WEC educators to gather this week!

We are looking forward to reuniting with our awesome WEC teachers this Friday at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge http://www.fws.gov/refuge/missisquoi/. We will meet there and spend some time exploring seasonal changes (i.e phenology! See Amy’s PLACE blog for numerous phenology resources) and sharing our curriculum work. Then travel to Guy Choiniere’s farm (see older blog about a previous trip in 2013!) and spend the evening, night and following day in Quebec.

See you soon!


PS–a few images of the July session






More on Technology Integration

As a follow up to the CBEI/WEC workshop on landscape change, I thought I’d post a few other notes about video production and other technology.

This nicely done video/geovisualization is an inspiring combination of the technologies explored at the workshop, from Walter Poleman’s Google mapping exercise to still photos to video production. This was produced by Encyclopedia of Life, an organization working with technology to teach about biodiversity.

If you’re really interested in technology integration, you might want to check out the Building Learning Communities conference, held each summer in Boston. I have not been to the conference, but I’ve heard that its organizer Alan November is quite good. This year’s conference features a number of preconference workshops, including one on video production.



Video Production at the CBEI Landscape Change Workshop

On February 8, 41 educators braved a winter storm to attend a CBEI workshop focused on landscape change on the Burlington, Vermont waterfront. One of the goals of the workshop was to model appropriate and vibrant use of technology in watershed studies. Four breakout groups explored technologies ranging from GPS and Google mapping to video production.

Six educators and CBEI partners produced the following video, with the aim of getting opinions on possible future uses of the Burlington waterfront, particularly in the context of discussion of the redevelopment of the Moran Plant and “north 40” property. The group crafted questions, conducted interviews, and produced the video in two hours. A couple of hours of work after the conference went into additional editing. The video was produced using an iPhone and Canon Rebel T3i for filming and Microsoft Movie Maker and Audacity for editing (see the WEC Shared Resources Wiki for more video production tools).

WEC Educators gather —in the pouring rain and then warm sunshine!

WEC educators gathered this weekend for the October session of their course this past Friday and Saturday. We were in the pouring rain on Friday but managed to stay dry and happy!

We visited two farms–both in the rain….Roger Rainville–who is an ex-dairy farmer “I didn’t realize how hard dairy farmers worked until I stopped working those hours myself” is an inspiration to many farmers in the area by the ways he has made his farm a model of sustainability.

Next–we went to Highgate and visited Guy Choiniere’s farm. Guy farms on the land that his grandfather and his father farmed before him and has made many changes. Most notable was the different management of the river’s edge that is now blocked off from his cows. They have well-maintained lanes to walk on–a practice that means less damage (compaction) to the soil and less runoff into the river and less erosion in general.

Guy with diagram of soil health










Guy–as well as Roger–was passionate about soil health. He believes that healthy soil is the basis for everything–as this visual shows— and credited his cows for providing the manure that made his pastures so green–and the radishes so large!

Are these like Daikon?


New friends!

More to come on this weekend! If you are looking for the WIKI–scroll down to bottom of BLOG–ABD.





Educators consider age-appropriate learning opportunities for CLIMATE CHANGE understanding

Teachers who attended the March 10 Climate Change Workshop at St Michaels College created this excellent brainstorm on what students should learn about climate change–at what age. (SEE PAGE ABOVE: CLIMATE CHANGE: LADDER OF LEARNING)

Prompted by an article by David Sobel in CONNECT magazine (Sobel, D. (2007). Climate change meets ecophobia. Connect, 21(2), 14-21) they posted their ideas about what activities were appropriate at what level. The suggestions cover a wide range of possibiitiees:

When should students begin to think scientifically? (two answers to this question….they already do! And….early!)

At what age should they consider the impact of their own actions?

At what scale (schoolyard-community/nation/planet?) should they consider climate change?

What BIG IDEAS are important to understanding the impact of climate change?

GOOD IDEA: sit down with a colleague and go over this list. It is not shared as THE LIST! It is thought-provoking! It will give you ideas and/or affirmation of things you could do or are already doing. It will foster school-wide thinking. It will prompt inter-departmental collaboration.

Please share your ideas with us and keep the dialogue going!

You can find Sobel’s article on the Synergy Learning Website: http://cf.synergylearning.org/displayarticle.cfm?selectedarticle=683

The article also contains Sobel’s suggested K-6 ladder of age-appropriate activities on which this list is built.

Richard Kujawa adds some new resources for pondering climate change

Richard Kujawa (St Michaels geography professor and presenter of the keynote of March 10 conference on climate change for teachers) has sent along a few additional sources. He writes: “Here’s an entry from a blog I follow which makes a very nice link to the Texas content from the talk…Remember that I tried to make a distinction between the Executive Branch in TX and their take on the drought vs. other science/policy folks?”


He also suggests  “a nice little blog entry on water related to World Water Day”


thanks Richard!

Watershed Alliance offers resources on Climate Change

Those of you at the conference received a hard copy of a resource list compiled by Erin DeVries, UVM Watershed Alliance. As you know–Erin is a CBEI partner and was a co-planner of the Climate Change Workshop. She was unable to attend at the last minute due to a death in the family.

Check out this excellent compilation of resources for teachers!

Watershed Alliance Climate Change Resources

The list of resources can also be found at the Watershed Alliance website.

FYI—UVM Watershed Alliance is the “go-to” education program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant that offers classroom and field experiences in watershed science, water quality monitoring, lake and stream ecology, and watershed stewardship. Visit their website at http://www.uvm.edu/~watershd  They  offer labs on Lake Champlain as well as at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. Watershed Alliance is able to tweak any lessons we offer, contact them soon for spring or fall programs.

Thanks Erin!


Educators gather to contemplate Climate Change

Educators from Vermont and New York gathered at St Michaels College near Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, March 1o. Sponsored by CBEI (http://www.lcbp.org/watershedmatters/) the goal of the event was to share with teachers information and tools to teach about climate change—and an opportunity to think about how that could happen in their own classrooms. It was a great day!

I have done a lot of workshops with teachers. Sometimes they are most grateful for new information and a chance to try new things. It often gets better when they have time to ponder the complexity of their teaching—and have time to sort some things out. With a complex topic like climate change we had the need for all of these elements and teachers were happy with the results:

“Great job bringing super folks with a variety of perspectives together.”

“Presenters and flow were excellent!”

“This is one of the best professional development experiences I have ever had!”

One of the best parts of the day was when 6th grade students from Karin Ames class in South Hero, Vermont shared what they were doing in regards to climate change. The students were articulate, knowledgeable and inspirational!







Teacher Karin Ames shares the context of the students’ work.


Karin’s powerpoint is here: KARIN AMES-March 10 Powerpoint

Students in Karin’s class are involved in Young Writers Project—an organization that works in Vermont to foster excellent writing in schools. The links to their writing is not included–but you can find out more about the program by going to http://youngwritersproject.org/   Check it out!

In addition to the students sharing their work the day included presentations and workshops by:

LESLEY-ANN DUPIGNY-GIROUX, Geography Professor at University of Vermont and State Climatologist

Lesley-Ann did an amazing job explaining the fundamentals of climate change and sharing her views on how to share complex data with students. Learn more about Lesley-Ann’s work and her suggested resources:

Lesley-Ann writes: “The Vermont State Climate Office (http://www.uvm.edu/~vtstclim) is the one stop portal to everything weather and climate about Vermont including links to the National Weather Service, Colchester Reef, past weather information as well as climate change resources.”

Also see the NSF-funded Diversity-Climate Network: http://www.uvm.edu/~dclimnet

The UVM Geography Department http://www.uvm.edu/~geograph/?Page=Dupigny-Giroux.php>

At this site Lesley-Ann’s work is featured as someone who brings together climate and geospatial techniques.   <http://www.geospatialcareers.net/people/dupigny_giroux.html>

More information on her program for teachers can be found at: http://www.uvm.edu/~swac

Her powerpoint for the March 10 event can be found here: Climate change 101_Dupigny-Giroux







Lesley-Ann shares the basics of climate change




Colchester High School science teacher, Kara Lenorovitz explored “How feedback loops May Amplify Climate Change” with teachers in a hands-on Lab. For more information on this see her powerpoint: Amped Up Arctic Warming

Also-stay tuned for work that Kara is doing that will be available this summer (2012) for teachers.  She has been working to develop a curriculum guide for secondary school students about climate change and its specific implications for the northeastern United States.







Kara explores data related to Feedback Loops with teachers



Walter Poleman, an ecologist who directs the UVM PLACE program, shared his vibrant view of how to use GOOGLE EARTH to research, track and model changes in the local landscape. He also introduced a concept new to many at the workshop– phenology….a study of how living things respond to changes throughout the seasons.

Walter shared with us websites that link to his work and other resources related to place, phenology, and mapping:












Walter shares strategies for GOOGLE mapping



KEYNOTE BY RICHARD KUJAWA: “Climate Change, Water and People: A Geographer’s View”

In addition,  Richard Kujawa, a St Michaels Geography professor,  gave a brilliant keynote on how humans interact with places–and water— on the global scale. As a geographer he shared with us the concept of how humans shape places and places shape humans. When weather and conditions in some places become extreme–these relationships change. Examining these relationships can provide a key to how we might understand and plan for the challenges of a changing climate.

Here is a pdf of Richard’s powerpoint from the key note

Climate Change_Water_and_People_A_Geographers_View_Richard_KUJAWA_CBEI

Also this is a list of sources that he mentioned during his talk.

Links from KUJAWA Keynote






Richard talks with teachers during lunch.



It is always inspiring to hear how different ideas and strategies play out in classrooms. This day-long consideration of climate change came with some urgency. Many of the teachers were there – not as science teachers or writing teachers—but as inhabitants of this earth concerned with learning about and sharing ways they could help. That makes this work different.

And at the end of the day—I realized it wasn’t about the information shared and strategies discussed—although they were valued parts of the day. It was joining together in meaningful dialogue—and facing the complexity of the ideas and the enormity of the issues together. Teachers appreciated the many perspectives shared—from a climatologist, an ecologist, a geographer and two practicing teachers—and each other. The information was rich and complicated—just like life!

All of the resources will be posted on our website WatershED Matters: http://www.lcbp.org/watershedmatters/

Check out the Resources “sidebar” that has a wealth of local, national and global resources.

Stay in touch!

Amy Demarest-CBEI partner