Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation (OTF) named elementary physical education
teacher, Mary Driemeyer, their Educator of the Year. The OTF’s Outdoor
Adventures (OA) in-school outdoor education curriculum is now taught in
nearly 1,200 schools across 48 states. The elementary version of the
curriculum was added in the 2020-21 school year, and Driemeyer is the first
elementary OA teacher to be named Educator of the Year. Mary teaches at
Sappington Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri.
has been teaching physical education for nearly 30 years, including archery
through the Missouri Department of Conservation. Three years ago, she
discovered Outdoor Adventures and now includes paddle sports, camping,
survival skills, angling, orienteering, wildlife conservation, and more in
Adventures has been a hit at Sappington Elementary with numerous families
thanking Driemeyer for teaching the unique class. Mary explains why she
values OA, "When I teach OA it engages EVERYONE. It is rare to find subject
matter that engages 100% of the students. They love the outdoor elements,
novel subject matter, tie-in with nature and wildlife, the unique challenges,
the deeper discussions and real-life application. The special connection is
with students who are not as interested in traditional sports and PE subject
matter. It is extremely rewarding to see them find a passion that can keep
them active and outdoors."
and responsibility are two important values that students learn through the
OA lesson, Driemeyer elaborated. "In the conservation lessons students
learn that everyone plays a role in taking care of our wildlife."
Mary played outside a lot as a child, she had never learned to hunt, fish,
camp or enjoy paddle sports until she started teaching Outdoor Adventures.
Now she spends many weekends enjoying the beauty of Missouri's state parks
while kayaking, paddle boarding, or hiking. "Not only has teaching OA
had an impact on my students, but it has also had a HUGE impact on my
lifestyle," Driemeyer commented.
though she is now an OA Educator of the Year, Mary says she still has a lot
to learn, particularly about fishing and Dutch oven cooking. No doubt she
passes this dedication to and enthusiasm for learning about the outdoors on
to her students.
here to watch the fantastic Educator
of the Year video!
the elementary version of the OA curriculum was critical to OTF’ mission
because the earlier kids learn about the outdoors, the more likely they are
to continue outdoor activities in the future. Prior to 2020, the Outdoor
Adventures curriculum was available only for middle and high school students.
studies have shown that children who spend time outdoors at an early age
develop a strong appreciation for nature and physical activities, leading to
a higher likelihood of continued outdoor engagement as adults, whether that is
hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, outdoor cooking, bird
watching, or all of those!
benefits of outdoor activity for kids and adults include improved physical
and mental health, enhanced cognitive development and increased creativity,
and improved communication and problem-solving capabilities. In addition, when
children are allowed to explore natural surroundings, they learn to
appreciate the beauty and wonders of the outdoors, which in turn fosters a
desire to continue experiencing and conserving the outdoors as they mature.
Students in Outdoor Adventures learn outdoor skills and activities, as well
as how land and wildlife are protected through conservation efforts.
today's technology-driven society, where electronic devices often dominate
children's time and attention, it is more important than ever to encourage
kids to spend time outdoors. Parents, educators, and communities play a
crucial role in providing children with opportunities to connect with nature,
whether it be through organized outdoor activities, nature-based education,
or simply encouraging unstructured play outside. Outdoor Adventures is
accomplishing this every school day, reaching more than 100,000 with a
comprehensive outdoor education that kids will enjoy, use, and pass on for
the rest of their lives!
you are interested in getting Outdoor Adventures in your school, or if you
would like to support the mission of the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation by
being an individual or corporate donor, please find more information at www.GoOTF.com or
send an email to info@GoOTF.com.