The Nature of Learning and Healing

As experts in student travel, passionate educators and active outdoor enthusiasts, we understand the benefits of travel and education in the natural world. And now, more than ever, we are committed to bringing these benefits to you and your students. Here’s why:

Beyond the well documented educational benefits of outdoor education, more and more medical professionals are identifying specific health benefits of spending time outdoors including: decreases in anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, increasing experiences of awe and inspiring creativity to name a few. With its majestic landscapes, intricate inter-relationships, stop in your tracks aromas, and mesmerizing wildlife, the natural world is a marvel that is always waiting for us to take the hint that we should be spending more time with it.

On a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park with a group of high school students, we hiked through a forest that had burned over 20 years ago. While learning and observing how the forest recovers from such forest fires and cementing core ecological concepts that were learned in the classroom, it became apparent to the lead teacher and me that more was going on. It was obvious that these students were unwinding and releasing the stresses and disappointments of a global pandemic. Then, later in the evening, as we sat around the campfire debriefing the day, the students shared stories about finding inspiration and joy in the forests or while observing wolves off in the distance. In the end, they came together recognizing a unique connection they had formed around their shared interests.

It is for these reasons and more that we have GTrek. It’s a program designed to take teachers and students to some of the most phenomenal outdoor classrooms on the planet so that they can have experiences just like the one above. And the great part is, these programs can be close to home or far abroad. The point is to create a partnership that merges our expertise in travel, education and the outdoor classroom with your interests resulting in a program that leaves a lasting, positive impact on the lives of your students – and you!

Paul Belanger is an educator, naturalist, conservationist, husband and father residing in western Montana. As the Director of the Global Travel Alliance GTrek program, his great passion is to partner with teachers to make the outdoor classroom a reality, accessible and safe for students at all levels.

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