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Education for Sustainability Summer Institute July 21-22 at WKU

WKU will sponsor its first Education for Sustainability Summer Institute (EFSSI 2011) for Kentucky and the region on July 21-22.

The event will target preK-16 educators, administrators and non-formal educators, who are invited to come and learn about successful program models and practical strategies for integrating sustainability into classes, schools and districts.

EFSSI 2011 will be held in the new Gary A. Ransdell Hall, the first large public university building in Kentucky to be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and will be hosted by WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability.

On a worldwide basis, Education for Sustainability (EFS) is a rapidly emerging field in education. It is not a specific discipline, but rather an approach to education that emphasizes systems-thinking, long-term perspectives and trans-disciplinarity, as well as experiential education and lifelong learning. EFS links the economy, society and environmental realms and explores their intersection with global responsibility. EFS engages students in real-life problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and action within their communities.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Roslyn McGeown, Secretariat for the UNESCO Chair on Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability. Dr. McGeown will address the U.N. Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which began in 2005 and will end in 2014, and the international education community’s commitment to ESD.

Dr. Bill Hammond, Professor Emeritus at Florida Gulf Coast University, will be the plenary speaker. Dr. Hammond has worked for more than 50 years on behalf of children and the environment as a teacher, faculty member, program director and education/environmental consultant. He has presented widely in the U.S. and internationally, and has advised more than 250 nonprofit organizations about outdoor learning and capacity building through developing partnerships between schools and communities. Dr. Hammond will also conduct an interactive session on Creative Journaling.

In addition to the renowned speakers, the summer institute will include concurrent presentations, hands-on technology workshops, program share sessions, poster sessions, field trips and a Project Learning Tree certification workshop. Special events will include a wine and cheese reception at the Service One Credit Union LEED Platinum building, a book fair, Exhibitor’s Hall and Fair Trade vendors, and a swap table. Regional educators involved with sustainability education, research and international programs are encouraged to submit one or several presentation proposals within the three session strands: Introduction to Sustainability Education; Curriculum Integration; and Connecting with the Community.

Registration is open for participants. The early bird fee is $50; after June 1 the registration fee is $65. The fee will be waived for faculty and staff who present at EFSSI 2011 and who attended the Education for Sustainability Faculty Development Retreat in June 2010, and also for students who present posters.

EFSSI 2011 will be a “green” event, as a model to participating schools.  The facilities – Gary A. Ransdell Hall and Service One Credit Union – are built to LEED standards and are models of sustainability themselves. Flash drives will be provided to attendees with conference proceedings, handouts and other materials uploaded to make the event paperless. Hybrid buses from WKU Parking and Transportation Services will be used for the field trips. Local foods and music will be featured at the reception. A “take one, leave one” swap table will be set up for reusable bags, bottles and other items.  Recycling and composting bins will be provided throughout the conference.

A complete schedule of events, call for presentations, exhibitor’s application form, and registration form are available online at www.wku.edu/cees/.

For information, contact cees@wku.edu or call Nancy Givens, Sustainability Programs Development Coordinator, Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability, at (270) 745-6842.

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