This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education’s Winter Workshop which was held at the the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point’s Treehaven campus near Tomahawk, Wisconsin.
The WAEE Winter Workshop allows environmental educators (including their families) to get away to the Northwoods of Wisconsin for a weekend of education, inspiration and fun. The varied presentations and experiences offered during each workshop session allowed participants to customize the experience to best fit their needs. In addition to the organized activities, the scenic wooded Treehaven campus was available at all times for skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. The delicious and fortifying healthy cuisine offered by the Treehaven staff was an added plus.
Beyond participating, this year I decided to give back by offering a session sharing one of my passions – Geocaching. In my session titled, “GeoHunt – Teaching using Geocaching Techniques”, I shared a few ways that I have incorporated Geocaching techniques into the Field Instruction curriculum at Conserve School. In the spirit of a good Conserve School class we spent more than 50% of our time outside practicing the techniques and enjoying the clean, crisp, wintery Treehaven landscape.
While I enjoyed many sessions, two stood out for me.
Conserve School/UWSP Graduate Fellow Rebecca Deatsman presented, “Twitter 101 for Environmental Educators”. I confess that prior to this session I had little interest in Twitter and that I went to the session to support a staff member. However, Rebecca’s presentation explained some key points about Twitter in ways that have me rethinking my anti-Twitter bias. I may not be “tweeting” right away, but I am going to give it another look. I especially appreciated one of her slides which connected the different social media internet sites to donuts to help bring out the differences between the sites. Here is the graphic which I believe originally came from Three Ships Media.
I was also very impressed by Kendra Liddicoat from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. In her presentation “Evaluation Fun” she shared a variety of techniques to get participants in workshops, activities and perhaps even semester schools to reflect and provide feedback without resorting to the typical survey format. She both explained the techniques and had us practice them. One of the activities was to have a group create a poem that reflects on the recent experience. She challenged us to use this technique to reflect on our Winter Workshop experience. This is probably why her presentation was in the last session. Here is the poem the group I was in created:
Hark tis serene powwow
Ice diamonds and wolf sounds
Tracks and Treks
Preschoolers lead adult play
Laughter, Love and Learning
Delicious dishes, and the food was great too!
There may be a few inside jokes embedded in that poem.
Please enjoy the pictures I have included from the workshop. I had intended to take more, but I kept getting distracted by the great conversations and session content.
Head of School, Conserve School
Board Member, Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education