Getting it Right from the Start- EOTC

I am VERY excited to announce another FREE resource for educators!

Last year I was asked to be a contributing author for a new book entitled Establishing an International School: Getting it Right from the Start published by Woodard Schools in the UK.

I gladly accepted and now you can download my contribution to Getting the Curriculum Right- Education Outside the Classroom!

Click the book cover below to download the section on EOTC.

Click here to download Getting it Right- EOTC

Or click below to download the full version for FREE!

And don’t forget about out other FREE STUFF and resources that will help you get plan and implement and EOTC program at your school!

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Essays & Publications



Click the links below to check out my essays & publications for thought provoking reading for you, your students, friends and community!

Why we weed to Walk Between The Worlds– this might very well be the key to your survival.

Lunchtime on the GallatinNotes from the Montana Woods–  an essay about rivers, trout fishing and the beauty of nature!

The Greatest Loss– an essay about the loss of silence and solitude.

Sailing Samsara– an essay on hope rekindled by individuals taking action for conservation.

Congratulations!– The Universe conspired to create you in a Cosmic Creative Calypso!

Falling Down– Fall down. Get up. Repeat!

Material World was Madonna right?!

The Box People– an illustrated children’s book with the message to get outside and connect with nature.  Get out of your box!

Young Homeless Professional– lessons I learned when I was homeless.

Waffle House Prophets– poems inspired by the freaky, bizarre encounters in America’s finest diner.

As if the Earth Matters– multi-disciplinary activity guide and educator resource for outdoor education

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Mt. Agung- Disruption & The Long Wait

Want to help the folks in the Agung Relief Camps?

Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how YOU can get involved!

It’s been two weeks since we left our home of the past four years in the middle of the night to escape the potential eruption of Mt. Agung in Bali.

I can’t deny it’s been stressful.

It’s especially stressful moving house on the spur of the moment to a new place leaving our friends, familiar surroundings and daily routines behind.

Stressful wondering if schools will cancel their Education Outside The Classroom Expeditions with me. Trips we’ve been prepping and planning for well over a year now.

Stressful wondering if I’ll have work in the future.


But it is all relative and we definitely always keep that in mind.

There are folks that are much more rooted to the land with their livestock, farms, homes and livelihoods pinned to the slopes of a mountain lying in the shadow of a volcano.

They can’t just uproot themselves and leave. They are tied to their villages and homes. Their livelihoods are there.  Their entire lives and all of their memories are there. They don’t have the options or choices we have. The mountain is their life.

The waiting and not knowing.  The uncertainty is the hardest part.

It dominates all of our conversations with people we know and with strangers we meet.

What will happen?  When will it erupt?  Will it erupt at all?  How much damage will it cause if it erupts?

The truth is no one knows.

No one can predict if or when an eruption will occur.

This could go on for weeks, months or even a year or more.

Not knowing is now our daily business.

So we do what we can do and we wait for an eruption to occur.

So here’s what we’ve done so far:

Since September 22nd, we’ve managed to organize a team of 70+ volunteers with members of the Bali Chapter of the Association Experiential Learning Indonesia (AELI) and devise a long term strategy for providing assistance to those living in the Relief Camps.

See the video below of an AELI volunteer playing games in one of the relief camps!


With the advice and information from many chats and conversations with people living in the camps and government officials in charge of the camps we’re providing requested supplies and education and entertainment for kids (an adults!) in the camps.



After chatting with Dr. Janine Krippner and learning more about the health hazards of ash fall we’ve embarked on a plan to educate locals on the proper use of masks as well as sourcing and supplying masks to folks in the camps.




To achieve those goals we’ve raised approximately US$1200 to buy much needed supplies and masks and started an online fundraising campaign with a partner based in the UK.

(click the link above to help out!)

And we’ll keep going.

If I have learned anything from this it is that in the end we are all the same. We all have the same worries, the same fears and celebrate the same successes.

I’ve seen folks I don’t know reach out to me and offer help and assistance. People that I have no idea who they are or even where they are at the moment reach out and donate their time, energy and good will.

Indonesian, Dutch, German, British, American, Canadian, African, South African, Thai, Singaporean and Malaysian are just a few of nationalities of the folks that contacted me.

At the core of it is knowing that all of the differences between us are just a cracker thin veneer hiding the iceberg of similarities percolating just below the surface.

And the potential eruption of Mt. Agung cracked that veneer and exposed us all!

Please contact me if you want to get involved and help out…

How you can help:

  1. Donate to the cause !
  2. Make a poster to help us educate locals about the health hazards if ash fall from an eruption (especially needed in Indonesian & Balinese languages!)- see examples below needed in less technical & more kid-friendly format!
  3. Help spread the word (share this post!)
  4. Donate masks & goggles (contact me for more info!)

We need more posters like these (below) to use for our Ash Fall Health Hazards & Safety Educational Outreach to the camps. (especially less technical in a kid-friendly format in Indonesian & Balinese Languages!)

If you can make a poster like this (kid-friendly in Indonesian), scan it and send it to me please let me know!











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Mt. Agung- Relief Camps & How You Can Help!

Command Center

I suppose we are refugees.  Technically speaking, of course.

My wife and daughter fled our home in the middle of the night on a motorbike with four bags.

Still no eruption but plenty of earthquakes and some gas escaping.

We are fine now.  We’re 20km+ from the caldera and in the safe zone. But for some reason Tom Petty keeps running through my head!


I’ll admit it was a bit scary, a bit stressful, a bit freaky to leave our home in a hurry.  Even though we were prepared mentally because of the warnings and had taken precautions to have bags packed ready to go it was still a bit surreal to actually hop on the motorbike that night and leave it all behind.

We love East Bali. We’ve lived here for almost four years and have become part of the community. My daughter goes to a local school. We have friends and neighbors nearby.

Rice fields and mountains


Karangasem is a quiet, peaceful place dotted with rice fields, black sand beaches and spectacular views of Mt. Agung.

Amlapura, where we live, is a very local small town with just enough energy and busyness to keep you happy but not too much that’ll stress you out.

Idyllic really.

Now we aren’t sure when or if we will return.


So we carry on and try to get on with daily normal life.

For us it’s a disruption. We’re the lucky ones. We have friends willing to help. We have an education. We have access to accurate information.

We have options. Not everyone does.

Imagine you’re a farmer and your whole village was loaded on a truck and then plunked at a relief camp far from your home. Your collective memory is of the 1963 eruption that killed 1000+ people.

Chances are you don’t quite understand what’s going on and you especially don’t understand the geology of it all. Much less the risks, hazards and long term effects

Even though the information is out there you don’t really know where to look or how to find it.

You are worried about your cows, pigs and chickens that are left on the mountain. Who will feed them?

You’re worried about your village and home.

All you know is that the government showed up in big trucks and buses and told you that you have to leave right away.

That’s where we are now so we’re prepping for a long term wait for the eruption if and when it comes.

On September 24th, I visited the Disaster Relief Command Post as well as some of the relief camps with members of the Bali chapter of the Association of Experiential Learning Indonesia (AELI)

I didn’t know it at the time but it turns out the AELI folks are the perfect group for a situation like this!

They are all professional outdoor educators.  Well versed experiential learning and adventure trip leaders trained in First Aid, CPR and Basic Life Support.

They’re all experienced in logistics and organizing large groups and know how to play games for team building and fun!

Their response was immediate, thoughtful, well planned and professional.

Combine that with a camp full of people and lots of kids and you got it.

This is what we do!


So now we have a plan.

Starting October 2nd we’ll be making weekly visits to different camps to provide the following:

  1. Provide and cook nutritional food (i.e. vegetables & fruits because now there is an overstock of instant noodles!)
  2. Work with kids and adults for education, play games, have some fun & entertainment (because it’s hot & boring at the camps!)
  3. Ash fall education using resources from the sites below. (A HUGE THANKS to Dr. Janine Krippner for up to date, accurate, scientific information!)
  4. Collecting donations to buy supplies and hopefully source masks!

How you can help:

  1. Source masks and send them to us (contact me for details & address)
  2. Donate money so we can buy supplies (i.e. vegetables, toiletries, bedding etc.)- contact me for details
  3. Spread the word & share this blog!

Stay tuned for more updates!





































































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Mt. Agung Bali- It All Drops Away

We got the notice about 9pm. Luckily, we were prepared.

A few days before the status of Gunung Agung in East Bali went from Level I (normal) to II (alert).  Then quickly elevated again and went to Level III (standby).

We weren’t too worried. We had bags packed.  Important stuff. Emergency route was planned and we would evacuate to go stay with friends.

When neighbors started leaving we were calm and planning to stay until it went to Level IV (caution).

There was plenty of misinformation on social media.

People claiming it was raining fire and stones. It wasn’t.

Videos of other volcanoes erupting with captions that it was Agung. It wasn’t.

People panicking and envisioning fire and brimstone and imagining themselves running just ahead of a pyroclastic flow of red hot lava. They wouldn’t.

That was my biggest concern. Panic. Mayhem and misinformed people. Chaos.

I was more worried about how people would react more than how the mountain would erupt.

When I teach First Aid, CPR, Emergency Management and Response I always say Stay Calm, Don’t Panic.

But honestly, I don’t know how to teach Don’t Panic. I think it only comes with experience. Once you’ve been in a jam, a bad situation and you come out the other side OK then you learn Don’t Panic.

A friend once told me my philosophy is It’s all good in the end. And if it ain’t good then it ain’t the end.

By and large, I think that’s true. It comes from being in emergency situations and surviving them. Popping out the other side unscathed. I am sure that’s how I learned Don’t Panic.

At 9pm on September 22nd we got notice. Agung was elevated to Level IV (caution)- the highest level. A quick check on the government websites confirmed.

Time to leave.

So with my wife and five year old daughter we loaded our motorbike with four medium sized bags and took off into the night.

The roads were crowded. Thousands of motor bikes. Hundreds of bemos. Dozens of large trucks all on the main road heading out of town.

There was a steady stream of traffic from Karangasem in East Bali towards the south into the safe zones. But overall it was smooth.

The traffic was moving. A few people were panicking but by and large it was going well.

We had a motor bike. We have friends. We have options. Not everyone does.

Along the way we saw folks waiting on the side of the road hoping to hop in a truck or possibly waiting for someone to come and pick them up.

The waiting and imagining. Not knowing. That’s the worst part.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be waiting on the side of the road during an evacuation and hoping you will get a ride or your ride will arrive in time.

Excruciating. Nerve wracking.

A few trucks were headed the other way. Presumably to evacuate folks from the 12km radius of the No Go Zone.

An hour later we were at a friends house in the safe zone. We’re 20km+ from the caldera. The government has evacuation camps set up nearby.

The restricted zone is a radius of 12km at the moment.  With that designated as the No Go Zone no one should be within that area but some folks have no choice.

Stories of farmers getting cheated by folks that bought their cows for next to nothing were already circulating. The poorest farmers on the slope of Agung would be hit the hardest. They would potentially lose their livestock and their land.

They were the ones living in the No Go Zone and being evacuated on big trucks with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.

Some folks were taking advantage of this and buying the cattle at next to nothing rates from panicked farmers that saw no other choice.

Sad. Infuriating. Reality.

Luckily, not everyone is like that.

One farmer sent out a notice that he would house cows for free! People could relocate them to his land and he would feed them and keep them until the danger passed.

Other folks were reaching out and helping.

From what I could see who you were, where you were from, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, white or brown didn’t matter any more.

It all dropped away.  We only saw people. Other people doing what we were doing. Preparing to leave.

People weren’t stopping to ask. They were just helping and doing what they could.

During a time of crisis those things don’t truly matter. People were helping each other however they could. We were sharing updates and information. Folks were carrying and loading stuff for each other.

The superficial differences disappeared. People helping people.

When will we learn that those differences never truly matter? Seriously.

We’re lucky. We had plenty of warning and the majority of folks have been evacuated to safe zones and camps or made it to friends and family.

Now the work begins.

We have to be in this for the long haul. We can’t predict when the eruption will occur and folks might be in the camps for months.

There’s no way to know. We can’t predict or control the situation.

What we can control is our reaction and the actions we take.

We’ll be working with the local camps to bring in supplies and more importantly to work with the children in the camps to provide some fun, education, entertainment and stave off the boredom that’s likely to come in the long term.

Please let me know if you want to get involved and help out!

We’ll especially need volunteers to work with students as well as school supplies. Games, coloring books, crayons and fun stuff for kids!

Mt. Agung on Sept. 14 2017 on the street where we live

Kids in one of the camps nearby

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