Outdoors with young people
A leader's guide to outdoor activities, the environment and sustainability
By Geoff Cooper

Whether your goals are based in:
  • education
  • recreation
  • personal or social development
  • this book will help you to appreciate the numerous personal, social and organisational skills you can use and develop in the outdoors.

  • Whether you're heading outdoors for the first time, or an experienced outdoor leader…
  • Whether you're working in and around cities or in remote and wild landscapes…
  • This imaginative and practical guidebook will help everyone who wants to provide positive, safe and enriching outdoor experiences to young people of all ages. All you need is an interest to learn in, about and for the environment.

    It provides a simple framework and numerous practical ideas and activities that will help you and your organisation to introduce environmental issues in ways that:
  • enhance the experiences that you want to offer
  • satisfy young people's curiosity and concerns
  • provide low-risk alternatives in adventure-based programmes that can ease funding and staff requirements
  • meet the growing interest shown by national governing bodies in producing environmental codes and guidelines.

  • "Sometimes leaders lack confidence in introducing environmental activities. There is a feeling that they need to be scientists and be able to name plants and animals and explain the complex relationships between them." In the author's own words: "This book firmly dispels this notion. Environmental awareness and understanding often come from direct and positive experiences in the outdoors, and are as much to do with feelings as with scientific knowledge." This material will help you develop your own skills and awareness while helping young people to:
  • find a rich source of enjoyment and inspiration
  • build confidence and self-esteem
  • develop a personal response to the environment around them
  • play more active roles in groups and communities
  • consider - and perhaps adopt - more sustainable lifestyles.

  • The simple structure will allow you to dip in and out of the activities and ideas provided, depending on your needs at any particular time.

    Large format paperback. 160 pages. 978-1-898924-24-1. Published 1998. £14.95.


    A framework for good practice
    Environmental awareness to sustainability
    The value of outdoor experiences
    Learning and leadership
    Linking schools and community
    Encouraging a personal response to the environment
    Personal response through the visual arts and creative writing
    Working together - from groups to communities
    Treading lightly - sustainable use of the outdoors
    Understanding concepts and issues
    Taking action


    "Even the 'hardened practitioner' will find something valuable here, and it will prove indispensable for anyone planning to take young people out of doors - for whatever reason… For those who have never used the outdoors for teaching, the author has 'left no stone unturned', and anyone with reservations will be inspired… It is not necessary to visit wild places." NAFSO Book Supplement.

    "An outstanding book that every outdoor educator should own." Horizons.

    "A strong case is made for using the outdoors as a vehicle for personal and social education as well as for developing a range of skills such as communication, leadership, assertiveness and self-presentation." Newscheck.

    "Classic books do not emerge very often in the world of education but Geoff Cooper has produced a book that will undoubtedly come to be regarded as such…

    "Whether you use the outdoors as a teacher, ranger or youth worker… this book is what you have been waiting for… the distilled essence of over 25 years practical experience, introducing young people and teachers to the outdoors, through field studies, adventure education, practical conservation and the arts…

    "It is obvious from the first page that the book serves as a superb practical tool-kit of ideas, approaches, techniques, strategies, games and methodologies. But unlike other tool-kits I have seen this volume has a strong foundation of educational theory and methodology underpinning the structure…

    "It should be on the reading list of every trainee teacher, ranger and youth worker… a very readable textbook, sprinkled with diagrams, pictures, mental maps and children's poems… includes practical activities, environmental games, case studies, educational approaches and evaluations on a whole range of themes including: adventure and sensory awareness, arts and the environment, residential experiences, field studies, introducing ecology, spiritual awareness, greening the organisation, etc.

    "There is a great deal of practical support and sensory exercises are provided in detail so you can try them out for yourself. Similarly the case studies suggest immediate local parallels which could serve as the basis for projects in your own area." Graham White, Director, City of Edinburgh Environment Centre.