We are engaged in three spheres of educational undertaking:
Advancing Environmental Education and Ecological Literacy
Environmental education is an intrinsically multidisciplinary activity, involving a wide range of organizations that weave a rich tapestry of educational experiences.
At Nature Campus, our emphasis is on advancing a scientific way of thinking about the environment. Participants learn to recognize and appreciate the other creatures – large and small – that share the Earth’s resources with humans, and to develop an understanding of the processes that maintain the Earth’s ecosystems. These insights enhance the ability to cope with, and be effectively involved in, the conflict between a growing and developing humanity and the rest of the living world. Indeed, today there is increased awareness that in order to cope with the environmental crisis, it is not enough to love the environment. What is needed is a scientific understanding of the complexity of ecological processes.
Educating for Universal Humanistic Values
Scientific education as well as environmental education teaches us how to explore the world around us, or in other words, how to relate to things outside ourselves. This is also an important element in universal humanistic education. Goals common to both scientific and humanistic education are teaching young people how to relinquish preconceived notions and emotional prejudices, how to develop abilities of observation, and how to develop humility regarding man’s place in the world.
What, then, is the difference between the two disciplines? Although both subscribe to the same value system, the difference lies in the context. While humanistic education emphasizes the relation between man and his fellows, and between man and the social structures he has created, science education aims to achieve the most objective and rational awareness possible of the external world.
Opening the Gates of Higher Education to the Public
Nature Campus also has a social mission. Many of the participants are from underprivileged neighborhoods and towns; their visit to Nature Campus is often their first encounter with the world of higher education and scientific research. Such an experience can have a tremendous impact on their view of university studies and on their decisions regarding their future academic careers.
The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the subsequent one in 2002 in Johannesburg, pointed to “education for all” as a central mission in promoting the value of the environment. We at Nature Campus wholeheartedly believe in the importance of this mission.