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Natalie Gillis '15
Environmental studies and sociology student Natalie Gillis (’15) is developing curriculum for new outdoor classrooms at the local elementary school.

This past summer, Gillis worked on this project which will not only become her honours research paper but will have an immediate positive impact on the local community.

She received a Mount Allison summer research award to carry out the project. When students arrived at Salem Elementary School this September they saw a very different backyard. There is a new outdoor classroom, gardens, a wetland, and new equipment to allow students to learn about weather and energy.
Gillis is looking at emerging trends in education for sustainable development and outdoor environmental education using Salem Elementary as a case study. 

“I am researching and developing grade specific curriculum activities so teachers can use the new features being constructed. This includes all subjects, from language arts, social studies, art, math, to science,” says Gillis.

Gillis spent a busy summer reading articles on place-based education, outdoors education, and education for sustainable development as well as the entire New Brunswick curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 4. She also looked at what Manitoba and the US are doing in this area, as they are ahead of other regions in developing outdoor education.

Hear more about Gillis’s summer research project on CHMA — Mount Allison’s student/community radio station.