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The Values of My Jewish Nature Education

Josh Lake When practicing my Jewish Nature Education pedagogy, there are core values I address in every decision and aspect I practice with learners. These core practices help materialize the learner’s relationship with nature. Awe. I believe that awe is the doorway to God; that without wonder and amazement (awe), God can (and often does) remain elusive. The ability to teach and experience awe is mystifying. The best way I teach awe is to share my own wonder and amazement of the natural world, to become a practicing person of awe. Awe enables me to experience meta cognition and ask big questions, and to be stumped by those questions. Awe enables me to accept that I don't have the answers, and that not having the answers is part of the experience (how can I have the answer to a humpback whale breeching as the sun sets on the horizon?). The possibility of experiencing awe is a guiding beacon for outdoor experiences every time I go outside. Seeds: How does a farmer prepare for the future? She plants gardens, trees, and orchards; the basis for a garden is a seed. Seeds are amazing packets of possibility. Seeds have been prepared by saving the resources (sunlight, nutrients) of today for future use. Educators are farmers of people’s minds. What people experience today (sunlight, learning) should have import for their future selves. Knowledge and awe of today’s experience should be available to grow tomorrow’s actions. I attempt to be a farmer every time I lead an outdoor activity with children.

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