Environmental Education Alliance (EEA) of Georgia 2012 Annual Conference

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Carter and Olivia were recently invited to present their Plastic Awareness Week curriculum program at 2012 Environmental Education Alliance (EEA) of Georgia Annual Conference.  The EEA of Georgia has been serving environmental educators throughout Georgia since 1992. EEA supports environmental educators throughout Georgia to achieve the vision of a statewide culture of environmental literacy and stewardship. EEA believes environmental education encourages inquiry, investigation, and the development of skills that enable responsible decisions and actions that impact the environment.

This year’s theme was “The Art and Science of Environmental Education“.  There are two kinds of ways to knowsomething – intellectually, with the knowledge acquired through reading, lecture, etc., and intimately, having deeply experienced it and involving your emotions.

The idea behind the 2012 conference theme is that direct, intimate experience with nature is a crucial element to connect ourselves with our natural world. One of the best ways to form that bond between soul and Earth is through the power of the creative act of making art. Art and the creation of art engages our emotions, which in turn, when combined with scientific knowledge of the subject, engages our whole selves making learning more readily retained.

Our Plastic Awareness Week program infuses both kinds of learning experiences in a fun-filled weeklong curriculum which engages students and empowers them to realize their ability to ‘be the solution to the issue of plastic pollution‘.  This year’s

Keynote Speaker was famed artist and educator Pam Longobardi, Professor of Art, Georgia State University.  Pam discussed her point of view on the synergistic intersection of art, science and activism to address global environmental problems with the specific example of the Drifters Project Initiative. She spoke about the environmental crisis of plastic pollution, her firsthand experiences, and the artwork she makes with the recovered plastic. Pam also shared details of her participation in GYREx, a major project between the Alaska Sea LIfe Center and the Anchorage Museum and the Smithsonian that will involve an art/science expedition along the Aleutian Island chain in 2012.

One More Generation has worked closely with Pam on other events and her presentation substantiated the need to ensure today’s students are afforded the opportunity to learn about the problem of plastic pollution, and offer solutions they can immediately incorporate in their homes, schools and communities. Our Plastic Awareness Week curriculum was designed to do just that.

BTW, if your interested in getting your hands on Pam’s latest book ”Drifters“, you can order your copy by clicking on the book title. See what others are saying about her work: “Longobardi’s work is no mere attempt at creating pretty decoration from found objects. Her work is witness, and in it we share. She gives us a wake-up call, a call to action, a call for change. Her work is art. And the work that art must do is to steer our attention into the path of the oncoming truth.” - Carl Safina, 2009

The EEA has long been associated with progressive environmental education and this years conference demonstrated the sincere willingness of local educators to ensure our students are given every opportunity to experience and appreciate the need to infuse the two.

What is a conference without recognizing those who work so hard to educate our students? The statewide EEA awards are presented each year at the annual conference. Awards were be given by EEA in the following four categories: Dr. Eugene Odum Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Individual, Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization, and PreK-16 Formal Educator of the Year. Other awards were also be presented by Monarchs Across Georgia, Project WET, and DNR.

This year’s conference also had ample workshops which included Backyard and Recycling Crafts by Presenter: Vicky Beckham Smith which was a Hands-on Program. Description: In this make and take session attendees constructed interesting crafts using natural items from your backyard and items from the home that would normally be tossed away. They made palm tree bark reindeer, tin can critters, baggie butterflies, stick bugs, and much more. Everyone had a blast.

There were also many exhibitors on hand who helped connect nature and education.   One of the exhibitors on hand was Linda Fraser who helped connect Art of EE (Environmental Education). Linda’s exhibit of ninety paintings of Southeastern native plants were hung chronologically, and has been featured at many major botanical gardens. Visitors learned about the educational value of the exhibit and heard amusing stories about the critters found with their plants.  Carter and Olivia loved her work.

Environmental education is essential in today’s school system.  Our curriculum program was designed to engage and enlighten students to the possibilities available to them for effecting change.  If you would like to learn more about our Plastic Awareness Week program or to book our young founders as speakers at your next event, just send us an email and we will promptly respond.

Best regards from the entire OMG Team ;-)

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