Balancing Technology And Nature

For over 50 years, Riveredge has subscribed to an inquiry-based method of learning in which investigation starts with asking questions. We believe that curiosity is the driver of learning and technology is a tool that can be used to capture, explore, and create new ways to deepen our connection with nature.

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Balancing Technology And Nature

For over 50 years, Riveredge has subscribed to an inquiry-based method of learning in which investigation starts with asking questions. We believe that curiosity is the driver of learning and technology is a tool that can be used to capture, explore, and create new ways to deepen our connection with nature.

It’s a beautiful irony, right? A nature center promotes getting outside and being “unplugged," yet also supports tech and nature integration. While Riveredge is certainly a pro-hands on, mud-under-the-fingernails kind of nature center, we also recognize that there is a great opportunity to enlist technology to further learning, make connections, and spark curiosity among today’s digital learners (ah-hem, let's face it, that's you!).

So, how do we balance technology and nature as a force for good to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards?

Our short answer: Meet ‘em where they’re at.

We do this in three main ways.

Integrate

Technology has the power to make visible, the invisible. That's why we work to integrate various digital tools, where they make sense, to advance the learning goals of our school, homeschool, and community programs. With curiosity as the guide, we work with technology, not against, to inspire the next generation to have a deeper connection to nature.

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Amplify

We partner with a wide variety of STEM and conservation professionals to innovate use of technology to answer and explore questions related to the environment on a daily basis. New this spring, we invite you to join us in discovering careers that blend Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with conservation careers through our STEM into Nature event series. See below for more!

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Share

In addition to integrating technology into our programs, we work to evaluate and share best practices for balancing nature and technology not only among environmental education practitioners through the North American Association for Environmental Education's eePRO, but also parents, grandparents, and teachers through our own Riveredge blog. Click the links to read more!

STEM Into Nature With Us

We want to provide you with a chance to see this philosophy in action. Introducing our brand new STEM into Nature series, coming May 3-5, 2018.

Scientists who study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are exploring new ways of learning about the environment through the aid of technology. Drones, robots, underwater ROV's, virtual reality and GIS are just a few of the tools that have enabled the conservation field to elevate to new heights. We invite you to get hands-on with a sampling of these tools and the people behind them while you travel through Riveredge's 380-acre outdoor laboratory. Join groups from all around southeastern Wisconsin and discover the careers that naturally blend STEM and conservation together.

School Day, Thursday, May 3rd, 10-2 p.m. (Learn More And Register Here)

Homeschool Day, Friday May 4th, 1-4 p.m. (Learn More And Register Here)

Community Day, Saturday, May 5th, 10-2 p.m. (Learn More And Register Here)

Want to stay up to date on these events and more technology and nature related programing to come? Sign up here for our Tech & Nature email list and we'll keep you in the loop!

Check out all the fantastic partners making STEM Into Nature possible!

The Need

So why exactly are we so interested in this whole nature and technology intersection again? 

Because we know....

21st century kids grow up in a digitally dominated world.

Many parents feel that their kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices. Read more.

Spending time in nature promotes social and emotional well-being.

Some believe that the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. Studies show that exposure to nature (even in cities) can reduce stress levels by as much as 28% in children.

Read more.

Families and friends are the biggest influence for youth.

Nature and technology are not mutually exclusive. There are infinite opportunities to explore nature through digital tools right in your own backyard. Read more.

Let's work together

If you have any questions, wish to share ideas or opportunities to partner, or simply would like more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Educational Technology & Evaluation Specialist, Carly Hintz at 262-375-2715, cjhintz@riveredge.us, or through this contact form!

We look forward to connecting with you!

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