Fellowship to help CT Audubon Society bring climate change educate to schools

Aug 14th, 2014 | By | Category: Climate Change

Connecticut Audubon Society’s education director, Michelle Eckman, has been selected as one of 26 recipients of a prestigious international fellowship to develop a climate change curriculum for high school freshmen in New Haven, with a goal of expanding the curriculum to high schools throughout the state.

The Community Climate Change Fellowship was announced today by EECapacity, a national environmental education training program led by

Eckman being honored with the Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year award during a meeting of the National Audubon Society Board of Directors at Audubon's Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples, Florida, Jan. 29, 2011. The prestigious award, named for a pioneering Audubon education leader, has been bestowed annually since 2006. It recognizes outstanding commitment, professionalism and accomplishment in Audubon conservation education.

Eckman being honored with the Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year award during a meeting of the National Audubon Society Board of Directors at Audubon’s Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples, Florida, Jan. 29, 2011. The prestigious award, named for a pioneering Audubon education leader, has been bestowed annually since 2006. It recognizes outstanding commitment, professionalism and accomplishment in Audubon conservation education.

Cornell University in cooperation with the U.S. EPA and a consortium of partners, including the North American Association for Environmental Education and Environmental Education Exchange.

During the fellowship, Ms. Eckman will develop a climate change curriculum with Common Ground High of New Haven. The new curriculum will be integrated into freshman chemistry, biodiversity, environmental justice, world history, and environmental science courses.

Like all Connecticut Audubon Society’s science education programs, it will fit within the framework of the organization’s innovative Science in Nature curriculum and will emphasize hands-on outdoor learning as well as classroom activities. The climate change program will also include professional development workshops and service-learning experiences.

The curriculum will focus on how climate change is affecting Connecticut year-round and within individual seasons, and how young people and adults can mitigate and prepare for those effects. It will also demonstrate how actions that benefit public health can ease the effects of climate change.

“This fellowship is not only an honor for Michelle and for Connecticut Audubon Society, but it will help us move the critical issue of climate change into the forefront of secondary education in the state,” said Connecticut Audubon Society President Alexander R. Brash. “If, like Connecticut Audubon Society, conservation is your goal then you have to be educating young people – and adults – about how climate change is manifesting itself and what can be done about it.”

“We are thrilled to be able to work with Common Ground High School, one of the most progressive schools in the state as far as environmental education goes,” Ms. Eckman said. “Together we will be able to put climate change front and center, and develop a program that benefits students there and, eventually, statewide.”

Ms. Eckman, who became Connecticut Audubon Society’s education director in January 2012, is one of 26 fellows from across the United States, Canada and Mexico who were selected based on experience in environmental education and community development as well as ideas for innovative solution to climate change.

She developed Connecticut Audubon Society’s Science in Nature education program, which since the 2012-13 school year has provided hands-on, outdoor science education to 4,500 students from Bridgeport, Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport, Meriden, East Hartford and Manchester. Science in Nature is the foundation of Connecticut Audubon’s education programs at each of the organization’s centers (Fairfield, Milford Point, Glastonbury and Pomfret).

The Community Climate Change Fellowship lasts for eight months and includes an intensive five-day leadership and professional development workshop.

For a list of fellows and more information about the Community Climate Change Fellowship program, visit www.eecapacity.net.

Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society is the state’s original and independent Audubon society. The organization uses the charismatic nature of birds to inspire this generation of conservationists, and the next. Based in Fairfield, CAS conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s birds and habitats.

The Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education Project, or EECapacity for short, is EPA’s National Environmental Education Training Program. EECapacity encourages innovation by promoting the exchange of ideas among professionals with diverse perspectives. The project is led by a partnership among Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab, the North American Association for Environmental Education, Environmental Education Exchange, Akiima Price Consulting, New Knowledge Organization, U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, and numerous government, non-profit, and community organizations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

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