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Area Educators Learn about New Opportunities at Center's Teacher Mingle

March 14, 2013

Category: Environmental Science, Events

Teacher MingleArea teachers and the staff of the Center for the Environment met recently to explore ways the Center and its Campaign for Clean Air can help them in the classroom, especially as they prepare lessons on air pollution and ways to lessen it.

;Salisbury-Rowan and Cabarrus County teachers, Catawba students majoring in education, faculty and staff gathered for a Teacher Mingle March 11 to share ideas and network with one another. "We are trying to discern the most efficient mechanisms by which the Center can help support our teachers and school systems in their environmental education efforts," said Dr. John Wear, the Center's executive director.

Noting that it is not possible for Center staff to work one-on-one with all area teachers, Wear said staff members are planning approaches that will engage countless teachers in sharing resources and classroom-tested activities. "We want input from the teachers because they are the ones that are the experts," Wear said. "They are the ones on the ground who know how to take that lesson plan or video resource and use it in the classroom."

The first Teacher Mingle netted a number of good ideas, Wear said. "We learned about creating points of contact within the Salisbury-Rowan and Cabarrus schools and working with resource professionals as well as teachers."

The discussion led to the Center's commitment to developing Saturday workshops for teachers, one of which might be how teachers can use the Fred J. Stanback Ecological Preserve on the Catawba campus in their classroom activities.

A herpetology event is scheduled from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, in the Stanback Preserve. "This would be a good opportunity for teachers to visit the preserve and learn what educational opportunities are available," Wear said.  For more information on this event, individuals may contact the Center at (704) 637-4727.

;One tool the staff premiered at the meeting involves a resource site called Symbaloo.  The Center4Environment Symbaloo page on the Center's Campaign for Clean Air website – – shares information and lesson plans from teachers and resources like the Geophysical Institute in Alaska, Cambridge University and NASA.

Symbaloo's Center4Environment page, a project of Intern Colleen Smiley and Center Outreach Coordinators Sarah Moore and Holly Weir, is a collection of science and environment lesson plans for teachers in kindergarten through grade 12.

The educators at the Teacher Mingle reacted positively to the Center's Symbaloo page. "You spend so much time looking through the internet," said Angie Strode, a teacher at North Rowan Middle School.  "That's an awesome resource for us."

For more information about any of the Center's programs or the Center4Environment Symbaloo page, individuals may contact Sarah Moore at or (704) 637-4727 or Colleen Smiley at

The Center for the Environment at Catawba College was founded in 1996 to provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country. For more information, visit or


InfoCenter for the Environment


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