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.” This year the Center is continuing to work toward that dream by implementing its successful grant program for students, the Student Associates for a Greener Environment program, also known as SAGE.
The mission of SAGE is to nurture students in their leadership capacity and to develop their identities as environmentally conscious individuals. The SAGE program works to connect faculty mentors with students interested in pursuing research, civic, and educational projects related to the mission of the Center and the values it shares with the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter is an international framework with guiding principles for pursuing a just, sustainable, and peaceful world, which has been adopted by both the Center and FGCU.
Student members of SAGE may participate in innovative educational research projects, educational projects that promote ecologically literacy, civic engagement activities in local environmental issues, scholarly activity, teaching and service related to environmental and sustainability education, and the development of environmental youth initiatives. The main goal of SAGE is to create transformative leaders working toward a sustainable future.
Students who become associates are expected to make a commitment to the mission of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, and to the values described in the Earth
Charter. SAGE members will work within the Center’s tradition of collaboration, civil dialogue and intellectual integrity. Students who become members will be nurtured in their leadership capacity and assisted in developing their identities as environmentally conscious individuals.
In previous years SAGE members have completed projects ranging from creating elementary school environmental education curriculums to starting community gardens to researching women’s rights in South America. We look forward to the many new and exciting projects that this year’s SAGE members will take on.
For more information including SAGE applications click here.
By: Kevin Bedson
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is gearing up for a new exciting academic year. The staff of the Center is hard at work preparing for the upcoming Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue, one of the Center’s signature events, which will take place at FGCU on October 27, 2014 in the Cohen Center Ballroom from 5pm to7pm.
The big news at the start of this year is that Brandon Hollingshead has been nominated as Interim Director for the Center. Hollingshead is more than qualified for the position. He has been affiliated with the center since its inception in 2004, when he was hired as Center Staff. After attending graduate school at the University of Utah, Hollingshead returned to FGCU as a professor of interdisciplinary studies and as a Faculty Associate of the Center. Hollingshead is the perfect candidate to hold the title of Interim Director while the Center’s Director of ten years, Peter Blaze Corcoran is in Kenya further contributing to curriculum development at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies in Nairobi. Corcoran spent the past year working at the Wangari Maathai Institute in Nairobi as part of his Fulbright Fellowship and is planning to return to Africa for an additional ten months this year while he is on his sabbatical.
Hollingshead will stay in touch with Corcoran while he is in Africa, as they are currently working on a new book together on Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures. Additional information on Center activities and upcoming events will be posted on the Center’s website soon.
By: Kevin Bedson
This year the Center is welcoming a new member to our team, filling our new position of executive secretary, Judy Rosenberg. Judy will help the Center with accounting, fundraising, scheduling and all Center events. She will also keep up with Center reporting which will be a huge help during Director Peter Blaze’s Fulbright Fellowship in Africa. Judy is an essential member of our team and her input and hard work will help lead the Center into another great year.
Judy Rosenberg recently relocated from Palm Beach County to SWFL. Originally from Brooklyn New York, where she studied at Brooklyn College. She has worked at Florida Atlantic University and Broward County Libraries. Judy looks forward to spending time with her family who reside in Cape Coral, and -Fort Myers. Her son and daughter-in-law are both FGCU alumni.
On April 22nd, with the help of Kim Charmatz’s class, Kelly Walsh and the FGCU student body the Center successfully planted its beautiful Live Oak tree that was donated by our local forester Clark Ryals! Thank you everyone who made this event such a success and we look forward to our future Earth Day tree plantings. This tree was pledge for the plant-for-the-planet project that was started in Germany by a fourth grader who was inspired by Wangari Maathai. As you may know, currently Peter Blaze Corcoran is teaching at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peach and Environmental Studies in Niarobi Kenya. The work of this inspirational woman has moved many of us here at the Center and it was an easy decision to pledge our tree for this cause. For more information please visit: http://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/.
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education hosted a ceremonial tree planting Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 10:00am. The tree was planted next to FGCU's Food Forest storage unit. All was invited to join in this Earth Day celebration. Many thanks to Clark Ryals with the Local Forestry Service for donating the beautiful live oak and to FGCU's Grounds Manager, George Brown, for helping us find its home.
We would like to thank Kim Charmatz and her Environmental Education students for their hard work and commitment to making Earth Day (FGCU’s Earth day and the real Earth Day) such a success! Posted above is a picture of the hand-picked and hand written invitations handed out to FGCU students to attend our tree planting ceremony. Also thanks to the Food Foresters for watching over our beautiful Live Oak tree until its planting day.
On April 15th the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education held an Earth Day activities course on the Library Lawn for students to take part in. The course was focused on teaching students sustainable and eco-friendly practices. With help from community partners, students who attended the event went away with a Publix reusable bag and lots of goodies!
After reaching out to the community, we would like to thank several partners for their help and support of our event. The Center was able to receive 150 reusable bags donated from Publix. Publix also supplied us with 200 brown bags to use for our part in The Earth Day Groceries Project. This is the 21st year for The Earth Day Groceries Project, and it is one of the oldest and largest educational activities coordinated online. Our event’s project write up can be found at: http://www.earthdaybags.org/
The FGCU physical plant also played a role in this amazing day by letting the Center borrow their ‘recycle right’ education boards as well as their educational recycling board games. The physical plant focuses on teaching students how to properly recycle on campus. Lee County also helped spread recycling awareness by supplying the Center with 60 educational pamphlets on how to properly recycle in Lee County. FGCU’s Student Government helped our green cleaning education center by donating mason jars for our handmade laundry detergent created from recipes found at the Woman’s Voices for the Earth website. The FGCU Food Forest also supported the Center’s Earth Day event by donating 52 pigeon pea plants, planted in pots donated by the Naples Botanical Garden, that were given to students participating in the event.
As a follow up to FGCU’s Earth Day events, the Local Forestry Services, thanks to Clark Ryals, has donated a 25 gallon Live Oak tree to be planted at the Food Forest on the true Earth Day, April 22nd. Beginning at 8am, this event is open to the entire student body and tree planting activities will be held during this time.
For additional Center supported campus activities please visit our Campus Connections page. There you can find an up to date list of campus events! http://www.fgcu.edu/CESE/campuscnnections.html
To learn more about any of the organizations listed above please visit the following sites:
http://www.fgcu.edu/UndergraduateStudies/foodforest.html , http://www.fgcu.edu/PhysicalPlant/fgcu-recycles.html , http://www.naplesgarden.org/, http://www.conservancy.org/ , http://www.womensvoices.org/
By: Briana Stiehl
Al Gore, Chairman and Founder of the Climate Reality Project wants us to realize that the debate is over, climate change is happening, and the realities of climate change require action. If we are to lessen its impacts we must understand and help others to understand the sense of urgency the climate crisis demands.
The Project recently hosted its 24th Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Johannesburg, South Africa. The three-day event took place March 12-14, 2014 and was the first event of its kind on the African continent. The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education’s Director, Peter Blaze Corcoran, who is currently working in Nairobi Kenya on a Fulbright Fellowship, was invited to attend the training event and became a Climate Reality Leader, joining a global movement of citizens taking action on the climate crisis. Dr. Corcoran traveled from Nairobi to Johannesburg with Wanjira Maathia to represent the Wangari Maathia Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies and FGCU. The event brought over 700 individuals from 53 countries together to learn about how they could personally make a difference in helping solve the climate crisis.
Over the course of the three days, participants learned how to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis, heard from subject experts, learned how to combine science and solutions to engage audiences, and learned how to influence others to take action. One of the most extraordinary parts of the training was the wide variety of people who came to Johannesburg and came away as Climate Reality Leaders. The attendees came from all over the globe, the diversity cut across race, income, profession, and age.
There were leaders from all sectors of society, including teachers, students, farmers, and businesspeople. They came to learn about public communications, the science of climate change, and the solutions we already have, such as alternative energy and grassroots organizing. They left inspired, connected, and ready to join the 6,000 Climate Reality Leaders who are already active around the world. In my interview with Dr. Corcoran he said, “For me the training was life changing”, he explained, “The seemingly unassailable science was horrifying; the response of the leaders and youth leaders was inspiring.”
Attendees who completed the training became Climate Reality Leaders and are required to complete at least 10 activities promoting climate change awareness. Dr. Corcoran has already begun to fulfill his requirement by giving a lecture at the University of Botswana on the response of higher education institutions to the threats of climate change. He will be giving another lecture at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in May, entitled Climate Collapse: Kenya on the Front Lines of a Global Environmental Crisis.
By: Kevin Bedson
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education recently hosted its 2014 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture and 10th Anniversary Celebration. For the first time in the Center’s history, the signature event was a theatrical performance. The Center invited Actress Kaiulani Lee to perform her one-woman show “A Sense of Wonder” which is based on the life and works of Rachel Carson. Lee mesmerized and moved the audience with her convincing portrayal of Carson. Guests felt as though they were watching Rachel Carson herself on the stage.
Immediately following the performance, the Center hosted its Tenth Anniversary Celebration. Guests joined the Center in celebrating a decade worth of scholarship, education and action in pursuit of a more peaceful and sustainable world. During the celebration Sanibel residents Mallory and Peter Haffenreffer, announced that they will graciously renew their Haffenreffer Challenge, which will match gifts to the Center up to a total of $10,000.
We are still working to meet our fundraising goal for this year. Contributions to the Center help support Center activities that include Earth Charter Mini-grants, SAGE Mini-grants (Student Associates for a Greener Environment), scholarly publications in environmental education, student employment, environmental education research, and signature educational events.
The Center would like to extend a Special thanks to BIG ARTS, the Host Committee, the FGCU Book Store, the West Wind Inn and the Editors at the Island Sun for their contributions.
The Center truly appreciates every contribution and hopes to continue to receive such great support from friends, colleagues, and the local community. Such support is vital to the Center's efforts and allows it to continue its work towards a more sustainable local and global community.
By: Kevin Bedson
Excitement filled the atmosphere at BIG ARTS as guests waited with anticipation to see Rachel Carson brought to life in the renowned one-woman show “A Sense of Wonder”. Actress Kaiulani Lee, who brings more than 35 years of experience in theatre, film, and television to her portrayal of Carson, performs the play with extreme passion. Lee’s magical and moving performance genuinely captured Carson’s essence and left guests captivated.
The Center’s annual Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture seeks to engage the public in discussions on sustainability, ethics, democracy and literature with scholars and public intellectuals. This year, to celebrate its tenth anniversary the Center invited Kaiulani Lee to perform her one-woman show. In “A Sense of Wonder”, Lee takes on the role of Rachel Carson in order to showcase Carson’s love of the natural world and her fight to defend it. The play has been the centerpiece of regional and national conferences on conservation, education, journalism, and the environment, and the Center knew it would be a great way to commemorate Rachel Carson and bring her message to life.
Prior to the play, Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran presented Co-chairs Mary Evelyn Tucker and David Orr with the Center’s highest award, the Rachel Carson Award. The Center gives this award, in the form of a lightning whelk, to recipients who embody Rachel Carson’s contributions most relevant to the Center’s mission. Tucker and Orr then made brief remarks, which set the context for the play. Orr set up the historical context and explained why it is so important that we heed Carson’s warnings and spread her message today. Tucker provided the cosmological context for Carson’s work by drawing attention to the larger story of the Universe and life on Earth.
After the play the Center hosted its Tenth Annual Celebration in Philips Gallery. Guests were invited to join the Center in remembering a decade’s worth of scholarship, education, and action in pursuit of a more peaceful and sustainable world. Center Director Peter Corcoran along with Mary Evelyn Tucker and David Orr made remarks on the Center’s ten-year history and its future, and Kaiulani Lee joined guests to reflect on the importance of Rachel Carson’s work. Then, Sanibel residents Mallory and Peter Haffenreffer announced that they will graciously renew their fundraising challenge, which will match donations to the Center up to a total of $10,000.
The Center is looking forward to the future and is delighted that Ms. Kaiulani Lee came to Sanibel and evoked Carson’s spirit as a way of commemorating her legacy and the Center’s ten-year history. The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is a scholarly center located at Florida Gulf Coast University. The Center works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth.
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 has welcomed back its entire staff to begin the new academic year. The Center would like to welcome Student Assistant Kevin Bedson and Briana Stiehl to the team, and we welcome back Darrel Bagiotti, Betsy Evans, and Andrew Stansell.
The Center will be celebrating its tenth year of working to realize the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. In a decade of excellence its commitment to the FGCU and southwest Florida community has allowed the Center to share its vision with hundreds of students, community members, and businesses on both local and international scales.
Briana Stiehl is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University and a SWFL native. Her major is Environmental Studies. She is interested in the outdoors, raising her own animals and riding horses in her spare time. While working for The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education Briana will manage the website and maintain files. Briana hopes to share knowledge in this field of education to others including the public. Briana would love to work in the outdoors upon graduation.
Kevin Bedson is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University and a South Florida native. His major is Communication Ecology and he has a minor in Philosophy. He is interested in the role that media plays in shaping our perception of the natural world. Kevin enjoys outdoor activities, especially those on and in the water. Kevin is an avid wake boarder, free diver, and scuba diver. Kevin’s role at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education will be public relations and will include managing the Center’s website and working with local newspapers. While working at the Center Kevin hopes to extend principles of sustainable living to students and the community.
Betsy Evans is a graduate student at Florida Gulf Coast University working towards a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences. She received a B.A. in Biology with a minor in Spanish from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Betsy is a lab instructor for the General Biology labs at FGCU and assists in avian research at the Babcock Ranch. She hopes to continue her education emphasizing in ornithology.
Andrew Stansell is a graduate from FGCU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies. This is Andrew’s fifth year at the Center and he will be taking a lead role in managing the Center’s SAGE Mini-grant program. He has pursued his passion for the environment since his childhood through outdoor recreational activities. After graduation Andrew hopes to continue his education in fisheries management.
We will be looking to our Student Assistants to help us duplicate the success of last year’s term. Last year we were able to hold a number of successful events including our two signature events, Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue and Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. In addition to our two signature events, we also enjoyed our most successful Fundraiser ever!
We are already working hard in preparation for this year’s events. This year the Center will be hosting its Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture and Tenth Anniversary Celebration. This year’s performance will be “A Sense of Wonder” by Kaiulani Lee. The first of two performances will take place Thursday evening, February 20, 2014 at 7:00pm on campus at the TheatreLab. The next performance will be Friday, February 21, 2014. The event will be held at 7:30pm in Schein Hall at BIG ARTS on Sanibel. The Center will also host its Tenth Annual Fundraising Celebration Immediately following the second performance, it will take place on the BIG ARTS porch and terrace at 9:00pm.
We invite you to join us in remembering a decade’s worth of scholarship, education, and action in pursuit of a more peaceful and sustainable world. For more information please contact our Student Assistants at 239-590-7025 or our Executive Secretary at 239-590-7444.