RRU doctoral students take learning outdoors

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Some adventurous Royal Roads doctoral students spent the first Saturday of their three week residency exploring the rich ecosystems of Vancouver Island.

Some adventurous Royal Roads doctoral students spent the first Saturday of their three-week residency exploring the rich ecosystems of Vancouver Island. Dr. Rick Kool led a small group of RRU doctoral students and faculty on a Pacific west coast adventure field trip. Dr. Kool is an associate professor in Royal Roads School of Environment and Sustainability. His current work relates to environmental education and how it confronts hope and despair, the potential role and place of religion in environmental education and conceptions of change in environmental education and communication. Throughout the day, Rick generously shared his eclectic background in environmental education with us, leading us through the old growth Pacific rainforest, and the amazing marine ecology of the west coast.

This field trip provided an experiential opportunity for doctoral students to learn about the beauty and magic of the west coast environment; and to connect with each other and faculty outside of the classroom and pressures of presentations and coursework. We spent the morning walking through Avatar Grove, where we explored the home of some of the last standing ancient Red Cedar and Douglas Fir on Vancouver Island. Taking the classroom outside, Dr. Kool led us in an inspiring seminar about the importance of this ancient environment; and the current political efforts to protect this natural ecosystem.

We then made our way to Botanical Beach Provincial Park, where we ate our lunch next to the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean, and spent time connecting with each other and enjoying the wonderful weather. After lunch Rick guided us through the amazing botanical marine environment, and we hiked the beautiful Juan de Fuca Trail and discussed how being out on a guided hike was the perfect metaphor for doctoral studies.

We hope that this is the first year of many years to come where we can provide an elective opportunity for our doctoral students to spend time outside of the classroom connecting to nature and to each other.

Follow this link to view a photoblog of our trip.