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Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education

Local Environmental Education Center Gives Back to the Community that Supports It

By: Zoë Spanbroek

 

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education works towards realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. But it can’t realize this dream alone. “The little Center that could,” as it is affectionately referred to by Center Board Members, relies on donations to help fund its vision and work. Those who choose to support the Center should know that their donations go directly into inventive, impactful programs.

 

One of those programs is SAGE or Student Associates for a Greener Environment. SAGE is a mini-grant program at Florida Gulf Coast University that pairs faculty mentors with students who are pursuing research, civic, and educational projects that focus on sustainability. In the words of Assistant Center Director Dr. Maria Roca, contributions to SAGE matter because, “Our students are our future leaders.  If we are serious about planning for a sustainable future, if we want thoughtful, well-trained leaders who know how to respond during challenging times, we need to provide students with opportunities to develop their critical thinking and leadership skills. SAGE is designed to achieve these goals.”

 

Contributions to the Center can also help spread sustainability education to an international audience, which is becoming ever more important. In the words of Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran, “Scholarship is increasingly international; that is to say, that the audience for research is worldwide. The Center has been a global leader in educational research related to sustainability.” It reaffirmed this leadership through the Dutch government-funded publication of a new book, Envisioning Futures for Environmental and Sustainability Education, which came out several weeks ago. Co-edited by Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran, it is the last volume in a United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development series.

 

Back home on Sanibel and Captiva, the Center is likely best known for its signature Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series. When asked why it matters to support the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, local Host Committee Chair Susan Stuart expressed that “It matters, of course, to island residents because of the Rachel Carson lectures. We get to hear—live and in person—authors, poets, scholars and even politicians who share what they are doing to praise and preserve our environment. These lectures are the Center's gift to us—open to all and offered at no charge. But beyond that, the Center—which is self-supporting and unique among Universities—helps fund environmental research projects both here at home and internationally. It is a treasure!"

 


A Sanibel Celebration of President Bradshaw’s Legacy

By: Zoë Spanbroek

 

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017 the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education gathered friends and supporters together for an evening to celebrate retiring FGCU president, Wilson G. Bradshaw. Sanibel residents Virginia and Ed Stringer hosted the gathering as Bradshaw’s friends and long-time colleagues from his former years as president of Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. Virginia gave remarks and thanks. Noted Center attendees include Board members John D. McCabe and June LaCombe. Susan Stuart was also present as chair of the Center host committee, which helps organize beloved community programs such as the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series.

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. Bradshaw’s commitment to environmental sustainability and diversity as pillars of the FGCU mission has helped that dream become even more realistic. Fun was had and funds were raised while guests “toasted his leadership and the environmental legacy he leaves the community,” said Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran. What better way to honor Bradshaw’s ten-year history at FGCU?

 

 


Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend a Success

By: Zoë Spanbroek

 

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is very pleased to report the success of the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture that Terry Tempest Williams gave to a captivated audience Friday evening,
February 3, 2017 at Saint Michael and All Angels Church. With over 400 guests in attendance, Lecture-goers completely filled the church Sanctuary and the Parish Hall.  Kat Epple’s enchanting flute music set the tone for introductions by Reverend Ellen Sloan, Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran, and a powerful invocation by Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq or “Uncle” an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder, Teacher, Healer and Shaman from Greenland. He  gave his message of the melting ice and sent out a call to our ancestors, seeking their guidance and giving them thanks for the wisdom they can offer us in these environmentally uncertain times. Then, Terry Tempest Williams began speaking. Audience members were rapt by her Lecture, “The Hour of Land: Rachel Carson and America’s Protected Lands.” With her recent bestseller, The Hour of Land, as a cornerstone for her thoughts, Ms. Williams spoke passionately about the wild places we hold dear—particularly our national parks—and how Rachel Carson’s legacy continues to guide our reverence and respect for America’s public lands. 

 

 

 

 

 


 2017 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture 

Featuring

Terry Tempest Williams

 

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is pleased to announce that our very own Terry Tempest Williams will be presenting the 2017 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. The 2017 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture will include a Campus Lecture at Florida Gulf Coast University and a Sanibel Island Lecture. 

The Campus Lecture is entitled, The Open Space of Democracy, Revisited. This Lecture will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at FGCU. The Lecture will be held in the Cohen Center, Room 247 at 10:30am to 11:30am

In “The Open Space of Democracy Revisited” Terry Tempest Williams will reexamine her 2004 lecture, “The Open Space of Democracy,” which became surrounded by controversy when former president of FGCU, William Merwin, disinvited her stating her book by the same title was too political. Now, with the Trump era before us, Mrs. Williams will speak to the importance of resistance in American civic life as climate change and public lands are under siege by Congress and the fossil fuel industry. Students will be encouraged to think about the history of civil disobedience and direct action in American history, and what might be required of us today if we care about climate justice and the protection of America's public lands.

The lecture will be followed by a Student Leadership Luncheon with Terry Tempest Williams.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.fgcu.edu/cese/ or contact us at thecenter@fgcu.edu or 239-590-7025.

The second Lecture on Sanibel will be titled, The Hour of Land: Rachel Carson and America's Protected Lands, and will be held on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Saint Michael and All Angels Church, 2304 Periwinkle Way. In “The Hour of Land: Rachel Carson and America’s Protected Lands” Terry Tempest Williams will be paying tribute to America's public lands, including our national parks as celebrated and explored in her latest book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. As Rachel Carson states, "It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the Earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility." Williams will pay special homage to the power of wonder, humility, and land protection. These concepts, which Rachel Carson so beautifully served during her life, are now her legacy.

The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing in the Parish Hall.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.fgcu.edu/cese/ or contact us at thecenter@fgcu.edu or 239-590-7025.


 

 

FGCU Hosts Climate Change Student Dialogue

 (November 3, 2016) – Florida Gulf Coast University’s Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education hosted its annual Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue on climate change last week. This year's dialogue, Climate Change: Knowledge Into Action was organized in a world café format in which students have progressive conversations at diverse tables, finishing with a summative action plan. 
“The world café format allows the focus to stay on the students, it puts them in the driver seats,” said Katie Leone, FGCU Sustainability Manager and faculty table host.  “The students are definitely thinking about the application of their action.”

This format has become increasingly popular for dialogues because it forces conversations to dig deeper and unearth real problems and solutions. 

“Creating a place where students can talk about climate change is really important, but too often we find ourselves stuck talking about the same issues,” said Onye’ Ogene, the Center’s Student Assistant. “As university students, we are told to use our critical thinking skills to discover creative solutions and realistic action plans.”

At the end of the event, all in attendance were required to stand up and share, “I will” statements, creating accountability to themselves and peers. The students and table hosts worked together to create an informal action plan for FGCU to combat climate change. 
“They were very realistic goals,” said Ogene. “As a college student, sometimes it’s hard for us to see the difference we have the ability to make.”

The Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue is an annual event sponsored by the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education.  The signature series focuses on education for a sustainable future, including fostering student’s roles as stewards of their natural, cultural, and political environments.  The Dialogue is intended to spark student action and stimulate environmental discourse among FGCU and Southwest Florida communities. Faculty members are encouraged to invite students to attend as the event is organized by students, for students.  The event is, as always, open to the general public, including conservation organizations, citizen advocates, and the scientific community.


 


SAGE: Student Associates for a

Greener Environment 

(2016-2017)

 

The Center is funding many innovative projects this year through SAGE, each of which reflects the broad range of student interest in sustainably improving the local community. SAGE is a mentoring program that pairs FGCU professors with students who are engaged in community sustainability projects. The projects vary between scholarly work, environmental research, raising awareness of an important issue, or an original student idea. To help these students reach their goals, SAGE provides a number of grants for up to $1,000 each.

The “Sustainable Garden Project at the Community Cooperative of Fort Myers” funds a student’s ambition to build a compositing system for an organization dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness in Lee County. Among its many services, The Community Cooperative of Fort Myers offers coaching to help its clients learn self-development, goal setting, employment and financial skills, and the importance of health and wellness.

The “Intravenous (IV) Lily Pads” project funds several students’ dream to bring the joy of nature to children in the Galisano Children’s Hospital. Through the project, the students will continue to create seating attachments for intravenous poles. These apparatuses will contain illustrations of native flora and fauna along with informational cards that explain the environmental importance of Florida native species.

The Assistant Director of the Center, Dr. Maria Roca, has been working with SAGE since it was founded six years ago. Dr. Roca shared that she is most proud of the program because, “SAGE supports and celebrates Florida Gulf Coast University’s greatest resource…our students.” Click on SAGE in the side-menu to get more information about how to get involved with SAGE on-going projects or to learn about creating a possible SAGE project in the future!


 

2016 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture

Featuring

 Alison Hawthorne Deming

 

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is pleased to announce that poet and essayist Alison Hawthorne Deming will be presenting the 2016 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. The 2016 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture will include a Campus Lecture at Florida Gulf Coast University and a Sanibel Island Lecture, both will explore themes from Deming’s latest book, Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit.  Her new book explores the mystery and wonder of our shared early experience with animals and illustrates how much animals have contributed to the development of the human psyche. 

 The Campus Lecture is entitled, Creating the Future: New Relationships between Art and Science in the Era of Climate Change. This Lecture will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at FGCU. The Lecture will be held in Sugden Hall, Room 114 at 5:00 pm. During the Campus Lecture, Deming, will give a talk illustrating new relationships between art and science that are emerging in response to the challenge of climate change. Joining the sensuality, discernment and formal experimentation of the arts with the empiricism, particularity and analysis of scientific writing is necessary to fully elucidate a rapidly changing world. Deming will demonstrate how, together, art and science can be sparks to the imagination and to hope.

The Sanibel Island lecture, entitled Zoologies: Climate Change and the Spiritual Force of Animals, will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm at Saint Michael and All Angels Church. During the Sanibel Island Lecture, Deming will examine what animals meant to early humans and what they mean to the contemporary imagination. In Zoologies, Deming writes, “Animals surrounded our ancestors. Animals were their food, clothes, adversaries, companions, jokes, artistic inspiration and their gods.” Deming wants readers to know that today however, we have a very different relationship to animals than our ancestors did. She explains, “In this age of mass extinction and the industrialization of life, it is difficult to touch the skin of this long and deep companionship….” Deming’s Sanibel lecture will illuminate why we must understand this deep kinship with our fellow creatures and why this understanding may just be the inspiration we need to renew hope and faith as we rise to the challenge of climate change. Immediately following the Sanibel Island Lecture, the Center will host a reception and book signing in the Parish Hall at Saint Michael and All Angels Church.

In 2014, Alison Hawthorne Deming was appointed the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Science and Other Poems, and winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets for The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence, Genius Loci and Rope. Her nonfiction books include Temporary Homelands, The Edges of the Civilized World, which was a finalist for the PEN Center West Award, and Writing the Sacred Into the Real.  Deming edited Poetry of the American West: A Columbia Anthology and co-edited with Lauret E. Savoy The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Natural World. Deming is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, currently working on the essay collection Lament for the Makers. In 2016 Deming will also be releasing two new books of poetry, Stairway to Heaven and Death Valley: Painted Light with photographer Stephen Strom.

Rachel Carson’s work is the inspiration for the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. The Lecture has been named in her honor since the Center was established in 2004. Carson’s contributions, most relevant to the mission of the Center, are public policy based on sound science and ethics, active participation of an ecologically literate citizenry, and appreciation of the natural world through the literary arts and environmental education.

 

 


 

This year's Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue, entitled Climate Change: Building a Better Future Through Conversation will take place on Monday, November 2, 2015 in the Cohen Center Ballroom. The Center invites students, University faculty, stakeholders, community members, and campus leaders for conversation in the Ballroom before the main event at 5:30pm. The main event will begin at 6:00 pm and end approximately at 8:00 pm.

The Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue is an annual event sponsored by the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education.  The signature series focuses on education for a sustainable future, including fostering student’s roles as stewards of their natural, cultural, and political environments.  The Dialogue is intended to spark student action and stimulate environmental discourse among FGCU and Southwest Florida communities. Faculty members are encouraged to invite students to attend as the event is organized by students, for students.  The event is, as always, open to the general public, including conservation organizations, citizen advocates, and the scientific community.

This year’s Dialogue will be focused on the sense of urgency that climate change presents us. The dialogue will be a World Café-style participatory dialogue, designed to facilitate open and critical discussion and collaboration. The World Café process gives all participants the opportunity to be directly involved in the Dialogue and is an effective method for bringing people together around important issues.  This method is a departure from the traditional lecture-style panel dialogues that the Center has hosted in the past. This year’s Dialogue will present students with the opportunity to join various important conversations facilitated by knowledgeable students, professors, alumni, and community partners. The purpose of setting up the Dialogue as a World Café is to draw on the collective knowledge and wisdom in the room and to encourage collaboration and action amongst participants.


 

 Welcome to the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education would like to welcome back all faculty, staff, and students from what we hope was a relaxing and enjoyable summer.  With the beginning of the new semester, the Center is back in full swing and Center staff members are ready to begin the new academic year.  This year the Center would like to welcome new student assistants Sarah Davenport and Uzair Iqbal and new community volunteer Bob Soter to the team. We would also like to welcome back Judy Rosenberg, Kevin Bedson, and Onye’ Ogene. Also, a special welcome back to Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran!

Returning student assistant Onye’ Ogene is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University, currently majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Environmental Education and Climate Change. Having been raised in Miami, Florida, Onye’ has developed an extreme passion for the world’s oceans. She is highly interested in Marine Ecology and aspires to pursue a master’s degree in Marine Conservation and Policy. Onye 'has been working at the Center since the beginning of the 2015 spring semester, her role at the Center includes assisting with the SAGE (Student Associates for a Greener Environment) projects, working on the website, and working on other Center projects. While working at the Center, Onye’ hopes to further the environmental education outreach at the University by raising awareness of the rapid environmental changes the world is currently facing. 

We will be looking to our student assistants to help us duplicate the success of previous years.  Last year, we were able to hold a number of successful events including our two signature events, The Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue and Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture.

For more information please contact our Student Assistants at 239-590-7025


  

Academic Year in Review at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education

Note from Brandon Hollingshead, Interim Director 2014-2015

Many thanks to the supporters, students, faculty, and staff that made Academic Year 2014-2015 a year of successful activity at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. This is a brief summary of our accomplishments this year on campus at Florida Gulf Coast University and in the wider world.

  • Student Associates for a Greener Environment: SAGE is a signature program of the Center that provides support to student sustainability projects under the direction of a faculty or staff mentor. This year the Center sponsored seven high-impact SAGE projects, ranging from sustainable butterfly gardens to permaculture to radical sustainable architecture.
  • Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue: The student staff at the Center organized and hosted this year's signature dialogue event on the topic of "Talking on Water: Transforming Education into Action" on October 27, 2014. This was an educational event created by students for students just before the successful Amendment 1 land and water conservation initiative the passed in early November 2014.
  • Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture: This year's lecture was delivered by David W. Orr and Peter Blaze Corcoran on "Education in Turbulent Times: Perspectives from Rachel Carson's Hawk Mountain and Wangari Maathai's Karura Forest. It was delivered on campus to a standing-room only crowd and on Sainbel Island to a full audience at St. Michael and All Angels Church. Our keynote listeners on Sanibel were Walter Mondale and Reverend Ellen Sloane and our keynote listeners on campus were Dean Robert Gregerson, Sarah Davis, Katie Leone, and Uzair Iqbal.
  • Ongoing record of scholarship: Peter Blaze Corcoran and Brandon Hollingshead published the book Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures(Wageningen Academic Publishers). The Center was represented at many international environmental education conferences, including the North American Association for Environmental Education, the United Nations World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, the International Environmental Communication Association's Conference on Communication and the Environment, and several meetings of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • Ongoing record of international collaboration: Peter Blaze Corcoran made several contributions to advancing environmental and sustainability education in higher education in Africa, including work with University of Nairobi and Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Corcoran also advanced environmental education policy at the United Nations Environment Programme through work with the Global Universities Partnership on Environment for Sustainability. The Center continues to provide a secretariat role for an emerging International Intergenerational Network of academic centers on sustainability in higher education.
  • Faculty and Staff Development: The Center provided professional development and support to faculty and staff interested in applying Earth Charter ethics and sustainability education in the courses and work at Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Rachel Carson Award: This year's award was give to two longtime FGCU educators, Dr. Maria Roca and Dr. Jim Wohlpart in honor of their many contributions to the center and to sustainability education at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Thank you again to our supporters and stakeholders at Florida Gulf Coast University, in the Western Everglades and Barrier Islands of Southwest Florida, and in the wider community of scholars. We look forward to Peter Blaze Corcoran's return to FGCU and the re-opening the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education in August 2015 at the start of Academic Year 2015-2016.