate.edu).

To learn more about rural teacher preparation efforts, please explore our Rural Teacher Corps page and partnered programs. The 2021 Catalyst Initiative is a part of RSC's Catalyst Fund, which seeks to grow number of rural teacher preparation efforts through dedicated philanthropy at the local level.

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