Opportunity and Obligation: A Role for Outdoor Educators in the Sustainability Revolution


  • Adrienne Cachelin University of Utah
  • Karen Paisley University of Utah
  • Dan Dustin University of Utah


outdoor education, outdoor recreation, sustainability, sustainability education


A primary educational challenge of the 21st century is to inspire studentsto become socially and ecologically conscientious citizens whoare empowered, responsible members of the larger world. Outdooreducators and, in many ways, outdoor recreation as a broader field arewell-suited to take the lead in this educational enterprise that requirestranscending the dichotomy between people and nature to see ourselvesin the Leopoldian tradition as plain members and citizens of alarger community of life. Drawing on the strengths of constructivismas a pedagogical approach, outdoor recreation as a pedagogical context,and the inherent compatibility of the big ideas of ecology andrecreation, we assert that outdoor educators, specifically those involvedwith higher education at the curricular level, have both an opportunityand an obligation to be vanguards of the sustainability revolution.



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