2013 Kansas Environmental Education Conference

 Connecting Community Through Environmental Education July 25-27, 2013 at the Meridian Center in Newton, KS

The Kansas Environmental Education Conference (14th Annual) and the Kansas Green Schools Conference (5th Annual) are joining forces this year to offer you the very best in conservation and environmental education professional development, networking, and exploring the outdoors. We aim to provide an engaging, inspiring, fun and educational experience for both school-based (PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents) and non-formal/community-based (zoos, parks, museums, natural resource agencies, offices of sustainability, out-of-school-time programs, scouts, etc.) educators alike, with an emphasis on finding new ways to work together.

Because each conference participant has unique professional development needs, we will offer "a la carte" registration, allowing you to build the conference experience that will make the most of your professional development time and dime.

 

Keynote Address by Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine Inspiration Guaranteed!

Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx teacher/administrator. His extended student and community family has grown over 30,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance. His classroom features the first “Edible Wall” which feeds 450 students healthy meals & trains the youngest nationally certified workforce in America creating 2,200 youth jobs. Stephen is dedicated to harvesting hope and cultivating minds and has inspired the nation. He recently lost over 100 pounds modeling positive behavior and eating what he and his students grow in the school. See Stephen speak on TEDx - his enthusiasm is contagious!

Conference Schedule of Events:

Thursday, July 25

Target Audience: PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents

Pre-Conference Workshop: Growing Communities Together Through Environmental Education

Discover innovative ways to re-imagine schools as a tool for growing and cultivating healthy, active, and school-engaged communities. Learn how to jump-start the community and school partnerships in your area. By engaging the community around your school to take an active role in partnering with and supporting school efforts you will find several great opportunities for partnerships that will be beneficial to all. Throughout this hands-on workshop you will gain the tools and resources necessary to engage your community and connect these efforts to your curriculum by participating in several environmental education activities from Project Learning Tree, PLT Secondary Modules Introductory Guide, and PLT Places we Live. We will also explore activities from two environmental education initiatives The Kansas Green Schools Investigations and the Kansas School Gardens Curriculum. By combining activities from these resources you will learn how to foster the relationships between your communities and schools and create an exciting new model for partnership!

Workshop participants will receive Project Learning Tree K-8 (for K-8 educators) or PLT Places We Live & PLT Secondary Module Introductory Guide (for secondary educators), instruction in using online curriculum from the Kansas School Gardens and Kansas Green Schools websites, lunch, and the option of one hour of graduate credit (additional $70 fee payable at the workshop) through Baker University if attending the Pre-Conference Workshop and at least one day of the Kansas Green Schools and Environmental Education Conference.

Cost: $45
Location: Walton Rural Life Center – Newton, Kansas

Group outing for dinner in Newton, followed by hospitality suite at the conference hotel.

 

Friday, July 26

Target Audience: PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents

Opening Keynotes:

Doug Pickert - The Nature of Play

Dr. Elizabeth Ablah - Walk-about Newton: How do Community Environments Encourage or Discourage us in Connecting with Nature?

 

Community Classroom Concurrent Sessions (off-site, choose one of the following 3 options)

Walton Rural Life Center
Walton Rural Life Center, part of the Newton USD373 district is a K-4 charter school with a novel curriculum of hands-on learning that is entirely focused on agriculture. One of only two such elementary schools in the country, Walton scores in the top 5 percent on the state’s standardized achievement tests; it has been celebrated by the U.S. Department of Education; and educators come from across the country to learn its secrets. Come explore how project-based learning has spelled success for this elementary school. We will tie the Kansas Green Schools of Excellence Program into our community experience while incorporating some of the green school investigations that you can incorporate into your own school site!

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains
Travel to the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, KS to immerse yourself in all the prairie has to offer. We will be welcomed by Arboretum staff, learn about their unique school partnerships and education programs, and enjoy a brief tour of the grounds, featuring native wildflowers in bloom, prairie grasses, trees and wetlands. This diverse landscape will serve as our outdoor classroom as we engage in a variety of hands-on, minds-on activities to learn about prairie flora & fauna, habitats, and restoration. These educational activities will cover multiple age levels and subject areas, including take away components and ways to adapt them to your classroom and community.

Growing Community Connections through Gardening
Explore how communities can become inviting, healthy, fun, and accessible places to play and learn in the outdoors. As part of the community, schools can take an active role in building relationships and partnerships that help to promote healthy, outdoor learning environments. One fantastic example of school and community partnership is gardening. We will stop at two area gardens where local gardeners will showcase their community garden projects, and we will participate in fun, hands-on activities from the Kansas School Gardens Initiative that you can use to engage students in your classroom in gardening!

Green Schools Concurrent Sessions (on-site)

This year's concurrent sessions will be organized around the theme of school/community connections, collaborations and partnerships. Click Here to view a list of concurrent session topics & presenters.

 

Afternoon Keynote: Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine

Target Audience, EVERYONE! Both PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents AND non-formal/community-based educators

 

Roundtable Discussion Sessions

Target Audience, EVERYONE! Both PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents AND non-formal/community-based educators

These facilitated discussions will provide an opportunity for both community-based and school-based educators to discuss important topics, identify new resources, and strengthen collaborations. Click Here to view a list of roundtable discussion themes and descriptions.

Dinner on the Patio and On the Spot Photo Contest at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains , followed by hospitality suite at the conference hotel

 

Saturday, July 27

 

A Taste of EE:

Target Audience, EVERYONE! Both PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents AND non-formal/community-based educators

Don't miss out on this year's Taste of EE session! Experience innovative ideas, activities and resources from experienced environmental educators and green schools that you can take home and use right away. During the session you will have the opportunity to stop at several different stations where you will enjoy hands-on/minds-on EE activities while learning the tips and tricks of using them from Kansas educators who know them best.

 

Kansas Green Schools Leadership Seminar

Target Audience: PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents

This skill-building session will help all involved with Kansas Green Schools to take your programs to the next level of excellence. Topics may include: Grant writing/fund raising; marketing and communication; getting buy-in with other teachers and administrators; building functional teams; strategies for meaningful student engagement; connecting green schools to CC and NGSS; engaging community; getting recognition and making the most of it (KGS Certification); and more!

 

Concurrent Sessions

Target Audience: Non-formal/community-based educators

This year's concurrent sessions will be organized around the theme of organizational/leadership development & strategic innovation. Click Here to view a list of concurrent session topics and presenters.

 

Roundtable/Affinity Group Discussion Sessions

Target Audience: Non-formal/community-based educators

These facilitated discussions will provide an opportunity for non-formal educators to discuss important topics, identify new resources, and strengthen collaborations. Click Here to view a list of affinity discussion themes and descriptions.

 

Lunch, Business Meeting and Keynote Address

Mike Brown of Brainzooming - "Taking the NO out of Innovation"

Target Audience, EVERYONE! Both PreK-12 Preservice and inservice teachers, administrators, school staff and parents AND non-formal/community-based educators

 

Organizational Development Workshops

Target Audience: Non-formal/community-based educators

These skill-building sessions will help non-formal/community-based environmental education organizations to take your programs to the next level of excellence. Click here to view a list of workshop topics and descriptions.