October 13 Conference Brings Together Place-Based and Ecological Educators to Share Ideas, Inspiration, and Techniques
Founded in 2017 as the Wellborn Hub, the Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative (UVTPC) is a network of education professional development providers and practitioners who work together to advance high-quality, place-based and ecological education (PBEE) in all Upper Valley Schools. This style of teaching expands the classroom walls by bringing learning experiences into the communities and ecosystems where students live. Practitioners prioritize learning opportunities that are student-centered, inquiry-based, outside in nature or the community, and focused on authentic problems, with improved academic, socio-emotional, and health benefits for students; teacher engagement and satisfaction; and strengthened community partnerships for schools.
The October 13 event welcomes K-12 and early childhood educators, ecological education professional development providers, and anyone interested in advancing equitable access to place-based ecology education.
Last year’s event was the first UVTPC gathering since the pandemic. “It was so good to reconnect with colleagues and connect with new folks, too,” said Dawn Dextraze, Education and Outreach Specialist of the Sullivan County Conservation District, and a member of the UVTPC Steering Committee. “I definitely came away energized and wanting more.”
UVTPC is funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Wellborn Ecology Fund. In creating the Wellborn Ecology Fund, Marguerite Wellborn quietly directed that her entire bequest “be used for public awareness of environmental and ecological issues in the Upper Valley.” Since its inception, the Wellborn Ecology Fund has impacted the lives of countless students and families throughout the Upper Valley.
“Thanks to Marguerite Wellborn’s foresight and generosity, the Upper Valley is teeming with amazing educators and initiatives focused on helping our young people become compassionate and skilled stewards of our environment and community. The UVTPC conference is where it all comes together!” said Joan Haley, a member of the UVTPC Steering Committee.
Now, as the fund approaches its 25th anniversary, the UVTPC annual fall gatherings are needed more than ever. “After a shift to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, students are experiencing increasing disconnect from the natural world around them,” said Andrew Deaett, a Vital Communities Project Manager. “This summer has been marked by dense wildfire smoke filling the air, and catastrophic flooding across the region reminding us of the urgency presented by the climate crisis. Place-based ecology education is a powerful antidote, providing students with opportunities to learn, heal, and become agents of change in their communities. We can do this work in partnership within and across school districts, alongside community partners, and supported by the amazing professional development providers in our region.”
Conference participants will join a community of place-based ecology educators to learn, play, support, contribute, and connect. They will select from a variety of hands-on learning workshops, many led by their peers. There will be sessions for early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school educators with opportunities to learn new curriculum ideas and contribute to regional initiatives. Participants will receive a certificate of participation for 6 hours of professional development.
Register to attend here.
Sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative strives to remove barriers to participating in our fall conference. While we receive generous funding from the Wellborn Ecology Fund to significantly offset the costs of hosting the conference, there are additional costs such as stipends for presenters, and sourcing food from local producers that help make the conference so special. To facilitate this, we charge a small registration fee and utilize a sliding scale.