Choosing our Future!
At the end of August, three CBEEN members had the opportunity to attend the National Environmental Education Conference at the International Peace Garden in Manitoba. Erika Momeyer, Natasha Burgess and Duncan Whittick had an incredible opportunity to meet with incredible environmental educators from across the country while tackling the conference’s theme, Choose the Future: Environmental Education for a Culture of Change. This conference aimed to provide educators with new hope and ideas, new tools and resources, and looked at the choices we can make to make this culture of change a reality.
Here are some insights, ideas and resources that we took away:
Natasha Burgess: The EECOM conference provided an amazing opportunity to network with many incredible people in the beautiful International Peace Gardens. My eyes were opened to the wonderful work of Green Manitoba, and I appreciated the chance to learn about ‘greening’ efforts in other provinces across the country. I enjoyed the group knowledge-building workshop hosted by Learning For Sustainability’s Pamela Gibson and Natural Curiosity’s Hayley Higdon. Although I had participated in an Inquiry Institute hosted by these organizations in 2015, I found that I still had so much more to learn. They reminded us about the importance of security, developmental appropriateness and inquiry in classrooms, and focused their energy on encouraging teachers to see all ideas as improvable.
Erika Momeyer: All of the workshops and presenters had something meaningful to say. However, the presentation that might have the most “transferability” was Wild Pedagogies – Rivers as Teachers. Of course I enjoyed this because it was about canoeing and the Yukon! But in terms of learning from and/or improving EE, their presentation format was fabulous. Set up as several stops along the way participants “canoed” in groups of two or three. While “canoeing” to the next stop partners discussed a question posed to them related to the presentation but also participants own experiences. This was a great balance of learning from the presenters, getting to meet new people and share thoughts and ideas and moving. It ended with the debut of Remy’s new song Let Your Best Learning Be Wild. That alone is an idea worth sharing.
Duncan Whittick: As usual, my biggest takeaway was the relationships I was able to build from coast to coast to coast. There are so many great organizations with similar mandate to CBEEN in Canada that it is always an incredible learning experience with many takeaways for my work with CBEEN. Also, with CBEEN hosting the 2018 National EE Conference, this was great opportunity to look at what we would like to borrow from this conference, as well as opportunities to make 2018 our own! I think that modelling our practice, and getting outside, incorporating sustainable practices at all levels, and digging in and learning deeply will be key to a successful conference.
Check out these great resources we discovered:
- www.earthsciencescanada.com: WHERE Challenge: Do you know where your stuff comes from?
- www.miningmatters.ca: Free resources about rocks and minerals.
- www.greenmanitoba.ca: Provides free resources for Manitoba schools for composting and recycling.
- http://remyrodden.com/music Remy Rodden’s amazing environmental education music.
- http://foodgrainsbank.ca/product-category/educational-activities/: This website provides many great resources and activities for students to learn about world hunger.
- http://www.coeo.org/pathways-journal.html: This website for Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education provides access to journal articles promoting outdoor learning experiences.
- http://eecom.org/2017-conference: The 2017 National Conference will share how innovative learning inspires connection to nature, more sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods, resilient communities and a life-giving planet. Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia is our host, a thriving and progressive community rooted in traditional cultures, small farms and the spectacular natural setting of the Bay of Fundy.
We were also very pleased to be able to be there to witness Natasha Burgess receive the 2016 Canadian Teacher Award of EE Excellence! http://eecom.org/awards/