This class is like nothing students have experienced in school before. It is hard, fun, eye-opening, frustrating, time consuming, and rewarding. Students get wet, muddy, smelly, bug-bitten, hot, cold, and sweaty. After this class, students never see the world in the same way again.
Born out of collaboration between Primitive Pursuits and Ithaca College Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences, this class started out as a simple co-teaching arrangement, but has developed into much more. Primitive Pursuits is a local community-based nature awareness educational program that is affiliated with the national movement working to reshape environmental education and reconnecting citizens with nature. In addition, Primitive Pursuits is connected with Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development, and Land Grant Extension Associates. Primitive Pursuits has partnerships with several municipalities, school districts and other local educational institutions.
The I.C.-Primitive Pursuits collaboration has led to the creation of Environmental Sentinels, our innovative interdisciplinary ENVS gateway course; the development of which neither organization could have done alone. This course is an ongoing innovative educational research endeavor and the continued I.C.-Primitive Pursuits partnership is allowing for further development of this new approach to interdisciplinary education. An interdisciplinary course is one that crosses and combines traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. In Environmental Sentinels we are developing an educational experience that crosses not only traditional academic boundaries, but all three of Bloom’s learning domains: cognitive (knowledge), affective (emotions & connection), and psychomotor (physical skills & kinesthetic sense). The collaboration brings together the best of two worlds: the pedagogical & academic expertise of I.C. faculty and the real world experience/application of Primitive Pursuits in experiential environmental education.