Monday, July 26, 2021

All conference activities and events are subject to change.

land leaf

water leaf

people leaf

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Conference and Luther Housing Check-in

10:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Youth - Mental Health First Aid Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in youth. This 6-hour training gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents (ages 6-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. Pre-registration required as part of the conference registration. (Limit: 25) Cost: $50 that covers training materials and a box lunch. orange leaf
Beginning to End: Create an Environmental Distance Learning Experience Aaron Wilson, Program Director, Welty Environmental Center Participant groups will create and edit a distance learning program that utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous elements to engage audiences that are not able to visit (for whatever reason: COVID-19, distance, other) an environmental center. This would be a great collaboration for classroom teachers and their local naturalists/non-formal educators! Pre-registration required as part of the conference registration. (Minimum of 5 and maximum of 20 participants) Additional details will be emailed directly to registered participants. land, water, people
11:30 - 4:30 p.m.
NAAEE Guidelines and WILD Training Dive into the NAAEE EE Materials: Guidelines for Excellence with Aquatic WILD activities and resources woven in. Participants will receive both the Guidelines document and an Aquatic WILD Guide. Pre-registration required as part of the conference registration. (Limit: 20) land, water, people
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Explore Luther's Natural Areas Trails: Prairies and Woodland Hikes Molly McNicoll, Associate Professor of Biology Luther College, and Luther Students Explore beyond central Luther College campus and connect to our sense of place. Light hiking on the trails accessible from campus. An opportunity to get outside and learn how we are restoring, managing, and using our outdoor classrooms. Or just come along to get outside! land people
4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Walking Space - Finding Your Flow through Footsteps Andrew Boddicker, Founder/Owner of Walking Space In our fast-paced, distracted lives we are increasingly looking for and engaging in experiences to slow down, reconnect with nature, and gather with like-minded individuals. Walking in nature has a rejuvenating aspect that is increasingly used, world-wide, as a means for resetting and reconnecting to ourselves in a holistic, mindful way. Andrew will share the impacts of long-distance walking in nature through stories, personal anecdotes and current research into nature-immersion experiences. orange leaf
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Keystone AEA Recertification Credit If you have signed up for the one-recertification credit through AEA, please meet with your instructor at this time to verify assignments.
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Evening Social and Welcome Reception Enjoy a casual mixer at Toppling Goliath Brewery where conference participants can socialize, enjoy local drinks, and listen to live music. Cash bar.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

All conference activities and events are subject to change.

land leaf

water leaf

people leaf

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Conference Check-in

8:30 a.m. - Welcome to Conference and Decorah

Sustaining Education: A Book Talk w/ Some Real Talk
Liz Stange, Sustainable Education Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps: Sustainable Schools
Love listening to podcasts? Want to join a book club? Passionate about the environment? This is the presentation for you! Join Liz Stange as she discusses how she created virtual content for students in 9-12 science, social studies, and language arts content areas combined with sustainable efforts and information. orange leaf
Nature Infusion
Luana Nair, School Counselor, PE /Health Teacher, Structured Recess Teacher, Spencer (IA) Schools
How to creatively infuse nature education in your schools
Act Local, Think Global: Using SDG's to help sea turtles and problems of plastic pollution
Aaron Maurer, STEM Lead, Mississippi Bend AEA
This session will explore how using the SDG's can create authentic global experiences in learning for classrooms by helping them understand how we all play a role in the problems facing our world. land, water, people
Implementing radio telemetry to track monarch butterflies produces robust datasets to estimate flight patterns, habitat utilization, and perceptual range
Kelsey Fisher, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Habitat loss in the summer breeding range contributes to the eastern monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population decline. Habitat restoration efforts include increasing native prairie plants for adult forage and milkweed (Asclepias sp.) for oviposition and larval development. Monarch butterflies are highly mobile and females are not milkweed patch residents. Improved understanding of how monarchs move through the landscape and utilize resources can support development of biologically relevant habitat restoration plans. Over 5 years, we studied non-migratory female monarch butterfly movement using radio telemetry. These results help inform how different habitat distributions and spatial configurations can influence monarch productivity at the landscape-scale. green leaf
Teens Take CAARE (Conservation Action through Advocacy Research and Engagement)
Jared McGovern, Curator of Conservation Programming, and Jennifer Drayna, Outreach Education Manager, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Teens have powerful passionate voices but many organizations find teens are tricky to consistently engage.  Join us in a guided discussion where we will explore our collective best practices when planning student-driven learning programs designed to engage teens in exploration, leadership development, stewardship action, and scientific inquiry. orange leaf

10:00 - 10:15 a.m. - Break / Snack

User-Generated Science Phenomena with Iowa PBS
Tiffany Morgan, Instructional Media Coordinator, Iowa PBS
Access to standards-aligned, locally-relevant phenomena is critical for Iowa science teachers. The Iowa PBS Iowa Science Phenomena project collaborates with Iowa organizations and educators to curate and share a growing collection of user-generated Iowa-specific phenomena, representing locally-relevant or unique concepts. Learn how you can be involved in this project. land, water, people
Creating an Outdoor Classroom Beyond the Curriculum
Regan Watts, Sustainability Operations Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps and Erica Dodge, Sustainability Education Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps
Learn about how Clear Creek Amana CSD and Green Iowa AmeriCorps designed an Outdoor Classroom for their Middle School keeping in mind the needs of students and the community. Specific needs include social-emotional learning, distanced learning in a time of COVID-19, and student accessibility. orange leaf
Humans Gave Land, Water, and People Boundaries, Yet There are None
Peggy Doty, Environment & Energy Educator II, University of Illinois Extension
People divide to conquer whether it be county lines, countries, or people.  Collaborating helps to erase boundaries and allows work on the environment in its entirety, including people.  We, as environmental educators, need to be the collaboration bridge that allows us to share what we know not tell people what we know. land, water, people
Reducing Pesticide Use: How Iowa's Natural Prairies Can Benefit a School District
Meg McAloon, Operations Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps; Lisa Stark, Education Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps; Emily Dvorak, Program Manager, Good Neighbor Iowa; and Ben Grimm, Grounds Manager, Iowa City Community School District
We all know working with pesticides can be a dangerous job, but do we really understand the short and long term effects these harsh chemicals can have on our health and our environment? This presentation will address the practical steps of reducing pesticide application as well as the impacts on human and environmental health. land, water, people
A Child Born Today May Experience an Earth 5 Degrees F Warmer than Preindustrial Earth
Bruce Krawisz, M.D., Marshfield Clinic Research Institute
This presentation is about the public health effects of climate change. We will examine health aspects of exposure to intense heat, drought, floods, more powerful hurricanes, infections related to water contamination and carried by arachnids and insects, problems related to agriculture, mental health, and rising sea levels. land, water, people

11:15 - 11:30 a.m. - Break

Community Projects and Education
Bridget Ransford, Sustainability Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps Sustainable Schools and Codi Sharkey, Sustainability Coordinator, Green Iowa AmeriCorps Sustainable Schools
Finding ways to use conservation projects and infrastructure in the community to educate outside the classroom. water people
Which Water Worry Where?
Daniel Haug, Watershed Educator, Prairie Rivers of Iowa
Water quality is not just one issue and people often get mixed up about which water worries apply to their local lake or river and how that should affect their behavior.  We'll walk through some Iowa examples to untangle this tongue twister and explore ways to make water issues visible and relevant to your community. orange leaf
Join a Citizen Science Community
Marcy Seavey, STEM Coordinator, University of Northern Iowa
Bring your hand-held device and join a NASA Citizen Science Community while entering your first data in this short session.  Citizen Science allows participants to network with a wide range of people with similar interests, contribute to science, and make the world a better place.  We will learn about the GLOBE Observer App and Wisconsin Wildlife Watch. land, water, people
Preserving Our Food Heritage Through Community Science Programs
Steffen Mirsky, Evaluation & Trails Manager, Seed Savers Exchange
Through its Community Science ADAPT Program, Seed Savers Exchange shares a curated selection of treasured heirloom varieties from its seed bank with gardeners and farmers around the country to collect feedback on important agronomic traits. SSE uses this information to help decide which varieties, and their accompanying stories, to introduce into their annual seed catalog. By engaging diverse communities, the ADAPT program helps SSE preserve our country's crop diversity and unique food heritage. Learn how you can connect your education program to SSE’s ADAPT Community Science program. land people

Noon - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch

Autism and Outdoor Education
Cristina Palmisano, Interpretive Naturalist, Three Rivers Park District
The outdoors has proven to be a setting that is naturally calming. With this in mind, Three Rivers Park District developed unique programs designed for people on the autism spectrum. At this session, you will learn about the impact these programs have had as well as how to create your own programs for people on the autism spectrum. orange leaf
The Half-Earth Project: Conservation in a Connected World
Dennis Liu, Ph.D., Vice President of Education, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation
The Half-Earth Project is inspired by E.O. Wilson's transcendent call to protect half of our planet for the rest of nature. Explore how a digital map is a key to bringing diverse stakeholders together for a transformative biodiversity moonshot. Be inspired by the journey of a hummingbird to see essential connections in our biosphere that unite our global efforts. land, water, people
Essential Lessons with Essential Workers
Rev Martha Brunell, Pastor and Teacher (United Church of Christ) and Freelance Program/Retreat Leader
Robin Wall Kimmerer has defined spirituality as “an architecture of relationships.”  In the ecosystem we inhabit, pollinators are essential workers and indeed essential architects of relatedness who serve communal wholeness and wellbeing across species.  Join Rev. Martha Brunell as she explores the essential lessons for community she has learned from years of observation in the company of pollinators. land people
Karst Outreach and Education Materials
Karen Van Norman, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Britt Gangeness, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Mn Pollution Control Agency; and Jen Schaust, Environmental Outreach Coordinator, Mn Dept of Ag
Dig into karst by exploring an interactive exhibit and lesson plans on karst and water pollution, view short videos about how groundwater moves in SE Minnesota and brainstorm ways to share information in the karst regions of your state. blue leaf
Nearby Nature Inquiry: Integrating environmental education, reading and technology with elementary teachers
Anna Jennerjohn, Instructor, University of Minnesota
We integrated a nearby nature inquiry project into a University elementary teacher training course. Come hear about the project, what the teachers-in-training thought about it, and how integrating EE with reading, science, and technology is one avenue for equitable access to nature. We’ll close by sharing some nearby nature observation techniques. orange leaf
Art, Design, & River Processes
Charling Chen, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate 2023, Research Assistant and Jon Hunt, Associate Professor, College of Architecture, Planning & Design - Kansas State University
The discipline of landscape architecture bridges diverse communities of people, land, and water. Designed landscapes can offer experiences that educate and help people understand the history and ecological systems of places. This presentation will share the design process for a conceptual public art installation, inspired by studying fluvial geomorphology in the Flint Hills Region of Kansas. land, water, people
Embodied Learning in Environmental Literature
Jessica Schreyer, Professor of English University of Dubuque
This presentation will introduce the concept and benefits of incorporating awe walks to provide active and connected learning in an environmental literature course. land people
Iowa River Watershed Coalition - Importance of Working Together
Kelly Schott, Environmental Branch Coordinator, Meskwaki Natural Resource Department, Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Working together to improve the water quality of the Iowa River affects the health of Iowans, our ecosystems, and the prosperity of our economy. Iowans working together will help our communities and ecosystems to be more resilient and provide a vital natural resource now and for future generations. land, water, people
Land Care! Connecting Women and Girls Through Science and Stewardship
Molly McNicoll, Associate Professor of Biology Luther College
Overview of a grant funded program designed to support women and girls: 1) Develop college-age women and leaders and role-models as ecologist-scientists and natural areas stewards, 2) Create a project-based camp for girls that focused on science and stewardship service, and 3) Natural areas outreach. land people

2:10 - 2:30 p.m. - Break

Communicating Local Climate Data
Dale Easley, Professor of Environmental Science, University of Dubuque and Sam Zebarth, Student, University of Dubuque
Stories change minds---graphs don't.  Getting in people's faces doesn't work either.  But data relevant to our stories lends credibility, especially local data.  And there's plenty of it. land, water, people
Examine Your Drinking Water Sources
Rebecca Ohrtman, Consultant and CEO, Iowa Water Quality Consulting, LLC
Drinking water is essential to our daily lives, yet we as consumers spend little time evaluating this limited resource. My presentation will lead you through the basics for understanding source water and what we, as consumers, could do to educate ourselves to ensure a sustainable drinking water source for the short-term and  long-term future. land, water, people
We are Water MN: Relationship-based Water Engagement
Stephanie Hatzenbihler, Environmental Education Specialist, City of Rochester, MN; Britt Gangneness, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and Jennifer Tonko, Minnesota Humanities Center
We Are Water MN is a traveling exhibit, community engagement initiative, and a partnership formed to tell Minnesota’s water story collaboratively, bringing together personal narratives, historical materials and scientific information. Combining these ways of knowing strengthens Minnesotan’s relationships with and responsibilities to water. In this session you’ll get an introduction to the program, hear about Rochester, Minnesota’s experience with the project, including Rochester-based stories, partnerships, programs, and outcomes. water people
Empowering Residents as Urban Water Leaders: Beliefs about outreach, not environmental, behavior drives engagement in Madison, Wisconsin
Theresa Vander Woude, M.S. Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication; Bret Shaw, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication; and Karen Oberhauser, Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication
We interviewed and surveyed self-identified "opinion leaders" within an urban watershed on their experiences with engaging on water issues in their neighborhood. We found that their willingness to engage was associated with their beliefs about outreach rather than their ratings of the pro-environmental behaviors. Respondents trusted experts to recommend a course of action on water issues, but often did not trust their own ability to influence their neighbors’ behavior; these findings emphasize the need to train and empower already socially engaged individuals to use social science principles for neighborhood-level change. land, water, people

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. - State Gatherings / Afternoon Excursions / Experiences / Networking

5:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Dinner on your own

Listing of Decorah area restaurants (opens as PDF)

RWCRobin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. She tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Robin Wall Kimmerer will be providing her keynote presentation live and virtually

Keynote speaker sponsorship is provided by a grant from the BeWildReWild Fund at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

BeWildReWild logo

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

All conference activities and events are subject to change.

land leaf

water leaf

people leaf

8:30 a.m. - Welcome and Overview of the Day

I Can Eat That?! Wild Edibles in the Classroom
Chelsea Ewen Rowcliffe, Naturalist, Mitchell County Conservation Board
There is an entire grocery store of delicious, local, wild foods just waiting outside your backdoor! We will focus on how to incorporate wild edibles into everyday curriculum as well as an introduction to wild edibles identification, harvest, and recipe samples. (Limit of 20) land people
Exploring Prairies Through Elementary Eyes: Plants and Pollinators
Molly McNicoll, Associate Professor of Biology Luther College and land stewardship interns (Luther College students)
We'll share a lesson plan designed for a half-day elementary camp or field trip, includes field excursion and laboratory visit.  The session will visit Luther's natural areas to explore native plants and pollinators. land people
Cultivating Environmental Identity
Christine Darr, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Dubuque and Jenn Supple, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Dubuque
In this interactive, experiential workshop, we will introduce participants to our interdisciplinary approach to environmental identity and guide you through a series of activities aimed at deepening, challenging, and cultivating our understanding of ourselves as related to, and part of, the environments in which we live. Participants will leave with a toolbox of skills that can be applied to a variety of pedagogical contexts and objectives. orange leaf
Conserving Species in Urban Spaces: How Cities Can Play a Role in Bumblebee Conservation
Stephanie Shepherd, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Sarah Nizzi, Xerces Society and NRCS, Madrid, IA; and Seth Moore, Environmental Specialist, Iowa DNR
Conservation has often dismissed or completely overlooked urban spaces but there are some species for which urban and suburban habitat might mean salvation.  The Rusty-patched Bumblebee has been listed as an endangered species and with further survey work has been found to frequently inhabit urban environments.  This workshop will foster discussion about how through environmental education we can start viewing our cities as conservation landscapes and will also provide a hands on foundation for identifying and working with Bombus sp. (Limit of 20) land people
Solastalgia: Reconnecting with the Natural World and Mobilizing for the Greater Good
Ryan Ihrke, Sustainability Facilitator, The College of St. Scholastica; Jennifer Niemi, Native Studies Director, College of St. Scholastica; and Leah Prussia, Associate Professor of Social Work, College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN
Solastalgia is a term coined by Glenn Albrecht used to describe mental distress (anxiety, grief, depression) caused by experiencing changes in one's environment. This extended session will be presented as a retreat that will allow participants to reconnect with self, their relationship to their work, and their personal connection to space and place. In addition to connecting with natural areas in Decorah, participants will be encouraged to reflect on the natural spaces surrounding their home and work and how they may adopt the activities to design their own retreat or similar activity.

Presenters ask that if you're interested in attending this session, to please bring an item from the natural world that helps you feel connected to an outdoor space that is important to you.

land, water, people
Nurturing Nature Explorers in Northeast Iowa
Cindy Thompson, Human Sciences Specialist/Family Life, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Jenna Pollock, Executive Director, Clayton County Conservation, Elkader, Iowa; Julie Munkel, Child Care Consultant, Child Care Resource and Referral, Decorah, Iowa; Teri Orr, Child Care Consultant Supervisor, Child Care Resource and Referral, Decorah, Iowa; and representative from Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar, Iowa
Experiences outdoors and with nature in the early childhood years support the foundation of stewardship principles crucial to protecting land and water later in life. A collaboration of diverse community partners has successfully enhanced opportunities for children and families to have these impactful early experiences with resources available through Nature Explore. orange leaf
The Ecology of Rewilding: A Natural History Curriculum
Leland Searles, Ecological consultant, Sociocultural Anthropologist, Leeward Solutions, LLC
Rewilding, or letting natural processes take control of the landscape from humans, is based on perspectives on ecology and natural relationships. It includes the kinds of relations that humans can have with the wild. Ecology, rewilding, and human action are the basis for a multidisciplinary curriculum that integrates students' awareness and knowledge of their localities with learning in arts, sciences, language, literature, and vocational practice. land, water, people
Citizen-Artistry in the Driftless
Erin Dorbin, Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency; James T. Spartz, Ph.D, and Nick Byron Campbell
What if you could make music with a tree -- not cutting it down, and turning it into an instrument, but actually with a living tree -- in a way that was both beautiful musically but allowed that tree to go on living its life when you were done performing with it? We'll show you how our Crystal Creek Citizen-Artists have reimagined the ecocultural and ecomusical landscape of Driftless Minnesota. Citizen-artists will also share how they developed a new environmental curriculum from their residencies for both residents and the larger academic community. land, water, people

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Break

Using Environmental Education Fundamentals to Strengthen Public Archaeology Programming and Inspire Cultural Stewardship
Elizabeth Reetz, Director of Strategic Initiatives, University of Iowa Office of State Archaeologist and Cherie Haury-Artz, Archaeologist, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist
Archaeology education and environmental education (EE) are parallel fields that often overlap in pedagogical methods and content. However, most archaeologists lack knowledge about EE fundamentals, and many EE professionals are not strong in content knowledge involving cultural history. In this presentation, learn how and why the University of Iowa Office of the Archaeologist (OSA) intentionally integrates the two fields for more impactful programming. orange leaf
Man vs. Wild: Lessons on Humans and Biodiversity
Howard Aprill, Naturalist, Wehr Nature Center, Milwaukee County Parks
Engage in thought-provoking, multi-disciplinary activities to trace human population changes and impacts on biodiversity over the past two centuries. Through interactive media, simulations, role-playing and labs, students will be able to explore issues ranging from habitat loss and pollution to overharvesting on land and seas. Receive electronic lesson plans. land, water, people
Biophilic Effects on Long-Term Concept Retention, Academic Achievement, and Intrinsic Motivation in Secondary Science Classrooms
Noah Christians and Ryan Dalton, Wartburg College
Biophilia, the innate love of living things, has backing literature to show the positive effects on students' long-term concept retention, academic achievement, and intrinsic motivation in classrooms. The researchers ran a study to determine biophilic effects in the classroom and will present research findings. orange leaf

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. - Lunch

Iowa Dairy Center and Northeast Iowa Community College - Calmar
Shana Hilgerson, Project Coordinator, Turkey River Watershed, and Mariah Busta, Dairy Center Coordinator
Walk through and experience a working dairy farm including live, robotic milking. Educational displays will help us learn about the Iowa dairy industry. We’ll also investigate several soil and water quality improvement practices and learn how they work to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality. Field session may be subject to change. land, water, people
Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) office - Postville and Green’s Sugar Bush - Castalia
Tori Nimrod, Environmental Educator, Northeast Iowa RC&D, and Sophia Campbell,  Yellow River Headwaters Project Coordinator, Winneshiek Co SWCD
Explore a variety of urban stormwater best management practices that provide habitat for pollinators, capture and store stormwater, improve water quality, and build flood resiliency. We’ll also visit the oldest, continuously operating business in Iowa. Green’s Sugar Bush was established in 1851 and produces locally-sourced maple syrup. We’ll also see agricultural practices interwoven on the landscape to help maintain a healthy soil and agricultural ecosystem. Field session may be subject to change. land, water, people
Seed Savers Exchange - Decorah
Steffen Mirsky, Evaluation and Trials Manager, Seed Savers Exchange; Jeff Hastings, Project Manager, Trout Unlimited; and Mike Steuck, Fisheries Supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Tour and sample from the ADAPT garden variety trials. Plus, see a limestone spring which is the source of a cold-water stream and home to trout. Learn about restoration efforts and methods implemented on cold-water streams to improve trout habitat. This tour may be subject to change due to weather and site conditions. land, water, people
Luna Valley Farm and Canoe Creek - Decorah
Matt Frana, Project Coordinator, Upper Iowa River Watershed; Jeff Hastings, Project Manager, Trout Unlimited; and Mike Steuck, Fisheries Supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Visit this organic farm and talk with the farmers’ whose objective is to provide a healthy food source for their community. Learn how diversity in livestock, crops, and management practices are used to maintain healthy soils. We’ll learn about the flood control structure which provides multiple benefits to the farm, the wildlife, and the watershed. We’ll visit a restored trout stream and learn how these restoration efforts help maintain the trout population. This tour may be subject to change due to weather and site conditions. land, water, people
Our Community Environment: A Simple Simulation Model for Eco-Storytelling and Collaboration in the Classroom, in the Community
Linda Shenk, Associate Professor, Iowa State University; Dr. Kristie Franz, Professor, Iowa State University; and Dr. William Gutowski, Professor, Iowa State University
Our environment connects us as a community—of people, creatures, water, soil, plants, and weather—and how all thrive depends, significantly, on how we work together.  In this hands-on, interactive session, we will share our easy-to-use “Community Environment” simulation model that is designed to help students (6th grade and up) and community members tell their “eco-stories” and then explore how those stories, when joined with others, can create community collaborations for resilient landscapes, cleaner water, and biodiversity. The model can be run on laptops, requires no internet, and works well in cross-curricular or community engagement settings. land, water, people
Stacey Snyder, Educator, Orange Elementary School, Waterloo, IA and Elaine Larson, Midwest Regional Director for National Geographic Education
Join us to learn about National Geographic's Geo-Inquiry Process, an integrated, five-phase, project-based inquiry process that empowers educators and students to think like explorers. The Geo-Inquiry Process connects students to real-world questions and issues and National Geographic explorers in the field. orange leaf
Teaching Off Trail
Peter Dargatz, Nature Kindergarten Teacher, Hamilton School District - Woodside Elementary, Wisconsin
Now more than ever, it is imperative for schools to utilize any and all outdoor spaces available to them. Teaching Off Trail will detail the origin and implementation of a successfully unique, public school nature kindergarten that reaches and exceeds curricular standards through the utilization of a 4 P's philosophy cemented in nature play, citizen science, service learning, and community collaborations. Let's experience a full year of nature kindergarten together! orange leaf

2:45 - 3:00 p.m. - Break

Revitalization of Meskwaki Cattail/Bulrush Weaving and Sewing
Mary Young Bear, Conservator, Meskwaki Historic Museum and Cultural Center; Nina Young Bear, LeAnn Morgan, Brenda Wanatee, and Kelly Schott
Plants, Water and People - these three words reflect the tie to the land that the Meskwaki People have. Revitalization of Meskwaki Cattail/Bulrush weaving and sewing reflect that. Come and learn and try your hand. land, water, people
Stacey Snyder, Educator, Orange Elementary School, Waterloo, IA and Elaine Larson, Midwest Regional Director for National Geographic Education
Join us to learn about National Geographic's Geo-Inquiry Process, an integrated, five-phase, project-based inquiry process that empowers educators and students to think like explorers. The Geo-Inquiry Process connects students to real-world questions and issues and National Geographic explorers in the field. orange leaf
Implementing EE for Undergraduates in the Driftless Region
Henry Whitehead, Fellowship and Adult Education Manager, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center
For the first time last winter, Eagle Bluff ELC opened its doors to college students by offering an immersive January-term environmental education experience. Through a unique partnership with Hamline University, students were able to receive four transferable college credits for their studies of the Driftless Area as they engaged in many field trips, exploration of the region’s unique geologic features, and meetings with local citizens. This presentation highlights the intersection of higher education and environmental education, specifically examining pedagogy and course construction that best harmonize the principles of EE with undergraduate learning. land, water, people

An Informal Celebration and Gathering

The final full day of MEEC will finish with an evening celebration and dinner at the Decorah Fish Hatchery - a fully operational trout hatchery. MEEC participants will enjoy an open air reception, vendor fair, food, and live music all with a beautiful Driftless Area backdrop.



Thursday, July 29, 2021

All conference activities and events are subject to change.

land leaf

water leaf

people leaf

Dean Jacobs

Dean JacobsSince 2001, Dean Jacobs has spent eight years traversing across the globe exploring over 58 countries on a low budget adventure, propelled by a desire to understand the world we share.

Jacobs was born in Wahoo, Nebraska. After living on a farm, his family moved to Fremont, Nebraska, when he was 5 years old. Growing up in the Midwest gave him an appreciation for the simple things in life. He holds a BS in biology, with minors in earth science and art from Wayne State College. After graduating, he worked at Purina Mills. Eventually, he was employed in sales and marketing for 10 years at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

After a great deal of soul searching, Jacobs left the security of corporate America, and decided to pursue other dreams. While exploring other countries, taking photos became a natural expression of the journey as he documented and verified the common ground of our humanity. To Jacobs, photography is a discovery process where something extraordinary can be found within the confines of ordinary life.

These days, when Dean is not traveling, he keeps busy as a contributing newspaper columnist, photojournalist, children’s book author, and keynote and motivational presenter across the country. Dean also leads young people on journeys to explore the Amazon rain forest and Andean Mountains of South America.

Dean's goal is to share his stories with the hope of changing his audiences’ perspective about people and cultures in the world, while helping them remember their own dreams.

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. - Break

The Four-Stranded Braid: Teaching Kimmerer’s Sweetgrass in a Landscape Mosaic
David Faldet, Professor of English, Luther College
Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass brings the environment alive through its four-braided approach that intertwines science, Potawatomi teachings, an animist view of plants, and Kimmerer’s own life stories.  Field outings in a landscape mosaic of prairie, woodland, savanna, upland forest, and floodplain forest bring to life the four-braided strand of which she speaks. land people
Nourishing Our Water and Soil: A STEM Approach to Soil Science
Barb Ehlers, PhD, Upper Iowa University; Cathryn Carney, 5-12 Talented and Gifted Nevada Community Schools; and Jeff Monteith, K-12 ELP, New Hampton Community Schools
Explore the role of soil within the environment by investigating soil properties of filtration, nutrients, and formation. Put your new found knowledge of soils to use as you engineer soil to grow plants and represent succession of an environment green leafblue leaf
Dart Frogs: A TOADally UnFROGettable Classroom Pet
Hanna Schmitt and Genoa Gregg, Wartburg College
Dart frogs are a fun, easy, and safe way to teach students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade about a variety of subjects. Dart frogs and their micro-ecosystems can be implemented in lessons about animal husbandry, nutrition, STEAM, social studies, reading, and writing. When dart frogs are part of the learning environment, students can make personal connections to their learning! orange leaf
Creating deeper connections for students through the Crosscutting Concepts
Mandie Sanderman, Consultant for Science and TAG, Central Rivers AEA, and Chelsie Byram, Consultant for Science and TAG, Central Rivers AEA
With Iowa’s science standards being adopted from the NGSS, education programs should also align.  The Crosscutting Concepts of the NGSS provide wonderful lenses through which students can consider all sorts of environmental issues, topics and concerns.  This presentation will explore the crosscutting concepts and provide tools and resources to assist you in utilizing the Crosscutting concepts for deeper understanding and connection to your presentations and lessons. land, water, people
The Recycling Lady
Claire Carlson, Volunteer Environmental Educator, Ottumwa Community Schools
Recycling is a tangible way in which students can participate in and embrace their ability to have an impact on environmental stewardship. Education on recycling can be a catalyst for change outside of the classroom by fostering a sense of responsibility for environmental stewardship within students. We can empower students to believe that they are the small stones that can lead to an avalanche of change in their community. orange leaf

10:45 - 11:00 a.m. - Break

Classroom Ioponics
Becca Montgomery, Sidney Baumgartner, and Michaela Dehli, Wartburg College
Ioponics, a classroom aquaponics system, is an educational tool that easily incorporates biophilia in the classroom with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and AFNR (Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources) standards into a “living” learning setting. The model provides a hands-on, minds-on approach to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics) curriculum. Ioponics creates a foundation for students to understand where their food comes from, how it is grown, and its integration into curricular disciplines. water people
Lessons from Prairie Roots: Establishing Connections Among Land, Water, and People Through Active Learning
Laura Fisher, Plant Materials Program Manager, Tallgrass Prairie Center and Andrew Olson, AmeriCorps Land and Water Stewards Communications Associate, Tallgrass Prairie Center, University of Northern Iowa
The extensive, perennial root systems of prairie plants provide many ecosystem services that, like the roots themselves, are not easily seen. Prairie root specimens, banners, and lesson plans help to make these benefits to land, water, and people visible and memorable. We will share a behind-the-scenes view on how we produce root specimens and engage participants in at least one “Prairie Roots” activity. land, water, people
Iowa Climate Variability and Impacts on Weather
Justin Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
2020 was a wild weather year across Iowa. From drought to the August 10th derecho, there were large-scale and widespread impacts. This presentation will look at these events in the context of climatological trends. land, water, people
Educating for the Anthropocene: Towards an Environmental Pedagogy of Hope and Action
Rachel Brummel, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies/Political Science, Luther College
Is it possible to teach about the environment without bumming out my students? How can I instill in my students a sense of realistic hope and empower them to be agents of change?  In this session, I'll present reflections on these questions based upon my pedagogical research, as well as from my own experience as an environmental studies professor. Ultimately, I will present some initial ideas on "best practices" that can be incorporated into environmental education for teenagers and young adults. orange leaf
Decolonizing and Diversifying Natural Resources Education: Experiences at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Adam Janke, Assistant Professor, Iowa State University; and Julia Baker, Extension Program Specialist, Iowa State University
Nature, and nature-based education, must resonate with and hold meaning for all people. In this presentation, we will share the experiences of one small group of educators and scholars to realize this ideal through listening and learning and incrementally improving educational materials and programs to live up to the standards for diversity and inclusion set in nature, among the people we serve. orange leaf

Noon - Box Lunch and Safe Travels