2009 Oxford Institute for Environmental Education (OIEE) began today at Oxhouse Science Center, science field station of Oxford College. Founded in 1992, OIEE provides an opportunity for science 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 Dr. 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.”
Teachers must apply to attend OIEE. The 20 who are participating this year were selected from more than 80 applicants and represent schools across Georgia and north Florida. During the ten-day seminar, which ends on June 19, participants 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 learn this summer and discuss their continuing projects.
The OIEE staff includes Dr. Baker as well as Dr. 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 the Gwinnett County (Georgia) 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.