The news is full of reports of how hard the pandemic has been on schools, teachers, and students. One antidote is place-based education: rigorous, standards-based learning in which students go beyond the school walls and interact with the natural world and human community around them. Students benefit from the hands-on learning, teamwork, and real-world connection this type of learning offers. Many place-based projects also give students the opportunity to positively change their environment or community, which builds a sense of belonging.
One of the best ways for Upper Valley teachers to stay abreast of resources, techniques, and applications of place-based education has been the Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative‘s fall conference sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
After being on hiatus due to the pandemic, the conference is back!
“The timing of the UVTPC conference is perfect,” said Andy Wood, a 6th-grade teacher at Prosper Valley School in Pomfret and a member of the UVTPC Steering Committee. “I’m really looking forward to connecting with others and getting inspired. The lineup of presenters looks amazing and the setting on Lake Morey is going to be beautiful.”
Registration is open and stipends are available for:
2022 Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative Conference
Friday, November 4, 7:30-3:30 pm
Lake Morey Resort, 82 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee VT
Teachers, administrators, early childhood educators, daycare providers, and anyone with an interest in place-based ecological education are welcome.
Please note that the agenda is subject to change
7:30 – 8:00 Continental Breakfast and Check-In
8:00 – 8:30 Interactive Networking
8:30 – 10:30 Hands-on Learning Sessions
Sessions include: Citizen Science with Vermont Center for Ecostudies • Equitable Climate Action (panel discussion) • Regeneration Corps: Bring learning outside • Four Winds: Building Peaceful Communities Through Nature-Based Play and Learning • Glen Falls (Valley) Quest
10:30 – 10:45 Break
11:00 – 11:30 Introduction to and Designing Open Space
11:30 – 12:30 Teacher Celebration and Lunch
12:30 – 3:00 Open Space
Sessions include: PBE Basics with Dawn Dextraze (Sullivan County Conservation District) • VINS Early Childhood Ed • Mindfulness Walk • Visit to a school garden • Classroom phenology with Hubbard Brook Research Foundation
3:00 – 3:30 Closing
More About Place-Based Education
“Place-based education provides students with the tools and resources to not only discover the environmental and cultural wealth around them, but to also become agents of change for a sustainable future in their own communities,” said Andrew Deaett, Vital Communities’ Farm to School Project Manager and one of the planners of the UVTPC conference.
Place-based education also addresses emotional needs, said Gabrielle Smith, UVTPC Project Manager. “Attachment to place is connected to a sense of well-being for themselves, the community, and the land. As we humans have become more mobile and less rooted, it’s important that we connect to where we live. That sense of place grounds us to the world around us and to each other because we begin to see how, despite differences, we all do care about the place we call home.”
More About the Conference
Along with offering educators a chance to connect with peers who share their interest in place-based education, the conference offers sessions on topics including:
- Citizen science with Vermont Center for Ecostudies
- Equitable Climate Action – a project classrooms can contribute to
- Regeneration Corps – local youth-powered service projects to address climate impacts
- Building peaceful communities through nature-based play and learning
- Classroom phenology with Hubbard Brook Research Foundation
In addition, the conference offers a visit to a school garden, the chance to take a Valley Quest, many opportunities to learn with and from other PBEE educators across the Upper Valley. The conference is a place for participants to learn, grow, connect, and recharge for the school year ahead. In support of this goal, UVTPC is offering a $100 stipend to provide financial support to participants. To express interest in receiving a stipend, please contact Gabrielle Smith at email@example.com. Though there are a limited number of stipends available, it is our intention to meet the needs of those who express interest. The stipends are to cover whatever costs that affect a person’s ability to attend.
Conference partners include Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Regeneration Corps, Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences, Peer Associates, Shelburne Farms, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, Sullivan County Conservation District, Four Winds Nature Institute, and teachers from around the Upper Valley. In addition to hands-on learning sessions, we will be offering mindfulness walks, Open Space, a teacher celebration, opportunities to visit local schools and exploration of a nearby Valley Quest.