New Place-Based Environmental Education Book Has A Prescott College Connection

New Place-Based Environmental Education Book Has A Prescott College Connection

August 15, 2018 - By Prescott College

Acclaimed Professor of Environmental Studies Doug Hulmes was asked by long time associates to write the foreword to Creative Place-Based Environmental Education: Children and Schools as Ecopreneurs for Change


Doug Hulmes, Professor of Environmental Studies at Prescott College, has a long-time connection with Norwegian Deep Ecologists and leaders in the field of Friluftsliv (Free Air Life) in Norway. So when Jorunn Barane, co-author of Creative Place-Based Environmental Education: Children and Schools as Ecopreneurs for Change invited him to write the foreword for the book, it was a natural choice. “I have known Jorunn Barane for about twenty years,” said Hulmes. “Jorunn teaches at the Sogn og Jord Hagebrusksskulen, she is also the sister of one of my closest friends in Norway, Øystein Barana, who I worked with at Olavskulen Folkehøgskulen (Folk High School) in the field of Friluftsliv in 1991. Øystein is an alumni of Prescott College. He spent a year studying at Prescott College and was the first student to attend from University of Southeast Norway, that was then called Telemark College, where I was a guest professor in 1996-97, and taught in Norway's first interdisciplinary environmental studies program, Norwegian Nature and Culture.”

In Scandinavia, Doug Hulmes has been recognized for his research on Sacred Trees of Norway and Sweden, and was invited to give the closing keynote address at an international conference on Friluftsliv (Free Air Life). “I was invited to participate in a ‘wandering symposium’ in 2016, that was an 8 day trek up the Aurlandsdalen Valley and over the Hardangervidda mountain highlands of Norway that focused on the folklore and stories from the fjord farms scattered along the route that has been used for hundreds of years to carry produce from the Sognefjord to the eastern side of Norway.  The authors of Creative Place-Based Environmental Education believe that a culture's folklore provides a deep connection to the landscape that should be included and considered in place-based environmental education.”

At Prescott College, hands-on experience is an emphasis across many disciplines. Hulmes has used the concept of experiential education for years in the widest variety of settings. As excerpted from his foreword, “I have had the opportunity to study and teach in several different bioregions and cultural settings including Mexico’s Gulf of California, Sonoran Desert and Colorado Plateau Bioregions of the Southwestern United States, as well as cultural groups as varied as the Seri, Navajo, Hopi, Mexican and Norwegian fishermen, farmers and ranchers, and I began to wonder:

1. How does landscape influences culture?

2. How does culture, as a result of its mythology, folklore, traditions, influence contemporary cultural landscapes and how people view the place where they live?

3.  What does sustainable mean, and who has the wisdom to share it?

I have incorporated these questions in a class that I have taught with students from Prescott College, Explorations of Norway Nature and Culture.  During this class, we study relationships between landscape and culture at a variety of places, including the Sogn Jord and Haggebruksskule in Aurland, at the head of Sognefjord, the second longest fjord in the world.”

Creative Place-Based Environmental Education: Children and Schools as Ecopreneurs for Change will be released November 15, 2018. The authors are Jorunn Barane MA, educator and storyteller teaches Ecopreneurship at Sogn Agriculture College, Aurland, where Aksel Hugo Phd is Principal. Morten Clemetson Phd is Professor of rural lansdcape and planning at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Again excerpted from Hulmes’ foreword, “It is a profoundly important piece of work representing years of expertise from the three authors and many others who have contributed to the vision, and I am deeply honored to have been asked to write the foreword for the English version. I had to ruminate on it for a couple of weeks before I could write a first draft and send it off to the Editor for consideration. I feel the Aurland model represents a vision of hope and possibility for making education meaningful and relevant. It also provides an example of how local and regional wisdom and knowledge must be incorporated and influence the content and focus of national and global standards that all too often fail to recognize the importance of place-based education.”