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East Central ISD to offer outdoor education classes
DALLAS -- More than 11,000 middle and high school students across Texas are headed back to class this fall to learn about conservation, hunting, fishing, archery, orienteering, camping, and other outdoor skills. The curriculum, now formally adopted by more than 100 schools, including East Central High School, Legacy Middle School, and Heritage Middle School, is part of the Outdoor Adventures education program developed by the Dallas Ecological Foundation.
The Dallas Ecological Foundation is an affiliate of Dallas Safari Club (DSC).
“Outdoor Adventures is designed to introduce students to a lifetime of opportunities in the great outdoors through coursework and activities in their PE classes,” said Scot McClure, program coordinator for the Dallas Ecological Foundation. “This is not your traditional PE course. Instead of teaching PE with basketballs and tennis rackets, we use rods and reels and bows and arrows.”
The curriculum is accredited by the State of Texas and aligns with national education standards.
School participation has grown from 21 to 110 in just the past five years. The program appears poised for continued growth. In addition, educators say enrolled students often see improved self-esteem, attendance, discipline, and grades. Many students also get involved in extracurricular activities, especially at schools where archery teams, fishing clubs, etc., are created as spinoffs of the Outdoor Adventures program.
Teachers in the Outdoor Adventures program receive special training, complete scope and sequence, syllabus, daily lesson plans, and cross-curricular opportunities in math, science, writing, technology and other applications, and more.
A key partner is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The agency’s hunter education, boating safety, angler education, and National Archery in Schools Program coursework and activities are incorporated into program curriculum. Other partners include Midway USA Foundation, Inc., Houston Safari Club, and numerous private donors.
The Dallas Ecological Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation. Its mission is to serve as a grant and funding medium for public and youth education and wildlife and habitat conservation programs worldwide.
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