3rd Annual Inquiry-Based Education Conference will give teachers’ tools to take class outside

The Plains, OH— Registration is underway for the 3rd Annual Inquiry-Based Education conference at Burr Oak State Park Lodge and Conference Center, November 1-3. Organized by Rural Action and Camp Oty’ Okwa, the three-day event brings teachers’, administrators’, informal educators’, and students’ together around inquiry-based environmental and outdoor education.

“Inquiry-Based Education is a method of teaching that poses a question or a problem to students and gets them to problem solve and arrive at the answer through a discovery process. It helps students develop skills like critical thinking, communication, working as part of a group, and being creative” said Joe Brehm, Rural Action’s Environmental Education Director and one of the conference organizers.

Keynotes this year include Dr. Herb Broda from Ashland University, who will speak about “Moving the Classroom Outdoors: It’s Doable; It’s Powerful; It’s Essential!” And, Carolyn Watkins, Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Education, who will present about environmental career connections and a statewide program called Career Ambassadors.

Over the three days, more than 20 sessions will cover topics such as hands-on solar and wind turbine building, prairie ants and butterflies, environmental impacts of acid mine drainage, a tour of local school land labs, and more. One session features Jen Dennison from Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the state Project WILD Coordinator, who will present about a WILD School Sites grant program. Sue Smith, of Keep America Beautiful is traveling from Chicago to share a “Waste in Place” curriculum developed for K-6 students. Additionally, natural resource professionals’ career panel is being organized by the Wayne National Forest.

“Helping teachers understand what types of jobs are available through the USDA Forest Service will help them make career connections with students. Young people across southeast Ohio enjoy recreational opportunities on the Wayne National Forest with their families, being able to help them associate national forest land with a future career is important to us,” said Gary Chancey, Public Affairs Officer for the Wayne National Forest.

After the first conference in 2014, the organizing committee including Cathy Knoop, expert educator with Camp Oty’Okwa, felt strongly about the need to continue the conference annually. According to Brehm, the first conference brought 132 people from 16 school districts together. “Participants shared successes, hopes, and struggles about integrating inquiry and environmental education into their classes; they learned new tools from their peers, and were able to connect with other teachers passionate about outdoor and experiential learning.” he said. “Going into our third year, we can say that the premise of the conference will be the same — teacher’s will gain new tools and resources, but what we are finding that is really important, is strengthening the community of practice and knowledge sharing that we are building through this event” said Brehm.

The cost to register for the full conference is $100. For those who are unable to participate for the entire 3-days, the cost is $40 per day, including meals. Some scholarships are available for both teachers and interested students. Information about scholarships may be directed to Joe Brehm, 740-767-2225 or joe@ruralaction.org. Additionally, Graduate Credit is available and certificates provided for CEUs. The full conference itinerary and registration is at http://ruralaction.org/eeconference

The 3rd Annual Inquiry- Based Education Conference is sponsored by: The Sugar Bush Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, Rural Action, Camp Oty’Okwa, Wayne National Forest, Upgrade Athens, O’Bleness Health Systems, and the US EPA.

Rural Action is a member-based sustainable community development organization. Their mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. Rural Action’s Environmental Education program works to connect students and teachers in Appalachian Ohio with outdoor learning opportunities. They collaborate with schools to meet science, language arts, math, and social studies standards through environmental education.
Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org

For more information about the conference contact: Joe Brehm 740-767-2225 or joe@ruralaction.org

For information about attending the conference as a member of the media contact: Susi Acord 740-677-4047 ex. 11 or susi@ruralaction.org

On October 4th, 2016, posted in: In the Press by