Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Paul Sproll

Second Advisor

Nancy Friese

Third Advisor

Catherine Z. Elgin


This thesis serves as both a comprehensive review of the fields of art and outdoor education, and as a practical handbook. Through an exploration of the definitions of art and wilderness to the pedagogy of art, outdoor, and experimental education, this thesis endeavors to make evident meaningful ways of learning. Interdisciplinary learning and multiple intelligence theory support a holistic and interconnected approach to education. Place-based and project-based learning emphasize a multidimensional line of inquiry rooted within a meaningful and personal context. The goal of integrating art + outdoor education is to design learning adventures that cultivate: creativity, leadership, problem-solving, collaboration, challenge, and inspiration. Through a comparison of the pedagogy of art and outdoor education, points of intersection, overlap, and difference emerge. Exemplars are provided from singular to broad, showing how the combined power of art + outdoor education has impacted local communities and national institutions, and created lasting social and political effects. Finally, an appendix of lesson plans, workshops, program outlines, and outdoor artist resources is offered as a field guide to applying art + outdoor education in a variety of contexts. Throughout the thesis, hand-drawn illustrations interpret the academic context while digital photographs provide documentation of experiences. The thesis is encased within a map of the John Muir Trail, in honor of the naturalist, environmental philosopher, and early advocate for the preservation of the wilderness within the United States.

Included in

Art Education Commons



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