Wild Becomings: How the Everyday Experience of Common Wild Animals at Summer Camp Acts as an Entrance to the More-than-Human World

Gavan P. L. Watson


This paper describes the partial results of a research project which investigated conceptions of nature and the role of place in environmental education in children who attended Camp Arowhon. Through interviews and observations, utilizing a hybrid research drawing from phenomenography and ethnography, local common wild animals emerged as playing an important role in campers’ embodied connection to place. Through structured “nature programs” and unstructured “free-play,” campers discovered and increased their familiarity of common local animals. Using the deleuzeoguattarian concept of becoming, these interactions are proposed to serve as a starting point through which a child can move on to engage with increasingly abstract aspects of the natural world. Implications for urban environmental education, where these children spend the majority of their year, are discussed.

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