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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Experiential Learning in Banff: Insights from a Horse Ride

[#learning + #travel 🇨🇦🍁] Put me in a museum for a few hours and I’m unlikely to be able to tell you much about what I learned. Museums aren’t a good learning environment for me. But put me on on a horse, go for a ride, talk to me about the surrounding nature and history while you show me the things you’re telling me about, and I’ll remember everything. Not just that - I’ll be able to do a write up too.

Here’s what I learned during a horse ride with a local team here about the quaint yet epic town of Banff, near Calgary in Canada:

🏔️Banff is surrounded by stunning mountains. There is a rule that doesn’t allow any tall buildings to be put up here, so that the mountains can always be seen from the Town Centre. I like this rule.

🔥Forest fires have been raging here recently. But in fact, they can be useful for the forest and animals, as they clear the way for new growth and some fruits and foods can’t be eaten by the animals unless they are cracked open by heat. I always had the impression fires were bad. Not so.

🐻There are about 200 bears in Banff. There is a great misunderstanding that they are meat eaters, when in fact they are semi-vegetarian, and only eat about 10% meat.

🫐When bears eat their 90% veg, it’s mostly made up of berries. Let’s play an estimation game that the guides did with me (if you’re playing, don’t scroll or glance down past the white space until you’ve guessed):


How many berries do you think a bear eats each day?



The answer is 250,000 berries PER BEAR, per day! My guess of 1000 was a mere sprinkle of the salt in a bear’s daily diet. 🙈


I was edutained on my horse ride and in turn, my family were entertained with my fun facts about Banff. I hope you enjoyed some of them too.

I think I remembered so much because it was experiential and so fun - for me. I’ve long been aware that I learn really well when I’m experiencing something, or being shown something in real time. And when I’m having fun. Especially outdoors in nature.

It reminds me of that compelling quote/idea about learning:

‘Tell me, I will forget,

Show me, I may remember,

Involve me, I will understand’

#Overtoyou: Where and how do you learn best? What do you do to create experiential and outdoorsy learning experiences for your workshops or learners?

🎥Footage from said horse ride around Bow River Lake. This is Banff, Canada. 🇨🇦🍁

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