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Conference Keynote Speakers

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Dr. Megan Bang

Dr. Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent) is a Professor of the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University and is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. Dr. Bang studies foundational dynamics of culture, learning, and development across the life course and has been especially focused on knowledge organization, reasoning, and decision-making about complex socio-ecological systems and their intersections with identity, cultural variation, history and power. In her work, these issues are central to the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, adaptation, and sustainability, as well as the kinds of social and civic relations intertwined with these issues. Dr. Bang is a board member of the National Academies of Education and a member of the Board of Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences.  

Dr. Megan Bang will join us virtually during the first morning of the conference. During her keynote address “Land and Water Based Education That Contributes to Just and Sustainable Futures”, Dr. Bang will discuss key dimensions of Indigenous and decolonial education that help to create equitable and just forms of learning for all students. She’ll also explore the ways in which culture and identity are central to learning and instruction and importantly how to reimagine family and community engagement that both improve learning and transform historically accumulating power dynamics that have and continue to characterize many learning environments. During the talk, she’ll share examples of new models of education intended to concretize these broader issues, including “Indigenous STEAM” and “Learning in Places”, and dive into ways these projects center socio-ecological realities alongside issues of equity and justice that youth will navigate across their life course. Importantly both models work to engage learning on and with lands as water as central to learning. Across both learning environments, key conceptual and pedagogical dimensions will be highlighted and explored and key principles relevant to all learning environments will be articulated. To learn more about Dr. Megan Bang’s work, visit her site here

Rosemary Mosco

Rosemary is an author, illustrator, and speaker whose work connects people with the natural world. She’s written and drawn for The New York Times, Audubon, the PBS show Elinor Wonders Why, The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids, Ranger Rick, and more, and has a regular comic strip in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine. She creates acclaimed science books for kids and adults and makes the nature comic Bird and Moon, which won the National Cartoonists Society’s award for Best Online Short Form Comic and was the subject of an award-winning museum exhibit. 

Rosemary will join us virtually during the second afternoon of the conference. During her keynote address “Connecting People & Nature through Comics”, Rosemary will share funny stories and lessons learned from her years spent blending science and humor to create cartoons, books, and more. Discover new joy in common creatures and find out why comics have a special power in the world of outreach. For more on Rosemary check out her Bird & Moon comic page here

Conference Workshops

An In-Depth Look at NAAEE's Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence

Hannah Rennard-Ganley, Keep Omaha Beautiful

This workshop will focus on the Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence. These guidelines offer educators, administrators, and program developers a way of assessing the relative merit of different programs, a standard to aim for in developing new programs, and a set of ideas about what a well-rounded environmental education program might be like. Through a series of interactive activities and discussions, participants in this session will explore the six key characteristics of high-quality environmental education programs as described in this guide.  

Good Morning Students, Please Welcome You New Teacher, Nature!

Dr. Brenda Hunter Murphy, Umonhon Nation Public Schools

Half a century ago, all children spent unstructured free time outside, but not anymore. In this presentation, we will discuss the impact as well as a viable solution. Ashita TheWathe is a successful public school-based program that has served K-8 students for over 5 years - and we will show you how you can do it too!

Pollinator Education and Action for Youth

Brandy VanDeWalle, Nebraska Extension; Lynne Campbell and Maya Hayslett, Iowa State University Extension

Pollinator Education and Action for Youth is a program to educate youth of all ages (K-12) about pollinator biology, importance, and conservation. In this workshop you will experience the hands-on lessons available in this free curriculum and discover ways to incorporate them into your own educational programs.

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