In the ancient world, the word ‘genius’ was not used as an adjective to describe a person but yet a place. Genius loci, or ‘the spirit of a place’ gives meaning to the places that we all have that are special to us today. This summer, while traveling across the northwestern and southwestern parts of the United States, I encountered many new favorite moments and places: from watching thousands of bison move across Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park to seeing the geological processes of the Earth create vast, deep canyons like the Grand Canyon. Being surrounded by the beauty of the diverse landscapes of the world allows us to form connections to nature. We cherish the places that we visit
You may be asking yourself, what does PBE look like for me and my students? The opportunities to engage your students in PBE are countless. Many classrooms across the country are engaging their students in things like: gardens, interpretative nature trails, plant studies, water quality studies, investigations of prior land use, insect studies, composting cafeteria waste, weather stations, and the list goes on. When students are able to experience their learning outdoors, they will make connections that cannot be found in a textbook. Before you know it, stories will be shared, memories will be made and deep connections will be established. I hope that you and your students will find your genius loci: the spirit of your place.