Thursday, June 2, 2011

Outdoor Places Project

In the beginning of my semester at Macquarie, a person came to my class and talked about a project they were doing about how outdoor places contribute to your learning. After that class I picked up the postcard with some information about it and found more info on their facebook page. I then attended the info session and I was so excited to participate in the project. For the project, you had to write a short narrative about your favorite outdoor place on campus. I already knew my favorite place right from the start. The idea was to take photos of your favorite place, explain why it was your favorite place and how that outdoor place can contribute to your learning environment. So I wanted to share with you what I wrote and my photos I sent in for this project. My narrative and photos will most likely be included in the exhibition for this project next semester. Unfortunately I won't be able to see it since I will no longer be in Australia, but I will be able to communicate with the leader of the project through email on how the exhibition goes. So here is my narrative followed by photos of my favorite place:

How do you use the Outdoor Places on campus in ways that contribute to your learning?

            While walking around campus one day just exploring, I found the perfect place (in my mind) to study, reflect and relax. My favorite outdoor place on campus is behind the Campus Hub building in the big open green field where Mars creek flows through. It’s a special place that I have absolutely fallen in love with. I can be myself, not feel self conscious and be in my own world when I am there. I love to walk over to this spot on sunny days and just sit on the field with few people around and gather my thoughts. Sometimes I just need some time alone, away from other people and some fresh air.             
           Sitting here, I feel the blades of grass beneath me and look around to see the beautiful scenery that surrounds me. Looking straight ahead at the fountain, I watch as the water shoots straight into the air and then falls back down to the ground. In the distance behind the fountain, Scribbly Gum and Turpentine trees stand tall contrasting with the blue sky behind them. Sometimes the sky will be clear and other times, white fluffy clouds will bring even more beauty to the sky. The sounds of nature are all around, from the water rushing through the creek, to the birds chirping as they fly overhead. The nature brings liveliness to this place and when the sun is out, you feel the warmth as it hits your skin and suddenly, for just that moment when you concentrate on the sounds and the scenery, you are one with nature.
            The time I spend here is so important. Not only does it get me out of my bedroom and some fresh air, but I relax and then get a fresh start and focus again. This space is so open and inviting giving me the feeling of freedom. I can have my own space and lots of it, because there is room for people to spread out. Here, I take the time to think and reflect with whatever may be on my mind, whether it’s about school or home. Sometimes I’ll bring my journal along and be inspired to write a story or just write about my day. I write to see how I have changed and progressed in my life. It helps me to remember the day perfectly so that when I do decide to read through my journal I can picture the day like it was yesterday.
By thinking, reflecting and writing, I learn more about myself, whether it was a good or bad day. I reflect on mistakes, thoughts and feelings throughout the day, finding the happiest moment and trying to stay positive. I also take the time to just observe nature, watching the birds and other wildlife that is around me, sometimes trying to imagine what their life is like. There are not too many places like this where you can sit peacefully and observe your surroundings and relax. This makes you appreciate it even more. When I am relaxed and enjoying myself, I get more out of what I am doing, because I can stay focused and then I learn more. The pressure is lifted off my shoulders once I look around at nature and take the time to breathe in the fresh air.
By the time I leave, the sun is setting, letting me know that the day is coming to an end. As the sun sets, it shows even more beauty in nature, with the light shining on just one area at a time changing the dark green grass to look more lime green. As I start to head home, smile across my face, I say goodbye and goodnight to nature. I know I will return, if not tomorrow then the day after. From the scenery, sounds, warmth from the sun and the smell of fresh air, this place will always be a part of me as I appreciate it more and more each time I go there. 

this photo is one of my favorites as the sun sets and you see the 2 different shades of green

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