North Country Trail Celebration Events Held at NMU

Friday 14, 2017

The 2017 North Country Trail Association Celebration will be held July 27-29 in Marquette. Presentations, break-out sessions and recognition dinners will be held at NMU and some attendees will stay in campus housing. NMU’s School of Health and Human Performance is co-sponsoring the event. A grant-funded project involving one of Professor Jacquie Medina’s classes and North Star Academy that uses art to strengthen connections to the natural environment will be the topic of a break-out session.

Medina and Kate Hargreaves, an upper-elementary Montessori lead teacher at North Star, received a $500 U.P. Environmental Coalition grant for their project titled “Winter into Spring: Inquiry and Art in our Local Environment.” Students in Medina’s education in outdoor settings class designed, implemented and evaluated environmental education lessons. They accompanied the Montessori students on three outings—two in a wooded area near North Star and one intentionally on the NCT near Tourist Park. The North Star students kept journals of nature drawings and observational writings in the field, then discussed their experiences and crafted poems.

“My students were able to apply what they learned in class to the practical experience of delivering environmental education lessons with a focus on inquiry-based learning,” Medina said. “The use of art is growing in the field of outdoor recreation and education. Articulating the sights, sounds and smells through an artistic medium or written work can give life to that experience and help people form a stronger connection to the environment. And that in turn might increase their sense of caring and desire to take action to protect the places they’re passionate about.

“I have a passion for art and always thought it was a tool to experience things from a different perspective. The beauty of it is that people aren’t telling you how to connect to the environment. You’re able to express it in your own way without trying to conform to someone else’s perceptions. It creates a stronger bond. Our program helps Northern students explore their own connections to the environment and develop skills to be interpreters and help others make the most of their outdoor experiences.”

Students in another Medina-taught class, leisure through the ages, look at how art, music, dance and literature intersect with the outdoors. They write poetry and create art, sharing their work at a December pop-up art show in collaboration with the Marquette Arts and Culture Center.      

Kristi Evans
News Director