by Jennifer Brown and Kathleen Race
When we spoke with Stefan Moss, a science educator at Whitefield Academy, a K-12 registered Eco-School in Atlanta, Georgia, he was working on a garden project collaboration with Whitefield’s middle and lower school. The partnership allows students the chance to get their hands dirty and learn about sustainability, self-sufficiency, and environmental stewardship. His answers are captured below: Why do you think outdoor classrooms are important? The payoff is immediate as an earth science teacher. It’s an easy win — getting them out of the four walls! There are so many collaborative things you can do. You can partner with an art teacher, and the students can draw the wildlife they see, or if you’re an English teacher, you can have the students write poetry about what’s happening in nature. There are many cross-cutting ideas and opportunities for real collaboration. Tell us about your Farm to Cafeteria Project Our long-term goal is to harvest fresh food from the campus garden and make it available in our school cafeteria, which shortens the supply chain and eliminates the need to purchase from out of state or elsewhere. When we grow locally, we know it saves fuel and provides confidence that there’s no funky stuff! We’d love it if, in the future, all the fresh things we eat are grown on campus. We are also building a relationship with a community food bank to provide fresh vegetables. What is your perspective on outdoor classrooms as a science teacher? They are awesome! You can observe, collect data, practice mindfulness, and potentially discover new things. It’s all right there in your face. Nature has so much to offer and to teach us. Outdoor education is the future. Why do you like being part of Eco-Schools USA? Being part of the National Wildlife Federation is important because it shows that you have a deeper commitment to the work of environmental stewardship and conservation beyond, “we’re a school that teaches science, the end.” We want students to understand, on a deeper level, that there are actual applications and tangible benefits outside of the classroom. Students will grow up and say, “I had a garden when I was in middle school, I’m going to have a garden in my backyard, and I’m going to eat local.”
To book Stefan Moss for an upcoming event, click here .