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Posted: July 11, 2009 10:28 a.m.

Local teacher participates in Institute for Environmental Education

Intensive two-week seminar at Oxford College shares latest techniques, trends

By Ann Borden/

Calvin Pullen and Cheryl Whitfield, a teacher from Rockbridge Elementary School in DeKalb County, participate in a learning exercise on Newton County's Bear Creek.

The 2009 Oxford Institute for Environmental Education (OIEE) concluded was held at the Oxhouse Science Center, science field station of Oxford College. Teachers from across Georgia and north Florida wrapped up an intensive two weeks of professional development. Founded in 1992, OIEE provides an opportunity for teachers in grades K-12 to collaborate with college biology faculty, gaining new science teaching methods and investigative techniques.  “My colleagues and I look forward each year to the two weeks of OIEE,” said Steven Baker, Oxford College professor of biology and OIEE director. “Environmental concerns are global, but education starts on the local level; it is exciting for us to work with the teachers of our region in employing best practices for imparting environmental awareness and methods to their students.”One of those selected for this year’s institute was Calvin Pullen, environmental science teacher at Eastside High School. Participation in OIEE is highly competitive; the 20 attendees were selected from more than 80 applications. Teachers learn the basic principles of ecology in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, methods for applying this knowledge to lesson plans and ways to develop their own schoolyards for environmental education. At a follow-up meeting in the fall, teachers will share their experiences in implementing what they learned this summer and discuss their continuing projects.The OIEE staff includes Baker as well as Eloise Carter and Theodosia Wade, also of the Oxford College Department of Biology. Master teacher for the institute is Sherry Abts, an award-winning science specialist with Gwinnett County Public Schools.Major funding for OIEE comes from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, with additional support from the Chevron Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Georgia Teacher Quality Program and Wal-Mart. The institute has been awarded the Certificate of Environmental Achievement Award from the National Awards Council for Environmental Sustainability and named Conservation Educator of the Year Award by the Georgia Wildlife Federation. More information can be found on the website, www.oiee.oxford.emory.edu. 
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