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In this episode, outdoor education is what Brett lives for! She is the program director for the Outdoor Education program at Future School of Fort Smith in Arkansas. The small school is a non-profit, public, charter school. Her program focuses on removing barriers of entry to the outdoors for 10-12th grade students from low income or otherwise unstable backgrounds. A large percentage of her students are BIPOC and/or LGBT+. Most of her students have never set foot in a natural area despite living in the natural state. As you know, one of the largest barriers of entry is cost, so we completely remove that. Our program is completely free for our kids. They get equipment, qualified instruction, and transportation to all of our activities.
Her school has a three-pronged approach to Outdoor Education. They start our program off by zeroing in and developing communication and leadership skills, then blend Outdoor Recreation activities with classroom lessons about public lands, ethics, and natural resources. In the classroom they focus hard on public land management and administration, legislation going on around public lands, Leave No Trace Ethics, and stewardship. They also have a unit on how the Outdoor Industry is a driving force in economics and what kinds of jobs are available in the industry.
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