On August 11 and 12, the Will Steger Foundation hosted a very successful 6th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education. We had a full Institute this year with over 100 educators from across Minnesota registered. The goals of this year’s Institute were to train educators on our new Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum and online classroom and provide supporting information and resources to enhance the use of the curriculum.
On the first day, Will Steger was the keynote speaker and shared his experiences as an educator. In the afternoon breakout sessions, Kristen Poppleton trained educators on our new Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum, Mary Spivey provided information about climate change and Minnesota’s biomes, Joel Haskard presented examples of clean energy projects in schools and Mick Wirtz and John Olson discussed using journals in the classroom and brought educators outside to journal. The day concluded with Abby Fenton providing inspiring examples of youth action.
Ann Benson, Project Assistant (L)
Kristen Poppleton, Education Program Manager (R)
The second day began with breakout sessions, which included training on our new Minnesota’s Changing Climate online classroom with Ann Benson and Jim Paulson, a presentation on responses to climate change misconceptions and skeptics with Kristen Poppleton, digital photography skills for the classroom with Roger Everhart and strategies for taking students outside with Sil Pembleton and Dan Schutte. The keynote speaker in the afternoon was Karen Campbell who spoke to the group about the Mississippi River in the past, present and future. The day concluded with planning time, and educators received an Explore Minnesota’s Biomes kit to bring back to their classrooms, which was made possible by funding from the Donald Weesner Foundation.
[blockquote]“I thoroughly enjoyed this institute and I believe that the Will Steger Foundation is offering something that nobody else is.”[/blockquote]
Janet Brown, Office Manager, and SI Volunteers (L)
Libby Fones, Education Intern (R)
We were also excited to partner with the National Park Foundation, Mississippi National River and Recreational Area (National Park Service) and Mississippi River Fund to have the Parks Climate Challenge cohort as a part of our Summer Institute. This group of 21 middle school educators from the metro area attended additional sessions with Lyndon Torstenson, April Rust, Randee Edmundson and Mike Davis, which were focused on the Mississippi River and service learning. These educators are eligible to receive a $500 grant for a classroom service project that mitigates the impacts of climate change in the Mississippi River basin.
[blockquote]“It was one of the best, most useful workshops I have been to in a long time. I was engaged, the information was clear and logical, the take away “gifts” will be well used in my classroom and the food was excellent. I think I can use some portion of every session I attended in my classroom, which makes this a success for me.”[/blockquote]
Educators Exploring (R)
All participating educators are excited to bring what they learned and these new resources to their classrooms. We look forward to working with these educators and continuing the Minnesota’s Changing Climate project this school year. Many thanks to our wonderful speakers and generous donors, including Valley Natural Foods Co-op, Common Roots Catering and French Meadow Bakery and Cafe who donated delicious meals for our attendees.
Find out more about the Summer Institute 2011 on our new Minnesota’s Changing Climate online classroom.