Plan Ahead

Martha McCormickOutdoor Education1 Comment

Have you ever seen a hydrophone? Neither had I until I visited the Scripps Research Institute to learn about ocean studies. That’s the thing I’m holding in the picture at the top of this post. The researcher who gave us our tour studies whale audiology. If you’re looking for something to do, he needs help analyzing data from hours and hours of audio. Or something like that.

We toured Scripps the first morning we were in San Diego for the NAAEE (North American Association for Environmental Education) annual conference in San Diego in October 2015. Frankly, I was impressed! I didn’t think I’d ever heard of the organization and the conference looked really good.

I realized that I’ve used their materials for a long time. Most recently, NAAEE’s Excellence in Environmental Education provided guideposts for developing Teachers-Going-Green.com.

The focus of the conference was on diversity and inclusion in environmental education–subjects near and dear to my heart. So much to learn and think about. The workshop sessions were well attended, planful and informative. The NAAEE leadership is enthusiastic and positive. The last keynote, a panel of young leaders under 21 years old; their take on environmental stewardship was inspiring.

Shelly Johnson, Education Coordinator at Next Step Adventure, and I attended a variety of sessions. We were particularly interested in a monitoring project called CIMBY (Calumet Is My Back Yard) that the Field Museum in Chicago is doing with high schools in the Calumet region of south Chicago. Ideas percolated from the sessions and from visits with other educators from California, New Mexico and Michigan, to name a few.

Along with the beautiful campus at Scripps we visited the La Jolla aquarium; I’ve always been a sucker for tide pools. We kayaked a fairly choppy Pacific Ocean off the La Jolla beach and caves. We got to visit the world class San Diego Zoo, and on our first afternoon we soaked in the California vibe in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park Conservatory

Balboa Park Conservatory

We came home looking forward to the 2016 conference. And guess what? It’s in Madison, Wisconsin, relatively close-to-home!! It would be a great thing to send a strong and long Iowa delegation there next October 18-22nd. What do you think? Sound like a good idea? Let’s get going!

One Comment on “Plan Ahead”

  1. It was an excellent conference! Looking forward to the 2016 NAAEE Conference! I highly recommend it to others!

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