An Intentionally Designed Sustainability Course: Integrating Service-Learning and Community Engagement into Sustainability Education

By Amélie Y. Davis, Steve G. Green, Kurt A. Heppard and Daniela S. Lawrence

ABSTRACT: In this paper we offer an approach to sustainability-related education that can help students integrate the lessons they are learning in the classrooms to the type of real-world applications they will encounter in the workplace. We believe that by using our campus as a living-learning laboratory and engaging students in hands-on projects within a campus lab that directly contribute to one of their institution’s leading sustainability initiatives, we can unlock the highest levels of educational achievement and student satisfaction. We describe our course as intentionally designed because we have developed it with a specific purpose that goes beyond the stated learning objectives. Our course not only addresses recognized institutional and course-level educational outcomes, but also uses a community engagement approach that also directly supports important aspects of an enterprise-wide Sustainability Strategic Plan. We present relevant literature, highlight the significance of our approach to sustainability education, and describe its impact at our institution and in the community. We then offer detailed descriptions of our course’s activities, discuss lessons-learned and suggest future potential avenues of research and application. We hope this case study may prove to be an exemplar or a catalyst for other institutions of higher education as well as inspire further research aimed at improving sustainability education.

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A Case Study for Climate Change Teacher Professional Development in West Virginia

By Kathryn Williamson, Jamie Shinn, Deb Hemler and Sandra M. Fallon

Abstract: The West Virginia Climate Change Professional Development (WVCCPD) Project was developed in 2019 as an effort to engage West Virginia K-12 teachers and informal educators in climate change professional development to encourage learning and action. Started by astronomy educators who are passionate about climate change, the project has been an experiment that has iteratively grown each year. By bringing in social science experts, communication specialists, community activists, master teachers, and learning how to best support teachers and their students through misconceptions and empowering action, we have engaged over 130 W.Va. educators. WVCCPD represents a promising case study for how educators can come together across disciplines and institutions to build an engaging climate change learning community, even in West Virginia, an area that is known for fossil fuel extraction. We hope this paper informs other teacher education practitioners.

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Koalas – Agents for Change: A case study from regional Victoria

By Rolf Schlagloth, Barry Golding, Barry Kentish, Gabrielle McGinnis, Ian D. Clark, Tim Cadman, Fred (David) Cahir and Flavia Santamaria

Abstract: We investigated the success of the Koala Conservation and Education Programme conducted in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia from 2000-2009 by interviewing 28 individuals, from various stakeholder groups involved in the project. Transcripts were analysed using grounded theory to identify common themes, keywords and phrases. We conclude that the chosen ‘flagship’ species, the Koala, was crucial for the success of the project which culminated in the adoption of the Koala Plan of Management and habitat overlays into the City of Ballarat’s planning scheme. Local people were concerned about the Koala based on its conservation status nationally and globally rather than because of its local or Victorian status. We conclude that the concept of ‘flagship’ species in the case of the Koala, is more a global than a local construct. 

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