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Imagine you’ve grown up in a city. Your haunts are public transportation and the shopping centers; you’ve never spent a night outside in your life.
Now imagine you travel hundreds of miles, all by yourself, to explore the “wild:” you enroll in a wilderness canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. You join eight strangers and set of for a week paddling across the border lakes, bringing with you only what you can carry, sleeping in tents, going to the bathroom in the woods, cooking over a fire.
To many of my friends this type of adventure is exactly their cup of tea, with a majority of the urban youth I’ve led as a wilderness canoe guide, this is a terrifying experience. We tend to fear what we do not know, and increasingly for youth in our society nature is connected with fear.
In a time when environmental problems are so abstract, it is essential to have complete knowledge of them. This doesn’t just come from what we learn in the classroom or in books. We need both academic and experiential knowledge to carve out a sense of understanding and place in our increasingly global and complex world.
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