During 2021, the Outdoor Wonders and Learning program has continued to grow in incredible ways. Not only is there a NEW activity in the guide (see Web Designers) in the Animals and Adaptations unit, but there are also five new facilitators in the state of North Carolina, and a fully online version of the workshop!
Toward the end of 2020 OWL provided its first completely online workshop over a period of three weeks. The workshop is hosted on the Schoology Learning Management System, as well as through Zoom. Participants complete some self guided work through watching videos and reflecting on how they would use the activities, and meet three times via Zoom to share ideas, go over content about the guide and the program with a facilitator, and to ask questions about their asynchronous work. This online version of the workshop is worth 10 hours of Criteria 1 credit through the NC EE Certification Program.
In Spring of 2021, OWL also provided hybrid versions of the workshop. In these instances, participants complete some of the work online, like background reading and reflection, then met in person to do activities from the curriculum guide. Due to travel and Covid restrictions this format was not as successful, though workshop evaluation feedback did supply some amazing ideas for making the online work more accessible and “digestible” for participants. This led to a change in the format of the overall workshop (those provided in person and online).
In Fall of 2021, the first OWL Facilitator Training was held at Agape Camp and Conference Center. Five new facilitators from both formal and non-formal education backgrounds, where trained on the history and intention of the OWL program, how to host a workshop, and opened the door to collaboration on a state-wide level. This new Advisory Team for the OWL program meets regularly to discuss curriculum updates, how to use activities with participants of all ages, and how the program can best interact with and reach more educators across the state.