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Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education

Earth Charter Grant Program


Earth Charter Mini-Grants

The Center supports environmental and sustainability education projects through faculty and staff mini-grants.  As 2010 was the tenth anniversary of the Earth Charter, we have given special attention to education projects that incorporate the Earth Charter.

          Download Earth Charter Grant Program Application

2012-2013 Earth Charter Mini Grant Approval

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education will be reviewing the 2012-2013 Earth Charter Mini-Grant Applications during the week of October 22, 2012.

Summary of Past Recipients and Their Projects

Academic Year 2010-2011

Thirteen grants were funded for a total of $8,500.

1. Tricia Fay & Win Everham – Funded at $1,000

The project goal is to provide FGCU students with a fully contextualized, cross-cultural interdisciplinary learning environment focused on traditional culture and tropical ecology, with applied discipline-based service projects carried out during a two week in-country experience in St. Lucia. FGCU faculty members from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and from the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences will lead students from both areas on an interdisciplinary, international field experience to St. Lucia, an independent, English-speaking country in the Eastern Caribbean. The course experiences include two weeks of disciplinary training related to intended service projects, and share interdisciplinary experiences to deepen and expand the cultural context. Students will explore the human-land relationship through the study of traditional craft practices and tropical island ecology. Returning to FGCU, students will document and share their experiences with the regional and FGCU communities. Following the project, faculty will explore opportunities for further dissemination of this work in environmentally-focused interdisciplinary teaching and learning through academic writings and presentations.

2. Nora Demers – Funded at $250

The project goal is to provide Earth Charter Meals during the Summer Term A University Colloquium CRN 50096 service learning events at Happehatchee. The service learning events are planned for May 28 & 29, 2010 and will be open to all University Colloquium students. A group of students will plan and implement the Earth Charter meals for these dates using the CESE guide to planning an Earth Charter Meal. Funds will be used to purchase foods and catering supplies for the Earth Charter meals during this summer-session University Colloquium class.

3. Lucero Carvajal – Funded at $500

The project goal is to implement technology in Transfer Orientations and Transition Workshops hosted by College of Arts and Sciences Advising in order to reduce use of paper and classroom space during orientations and transitions. Currently, CAS Advising holds between 10-12 transfer orientations for Summer and Fall Admits and 6-8 transfer orientations for Spring Admits. There are approximately 40-50 students at each orientation. Transition Workshops are usually given to approximately 400 students during Spring and 100 students during Fall. Each student receives an Orientation workshop packet with a minimum of 4 pages each. The objective of this project is to move toward a virtual orientation/workshop where students can prepare themselves for their advising meeting by having access to advising documents without having to print them. This will save the University and the environment approximately 6000 pieces of paper, ink, and energy.

4. Marguerite Forest – EE Database. Funded at $500

This Scholarly and Seed Grant Project will fund part-time work by a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) through the coming Fall Semester (August to December 2010). The GRA will coordinate the activities of FGCU Service Learning students who will be recruited to contribute to a comprehensive database of Environmental Education (EE) in the Western Everglades and Barrier Islands. Service Learning contributions will include:
(i) descriptions of experiential EE opportunities at regional schools, parks, and other
locations based on air photo interpretation, phone interviews, and on-site visits; and (ii) coding of EE activities offered by government, non-government, and commercial organizations across the region to determine activity schedules, schools, and ages / grades served, topics / issues covered, matches to Sunshine State Standards, and links to natural and built environments for more experiential learning. Gaps identified by analyses of this EE database will provide the ground work for writing scholarly and popular articles, and for applications for both small local grants.

5. Marguerite Forest & Laurie Coventry Payne – Funded at $500

The project goal is to design and implement a course-based service learning project for students enrolled in the University Colloquium, Summer 2010. Students will apply the universal standards of critical thinking to inform the writing of an Environmental Literacy Plan for the state of Florida. Students will reflect and consider how to write a plan that represents core values that respect human dignity, are life affirming, and are consistent with those many cultures around the world, [and] that provides an integrated and coherent framework for developing educational programs and curricula aimed at teaching and learning for a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

6. Anne Hartley – Funded at $1,000

The project goal is to develop a multi-disciplinary upper-level elective on Sustainability. The course has several components: a conceptual framework for sustainability, ecosystem structure and function, engineering, water resource and/or energy policy, economics, and student presentations and competition on Research Day. Students will be divided into small-group sections, each section focusing on a project in which the students and the instructor will apply the principles of all the subject areas. This work will involve acquiring and applying practical skills, such as life cycle analysis, input-output analysis or map analysis using geographic information systems, to environmental management activities including wastewater treatment, alternative energy sources, waste management (recycling), and land use planning. We will invite community partners to participate and even lead projects to give students exposure to real-world environmental activities. The sustainability course will be offered first in Spring 2011 as a Special Topics course in our respective Colleges/Schools.

7. Eric Otto, Miles Mancini, Sam Walch, & Andrew Wilkinson – Funded at $1,000

The project goal is to develop our Fall 2010 First-Year Humanities Seminar, which in seeking to fulfill FGCU's ecological perspective learning goal will teach students to discern between the "forecasts of imminent doom" that plague our mass-media culture, and the very real forecasts of environmental catastrophe to which we all must be paying attention. Ecological issues seem to disappear or lose their urgency as they swim among the ubiquity of apocalyptic messages that mass-media culture perpetuates-the 2012 phenomenon, H1N1 panic, and so on. In fact, discussions of ecological crisis are often dismissed as apocalyptic nonsense, especially by the skeptical and the cynical. This dismissal is a dangerous cultural phenomenon with implications for the Earth Charter, a document that begins, "We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future," and later reads, "The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life."

8. Claude Villiers – Funded at $1000

The purpose of this research project is to determine the validity and feasibility of using Recycled Concrete Aggregate (RCA) as a substitute for virgin aggregate in civil engineering applications. Under the supervision of Dr. Villiers, students will redesign the mixture using a trial and error approach to obtain comparable or superior results on concrete batches with RCA. Lessons learned from this work will be disseminated in Dr. Villiers' Civil Engineering Materials course this fall. This effort will cultivate an education and research environment that will add to the body of knowledge for engineering students at FGCU and beyond. The students will be better equipped with the knowledge required to compete and win the 2011 ASCE Concrete Competition to be held at Tennessee Technological University in March 2011.

9. Mary Walsh, Miles Mancini, and Maria Roca – Funded at $700

The project goal is to examine environmental messages in popular television programs (and their commercials) through the lens of media ecology. A coding strategy was developed based on the sixteen principles outlined in the Earth Charter. Not only environmental issues, but messages that deal with a broader vision of global sustainability were examined. Specifically, this study catalogued and analyzed expressions of environmental, human rights, and sustainability in the complete media stream (commercial television programs, public service announcements, and the commercial messages which finance them). The research was presented at the International Humanities and the Environment Conference in FGCU in October, 2010. Our hope is to also present the findings at either the World Environmental Education Congress in July of 2011 or at the Media Ecology Convention in June of 2011.

10. Kris De Welde – Funded at $650

The project goal is for curriculum development to more effectively incorporate the Earth Charter into pedagogy. An Earth Charter meal will be organized and carried out by a team of students from the class.

11. Marguerite Forest – Funded at $400

The project goal is to encourage educational use of computer mapping (GIS) in the Western Everglades and Barrier Islands of SW Florida. FGCU students Cynthia Clairy and David Pittman are working as a Graduate Research Assistant and GIS Intern on Dr. Marguerite Forest's "Environmental Analysis and Research Technical Help" environmental education database and repository project, a joint environmental service learning program with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Two Graduate Research Assistants assisted Dr. Forest with a three-hour morning workshop for formal and non-formal environmental educators on Computer Mapping that showcase FGCU GIS Exercises designed to advance innovative environmental educational research methodologies and pedagogies. Both students will attend a three-hour afternoon workshop on the Project Learning Tree Green Schools! Program designed to engage students in investigating and improving environmental conditions at their schools. These two workshops will help train the students to do similar Environmental and Sustainability Education outreach activities with university, college, middle, and high school students in Southwest Florida in late Spring and early Summer 2011.

12. Patricia Fay and Maria Roca – Funded at $500

Center funding will provide support for "Native Wisdom – A Spiritual Earth Gathering" to honor Oannes Pritzker. The hope is that this event will become an annual 'Spiritual Earth Gathering' at the Happehatchee Center in Estero, Florida. The focus will be on Native wisdom. Kevin Locke (flute player and hoop dancer now living in Miami) performed, as well as Brian Zepeda at Big Cypress for Seminole storytellers. The students in the Earth and Spirit class worked with Chief Seattle's speech, and will read his words in the original form. The event is took place at the Happehatchee Center on Saturday, March 19, 2011

13. Tyler Offerman – Funded at $500

This award will allow thirty-three FGCU Student Colleagues to attend Power Shift in Washington, DC from April 15-18, 2011 to attend Power Shift 2011. Power Shift is a bi-annual environmental leadership summit that serves as the convergence of the youth climate movement in the U.S.

Academic Year 2011-2012

Nine grants were funded for a total of $5,790

1. Amy Towne – Funded at $300

The goal of the project is to get an entire class, Issues in Culture and Society: Perceptions of the Natural World, involved in an effort to help the natural world by returning a plot of land that is 20ft by 20ft in size to its natural state, which is to provide food and shelter for wildlife in the area. This will include determining a location to cultivate, planting native plants, trees and possibly seeds, designing the landscape to better the environment for the animals and people who live in the area. Not only will the plants provide shelter and food for animals, but will also help to provide oxygen to a world that is increasingly elevating its greenhouse gas emissions. Funds will be for materials needed (plants, seeds, and some equipment) to complete the planting project, Back to the Roots.

2. Mary Kay Cassani – Funded at $400

This project will provide two Project WET Workshops for pre-service and in-service teachers in the five-county FGCU service area. A Project WET workshop teaches educators about conservation and protection of water resources; provides teachers with practice in how to use the curriculum guide book; gives them hands-on training with some of the activities; relates the activities to local water issues; and provides guidance in incorporating Project WET activities into the participant's own classrooms. The Workshops will be held during the Fall 2011 semester.

3. Anne Hartley – Funded at $500

The funds will allow Dr. Hartley to attend the race and membership workshop at Facing History headquarters in Brookline, MA from July 25, 2011 to July 29, 2011. Facing History works with educators throughout their careers to improve their effectiveness in the classroom, as well as their students' academic performance and civic learning. Through a rigorous investigation of the events that led to the Holocaust, as well as other recent examples of genocide and mass violence, students in a Facing History class learn to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and myth and misinformation with knowledge.

4. Nora Demers - Funded at $250

The funds will be used to bring Chris Joyce, NPR science correspondent to FGCU on November 2, 2011 so he can be a keynote speaker at the upcoming CELA TEGA CONFERENCE 2011 on the Economic Benefits of Conservation Lands. The conference goal is to provide community leaders (elected officials), their staff, and the general public information about the economic benefit of conservation lands. This goal fits well with the basic premise of the Earth Charter. We are striving to educate decision-makers and the general public about the various and diverse economic values of conservation lands so that it will be easier for us to adopt patters that safeguard earth's regenerative capacity and community well-being.

5. Kimberly Huff – Funded at $500

This grant will allow Dr. Huff to redevelop her Principles of Rhetoric and Argumentation course. She will work with service learning to identify local nonprofit organizations that do work that aligns with at least one of the principles of the Earth Charter. She will develop a semester project that will allow students to conduct civic engagement through learning how to advocate on behalf of whichever organization they choose as partners.

6. Mark Simpson and Sheila Bolduc-Simpson – Funded at $1,000

This mini-grant project will focus on a collaborative project and Web-based problem solving activities in which students from three different classes (two colleges on the FGCU Campus) will work in mixed teams on an action plan to put one or more principles of the Earth Charter into practice and then implement that action plan on a local community level. This project will endorse the goals of the Earth Charter and promote a just, peaceful, and sustainable way of living in the local communities. The project will consist of four stages: (1) introduction, team composition, research and sharing of information on the Earth Charter Initiative using a wiki; (2) activities targeting an understanding of the four main pillars of sustainable development and the challenges in protecting the Earth's vitality, diversity and beauty from a local perspective; (3) development of an action plan; (4) action plan implementation. Teams will be formed of students from EDF 2085 Introduction to Diversity for Educators in the College of Education and ENC 1102 Composition II in the College of Arts and Sciences and each team will decide on one of the pillars and one or more of the principles around which to create an action plan to put into practice on a local level. This multi-perspective problem-solving project will expose the students in each of these classes to a larger community of learners and reinforce the shared responsibility for the present and future welfare of the human family and the global community.

7. Mark Simpson and Susan Cooper – Funded at $1,000

This mini-grant project has two parts: the initial implementation of Earth Charter-related content and teaching techniques with a focus (although non-exclusive as are all ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages - teaching techniques) on English language learners in the spring 2012 section of TSL 4340 and then, based on formative and summative feedback from participants and others, the revision and inclusion of Earth Charter-related content and teaching techniques in the fall 2012 sections of TSL 4340 and EDE 4304. Pre-service educators in all TSL and EDE sections are in Block 4 of their education majors and intern two days per week during the semester in Pre-K-12 schools in the five counties serviced by FGCU. In the TSL sections and as part of the critical tasks required for successful completion of the course, they are required to produce lesson plans and corresponding short five-minute edited video clips of ESOL teaching techniques. As part of this project, selected students will be required to produce clips of these Earth Charter lessons focusing on English language learners. Assessment of learning outcomes is an important part of any lesson and these EC-related lessons will include this in both the lesson plans and in the clips themselves. Students in the EDE 4304 course will also produce edited video clips focusing on inquiry teaching and learning.

8. Kris DeWelde and Sasha Wohlpart – Funded at $1,000

The course will be offered during in summer 2013 through the Honors Program. The focus of the course is ecological, that is humans' interactions with the natural and social environment. The purpose of the course will be to introduce students to concepts of sustainable living in various aspects of their lives including relationships to food, energy, waste management, and consumption.

To accomplish this, we will help students establish a sense of place that allows them to connect to a landscape, that explores their relationship to the land and its resources, and that considers how we as humans fit onto that landscape. In this way, the course will engage in a deep understanding of ecology, of the interconnectedness and indeed entwinement of humans and the natural world. This course will allow students to explore these ideas within the classroom and also at a self-sustaining ranch in Costa Rica (Rancho Margot).

During the spring and summer of 2012, we will begin to outline the details of the course and we will travel to Rancho Margot to work with the owners and managers of the ranch on developing specific activities for the course, including service learning activities.

9. Hidetoshi Urakawa – Funded at $840

Microorganisms play an important role for the degradation of hazardous waste in nature. In this project, we will construct a small bioreactor that can degrade phenol waste generated from our campus. We will investigate the optimum conditions for the microorganisms to degrade phenol. We will also attempt to identify the key phenol degrading microorganisms in the reactor. Knowledge and experience obtained in this project may be flowered as an initiation for future small scale campus cleanup projects and could be used in a much larger scale microbial bioreactor on campus in the near future.