Do you remember reading my last blog (Bill’s Blog #79, dated 3-16-09), that explained why it was taking so long to clean up the garage and dump some of the boxes that we brought to Petaluma, when we moved here in 1993? Guess what I discovered last week?

A treasure chest! Yes, indeed. As I was searching through various boxes (see photos) looking for an enhanced hearing device for a telephone, I uncovered a dusty box that contained original documents and publications relating to my professional life as the “ECO Educator.” (ECO = Environmental, Conservation & Outdoor Education) You would not believe the “gems” that this cardboard box contained. They are “priceless!” They are treasures that capture the thoughts and spirit of the early pioneers of the School Camping movement (later called Outdoor Education) in the United States. Here are are few examples of these gems:

“Camping and Outdoor Education” by L.B. Sharp & F. De Alton Partridge, May, 1947

“Camping and Outdoor Education Experiences in the School Program,” USOE, 1947.

“School Camping/Outdoor Education: A Guide to the Administration, New York University, School of Education, Summer 1950.

School Camping, George W. Donaldson, Tyler (TX) Public Schools, 1952.

“Outdoor Education Conference Report,” N.Y. State Dept. of Education, 1954.

“Counselor’s Handbook-National Camp,” Outdoor Education Association, 1955.

Program guide for the New England Leadership Training in Conservation and Outdoor Education Workshop, Sargent Camp, Peterborough, NH, September, 1956.

New Jersey Teacher Education Campshop on Outdoor Education and School Camping, Camp Wapalanne, Branchville, NJ, September, 1957.

BTW, a personal note: I was hired by San Francisco State College to develop courses in Outdoor Education and to direct their summer program at Camp Leonard, Sierra County, CA in 1960. Those adventures, however, are another story for another time.

The memories that these various publications, reports, books, and papers generated in my 80-year old brain, after spending 40+ working with projects and programs that also used terminology like conservation, education, environmental education, adventure bound & outward bound education, were over whelming. I am so thankful that I didn’t just “dump” the box prior to our move 16 years ago. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the field of ECO EDUC (also my personalized license plate for years) was a significant thread of my life’s fabric. In fact, it is still woven into how I live, work (as a volunteer), play and learn today. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this treasure chest. Over the past few years, I have donated most of my ECO Education library and printed resources to the California Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) and Sonoma State University’s Pepperwood Preserve. Maybe they will have room for a few more items – correction – “gems.”