Cultivating new connections

Cultivating new connections

From Steve McIsaac, Executive Director of Inside Education

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Yes, we are an award-winning natural resources and environmental education society. Yes, we are still celebrating our 30th Anniversary (30 and holding?). Yes, we have impacted the environmental and natural resources learning of a full generation of Alberta students.

But we don’t know everything.

In each one of our program theme areas – forest education, climate change education, energy education, wetlands, on and on – we learn with and from experts. We stand alongside our fellow teachers and investigate the science, technology, challenges, opportunities and innovations in Alberta and beyond.

We are incredibly lucky to have access to experts and leaders across the spectrum of ideas when it comes to our key topic areas. We are also incredibly lucky that so many teachers find value in the programs we provide.

Since our inception in 1985, we have always had a teacher on our Board of Directors. A few years ago, we asked a panel of teacher experts we gathered: “Okay, what’s next for Inside Education?

We wanted to know program approaches that resonate in the 21st Century classroom. We wanted to know how to continue to integrate technology and, at the same time, reflect our core value of direct connection with Alberta learners.

We also really wanted to know what are the environmental and natural resources themes that we ought to tackle next. What do students want to know? What do teachers NOT know but wish they did.

Based on this advice, last year we launched our Climate Change Education Project and are having great fun implementing some really incredible programs.

Also based on this advice, we are delighted to turn our attention to a new, dedicated program area for Inside Education, one we’ve nibbled around the edges of for many years: Agriculture in Alberta

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Our long history developing and delivering both water education programming and natural region education programs over the years has seen us visit dozens of farms, livestock operations, irrigation dams and canals. This year, we will entrench agriculture, Alberta’s second (or third, depending on the year) largest industry, into our suite of natural resources education programs.

We are already well under way in planning and promoting our first Agriculture Education programs. These programs for all ages and grades, for both teachers and for students. We are able to develop these programs from generous support of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Ag in the Classroom Canada, Nutrients for Life, the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association, and with the kind input of Ag for Life.

We can’t wait to share all that we learn with all of you.

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