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Sources: Mary Hammel, 785-532-5893, mhammel@k-state.edu;
and Dru Clarke, dclarke@k-state.edu
Web site: http://www.coe.k-state.edu/sustain
Note to editor: Tyler Fennema is a graduate of Abilene High School, and Molly Barnicle is a
graduate of Olathe North High School.
News release prepared by: Kay Garrett, 785-532-3238, anuenue@k-state.edu

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

K-STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION OFFERS FREE SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES WEB SITE FOR EDUCATORS, PUBLIC

MANHATTAN -- Planning lessons about Earth Day, recycling, conservation, "green" products and e-waste just got easier with a new Web site from Kansas State University's College of Education.

The sustainability resources Web site at http://www.coe.k-state.edu/sustain is loaded with teaching resources, and its creators intend to expand it continuously as they identify new resources: lesson plans, books, articles, resource links, recycling hints, profiles of individuals who are making a difference, classroom activities, upcoming environmental education programs and events, and more.

The site is the vision of graphic designer Mary Hammel, associate director for media/creative services in K-State's College of Education, in collaboration with Dru Clarke, instructor in the college's Core Teaching Skills Lab. Hammel put up the site in November 2009, and she showcased it to a general audience at K-State's annual sustainability conference in late January.

Hammel and Clarke hope the site will be a repository for sustainability and environmental education resources for educators. In that way, they said, the site will serve to reinforce the mission of the college to prepare educators to be knowledgeable, ethical, caring decision makers.

"The College of Education trains teachers who will introduce new topics to youngsters. A repository of information like this will assist them in their planning. The students, in turn, are the generation that will be creating the solutions to sustainability issues," Hammel said.

"My rationale for developing the site was pretty straightforward," Hammel said. "I asked myself, 'what can I do to help?' As a graphic designer I could start a Web site that contains as many educational resources as I can find about sustainability, so classroom teachers and also our K-State student teachers can quickly and easily find lesson plan material and tools."

The site has examples of lesson plans on sustainability topics developed by K-State education students, along with profiles on people who are making a difference when it comes to sustainability issues. New lesson plans by students at K-State and elsewhere will be added as more teaching examples are developed.

Clarke said that in general, the thinking about sustainability, once viewed as the province of the sciences, is much broader now and sustainability topics are recognized as part of many other curricular areas. She wants to challenge today's educators to think of how their particular subject area might address sustainability, which she believes touches all areas and that every teacher can impact their students' understanding of how important the concept is.

"My role, as I see it, is not to bludgeon our future teachers with fearsome stories but to use teachable moments to point out the connectedness of events with the environment," she said.

Clarke said examples include how a social studies lesson could involve an alphabet of resources; a science lesson might look at erosion, distinguishing between natural and human causes; and an elementary class might learn potato stamping as an example of an activity that needs no electricity or advanced technology.

"We hope to showcase what others outside the College of Education are doing as well," Clarke said.

Clarke also thinks students today are more aware of global issues, and she is seeing a shift in some textbooks to present a more global perspective. "For example, in one series, the author presents the United States as a village, and the world as a village, and illustrates how children live around the world. It is apparent that people could be happy and content and healthy even with only very limited material goods," she said. "I am cheered by the shift."

Hammel and Clarke welcome suggestions, ideas and resources to be included on the Web site. They can be submitted to mhammel@k-state.edu or dclarke@k-state.edu.

The Web site already features lessons plans developed by several K-State students as well as profiles of K-State students active in sustainability, including:

* Kate Ireton, senior in secondary education-earth science, Bennington, "Erosion and deposition by running water," for eighth grade earth science. Ireton also is profiled on the Web site.

* Aaron Vernon, senior in secondary education-biological science, Fort Riley, "Keystones, Neither Keys nor Stones," for eighth grade science.

* Tyler Fennema, senior in secondary education-social studies, Manhattan, "Alphabetical Resources: Limited or Otherwise," for secondary science/social studies. Fennema also is profiled on the Web site.

* Molly Barnicle, senior in family and consumer science education, Olathe, "Potato Stamps," for seventh grade family and consumer sciences.

* Maria Eisenbise, senior in elementary education, Sabetha, "Keeping Our Neighborhood Healthy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," for third grade environmental science.

* Molly Hamm, senior in secondary education and English, Shawnee, is profiled on the Web site.