Environmental Education Networking Night a Source of Professional Contacts and Regional Pride

On April 23rd, 28 environmental educators from the greater Southwest Minnesota region converged on the Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site for a meeting sponsored by the site, the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, and the Center for Rural and Regional Studies at Southwest State University. The night before the meeting, rainfall amounts throughout parts of the region reached four inches. These dedicated educators were not stopped by road detours and were not about to be kept inside due to typical cool weather and steady winds.

They began in the interpretive center by sharing ideas and resources over supper. As participants introduced themselves, they gave testimony to the varied, creative examples of what environmental education (EE) means in this corner of the state. Those who teach about agriculture and rural culture explained their ties to the environment. Naturalists offered to convey their outdoor enthusiasm to classes and community groups. Agency educators and teachers exchanged activity ideas. Professors learned about potential research and field trip sites. Students were given an introduction to EE as a career.

After gathering bags full of handouts, books, and posters, the participants headed out into the stiff prairie wind to witness the famed Native American rock carvings, etched over the past 5000 years. They examined a patch of unplowed prairie and a rock outcrop make glass-like by the rubbing of buffalo. As the sun set on the prairie horizon, each participant left with new contacts, a renewed pride in the region, and a commitment to teaching about its heritage.

Science and Technology 203
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street Marshall, MN 56258
Phone: (507) 537-6226
Fax: (507) 537-6147

Last updated: March 21, 2006