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New strides in Climate Action at OISE (University of Toronto)

As one of the largest faculties of education in Canada – and one with a very active, multifaceted Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) Initiative – the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto has cultivated enormous potential to engage numerous stakeholders in taking Climate Action. But this opportunity is not without its own unique challenges – especially how to bring together the many faculty, staff and graduate students/teacher candidates to tackle Climate Action in a large-scale collaboration. Developing a whole-institution approach towards the overarching vision of establishing a Climate Action Plan for OISE – and actually putting that plan into action – requires a strong foundation. Read on to learn about the steps OISE’s community has taken in the last six months to bring about changes to begin turning this Climate Action vision into a reality.

January 2020Hosting the inaugural OISE Climate Action Summit
Seeing the need to implement climate action beyond a departmental level, the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Climate Action Working Group voted to expand their collaborative efforts by hosting the first ever OISE Climate Action Summit. Sponsored by the Dean’s Office, this half-day roundtable Summit, held on Friday, January 31, 2020, brought together over 100 participants comprised of faculty, staff, students and administrators from across the entire OISE community. Watch this short video to see what took place!

March 2020Reviewing and sharing high-priority ideas through the Climate Action Survey
At the Summit, the community generated many ideas across five target areas. Following the event, these ideas were organized to form a basis for OISE’s unfolding Climate Action Plan, specifically in regards to prioritizing action items that can be carried out immediately. To solicit feedback, the Climate Action Survey was sent out to all members of the OISE community to invite participants to review and respond to these ideas.

April 2020Earth Day announcement & call for nominees for the new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee
Following the Summit and survey, a set of recommendations to enact climate action at OISE were presented to OISE’s Dean. In honour of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Dean Jones announced implementation of the first recommendation – to establish a new Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee at OISE. This Committee, chaired by the Dean and co-led by Dr. Hilary Inwood (Lead of OISE’s ESE Initiative) will assist in the development of a strategic Climate Action Plan for OISE, based on the community’s feedback from the Summit and survey. The Dean also announced embedding climate action as part of OISE’s Academic Plan and positioning OISE as a hub for ESE and climate action.

June 2020Formation and first meeting of the Dean’s Climate Action Advisory Committee at OISE
After the Committee was selected (see Membership below), the first meeting was held via Zoom to get members acquainted with each other and their initial tasks and goals for developing the OISE Climate Action Plan. The Plan aims to reduce OISE’s carbon footprint by better embedding sustainability into five areas of OISE’s work: 1) Policy & Governance, 2) Facilities & Operations, 3) Curriculum & Teaching, 4) Research, and 5) Community Engagement & Outreach. A team of OISE faculty, staff and grad students have been working over the summer to research and build a strong foundation and the Plan is set to be shared with the community late in the fall.

Supporting Climate Action strategic planning across faculties of education
These exciting steps signal a hopeful direction is ESE and Climate Action. OISE is the first faculty at the University of Toronto to work towards creating their own Climate Action Plan, as well as the first Faculty of Education in Canada to do so. It is hoped that sharing these steps will inspire and support others to implement a cohesive Climate Action approach in their own faculties of education. For more information and ideas on how to get started in your own faculty, check out the OISE ESE website here.

Membership of OISE Climate Action Advisory Group
The advisory group, which has been asked to develop a draft plan by the end of this year, includes the following members:
Megan Abley, Graduate Student, APHD
Julie Blair, Indigenous Education Network Coordinator
Yiola Cleovoulou, Faculty Member, APHD
Helen Huang, Chief Administrative Officer, OISE
Alysse Kennedy, Graduate Student, CTL
David Montemurro, Faculty Member, CTL
Fikile Nxumalo, Faculty Member, CTL
Sadia Rahman, Graduate Student, LHAE
John Robinson, Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
Jennifer Sumner, Faculty Member, LHAE
Amanda Trigiana, Graduate Student, SJE
Jenaya Webb, Librarian, OISE Library
Terezia Zoric, Faculty Member, SJE
The work of this committee will be supported by Hilary Inwood (CTL), Iman Fouad (Dean’s Office), and graduate students who will be conducting research for the committee, including Wahaj Alam & Sunnya Khan.

We hope you enjoyed this featured update about what is happening in ESE in a Canadian Faculty of Education. Is your faculty or department taking new strides in ESE or Climate Action? Let us know in the comments what’s happening and what you think so far about these Climate Action goals!

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Call for articles and books on Canadian ESE in teacher ed!

CALL FOR ARTICLES & BOOKS! The ESE in TE Canadian national network is seeking new recommendations for recent publications by Canadian scholars about Environmental and Sustainability Education in faculties of education. 

If you have an article (journal or trade magazine), book chapter or book that has recently been published (2019 onwards) or will soon be published and you would like us to showcase your work as part of the growing body of literature in this area, please email a link to access your work (or a shareable pdf copy), along with an APA reference, to contact@eseinfacultiesofed.ca 

 We look forward to your reading about the important work you’ve been doing in Canadian ESE within teacher education!


NEW Book – Environmental and sustainability education: Canadian perspectives (Springer, 2020) edited by Karrow & DiGiuseppe

We are thrilled to share a NEW book edited by Douglas Karrow and Maurice DiGiuseppe that leads readers on a richly detailed and highly engaging exploration of Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in teacher education all over Canada. Environmental and sustainability education: Canadian perspectives (Springer, 2020) offers a wide variety of perspectives on what is happening in ESE in pre-service classrooms across the country. As the third volume in Springer’s International Explorations in Outdoor and Environmental Education this book showcases and honours the essential contributions Canadian teachers, researchers and teacher educators have made to the conversation about engaging future teachers within ESE. 

As a current doctoral student studying teacher candidates’ experiences in ESE, this in depth text has been an asset to my own research. It serves as a guide to the most recent literature in Canadian ESE by introducing scholars doing critical work in the field. It also inspires my own dissertation by showcasing the myriad of ways we can approach contextualizing ESE and studying its impacts on pre-service teachers.  This is a must-read for anyone looking for an excellent overview to the current landscape of ESE in Canadian teacher education. 

Review by Alysse Kennedy, OISE PhD Candidate in environmental education and preservice teaching

Get your copy online from one of the retailers below:

Indigo

Springer

Amazon

Reference: Karrow, D., & DiGiuseppe, M. (Eds.). (2020). Environmental and sustainability education: Canadian perspectives. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature AG.  (327pages). ISBN: 978-3-030-25015-7.


Research Symposium of EECOM’s Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education (ESE-TE) Standing Committee

EECOM’s Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education (ESE-TE) Standing Committee will be hosting a bi-annual Research Symposium on April 28th, 2021 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), in Toronto, Ontario.

The logo for the 2021 EECOM conference taking place in Toronto which includes the ESE-TE Research Symposium. The logo features the Toronto skyline with buildings, trees and water, with the Two Row Wampum belt symbolizing The Dish with One Spoon Treaty. The theme for this conference is Exploring the Nature of Cities: Urban Environmental Education in Action.
EECOM 2021 conference logo

The focus of the upcoming research symposium is on research activities in the field of ESE in preservice and inservice teacher education. The research symposium is meant to be an opportunity to share research in a supportive community of like-minded individuals who are committed to furthering the field of ESE-TE. The symposium is academic in style, featuring 15-20 minute presentations. To date, presenters have been notified of acceptance. All people interested in this area of research are welcome to attend!

For more information, visit the EECOM 2021 conference website

Submitted by Laura Sims


Introducing Our Work in ESE in Teacher Ed

Working as part of the EECOM family does have its advantages! We were honoured to work in partnership with the EECOM Board as they began to work on a new series of videos highlighting the work that is being done under its network. As one of its Standing Committees, our team focuses on better embedding Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education, which is a tight focus given the breadth of how environmental learning manifests in both formal and informal education settings across the country. At the EECOM 2018 conference in Cranbrook, members of the ESE-TE Committee were interviewed to help us communicate our mission and goals. The result is terrific, highlighting what our Committee is about, surrounded by the beautiful vistas of the Kootenays. If you haven’t seen it yet, catch it on our YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoI5ORCUsPw


NAAEE webinar partnership: Deepening Environmental Learning for Student Teachers

Thanks to a partnership with the NAAEE and their eePRO platform, our Standing Committee hosted a webinar focused on ESE in Preservice Teacher Education (PTE). Entitled “Deepening Environmental Learning for Student Teachers”, it featured examples of innovative practice from across Canada, such as faculties of education that have their own educational gardens, offer Land-based learning, collaborate with local NGOs, or ones that offer year-round programming in ESE for preservice teachers. Hosted by teacher educator Hilary Inwood and new teacher Alysse Kennedy, they shared what ESE in PTE can be from both faculty and students’ perspectives. A lively discussion ensued from those attending the webinar – over 50 people from across North America had registered, demonstrating the high degree of interest in this topic. If you missed this webinar, you can access it (and other excellent webinars) in the NAAEE’s archive at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R7N0txqOxI&feature=youtu.be


ESE-TE at AERA 2019 in Toronto!

The American Educational Research Association conference, which took place in April in Toronto, was a great time for those working on the ESE-TE team to connect, discuss their research, and share it with a broader audience. Members of the ESE-TE Standing Committee were involved in a variety of presentations, helping to advocate for a presence for ESE in all levels of education. One of these highlighted the ways that ESE can take multimodal forms in preservice teacher education, which aligned with the theme of the conference. Paul Elliott (Trent) shared the benefits and challenges of integrating ESE with Indigenous Ed in a core preservice course, while Susan Gerofsky (UBC) highlighted the critical learning that takes place in UBC’s Orchard Garden with teacher candidates. Laura Sims (St. Boniface) analyzed community-based approaches to ESE in her faculty of ed, and Hilary Inwood (OISE) discussed the impacts of creating environmental art installations with teacher candidates. This session was very well-attended (with over 60 in attendance for a Sunday morning session), demonstrating the strong interest in ESE in Teacher Ed. There is talk underway of turning this into a book….stay tuned for more!

LtoR: Paul, Laura, Hilary and Susan


Canadian Journal of Environmental Education Special Issue Call for Papers

Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education (ESE-TE) remains a critical challenge for faculties of education across Canada. At a time when the impacts of climate change, biodiversity collapse, mass migration, and food and water shortages are increasingly evident throughout the country (Worldwatch Institute, 2018), the roles of educators at all levels of our education system are imperative to help Canadians make cultural and societal shifts to more sustainable forms of living. Teacher educators are key actors in this, given their influence on the education and training of pre-service and in-service teachers.

This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) invites Canadian teacher educators to share their research on ESE-TE to raise and strengthen the profile of this developing field. Although not exhaustive, several questions arise: How are teacher educators in faculties of education contributing to this shift, from policy, praxiological, philosophical, theoretical, conceptual, methodological, curricular, and pedagogical standpoints? What lessons are being learned? What evaluations are being made? How are they impacting the field as a whole? What challenges are slowing down progress in this field?

The call was inspired by the Research Roundtable on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education, hosted as part of the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication’s (EECOM) annual conference in Cranbrook, BC. All Canadian teacher educators and scholars doing research in this area are welcome to submit works for review in any of the related discourses, for example – Environmental Education, Education for Sustainable Development, Environmental and Sustainability Education, Place-based Education, Sustainability Education, Nature-based Learning, Eco-Justice Education, or Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Wisdom, in relation to Teacher Education.

For more information, please contact Susan Docherty-Skippen (susan.docherty-skippen@brocku.ca). Please submit manuscripts through the CJEE author submission process – noting that the manuscript is for the ESE-TE themed issue. Guidelines for submissions, e.g., word length, publication style, etc., can be found on the CJEE website: http://cjee.lakeheadu.ca

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2019.


Place-based learning: Natural history in Sudbury

Dr. Yovita Gwekwerere is cross-appointed between the Laurentian University Faculty of Education and School of the Environment. She offers a course in Environmental Education that is open to all students at Laurentian as an elective, for twelve weeks. Half of the class is usually Concurrent Education students, so it can really be an interesting and dynamic mix of backgrounds and expertise in the course. A core component of the course is getting the students outside and into the community, exposing them to local organizations that can support them as teachers and concerned citizens. Yovita has noticed that a really impactful experience for her students comes out of a very place-based practice, when they learn the Sudbury Story. Sudbury, Ontario, has a history of mining and logging, and the subsequent pollution that devastated the landscape. Thirty years ago, a successful regreening project began in the city, bringing in help from local and international scientists, and local community involvement, bringing back trees, air quality and other enhancements. Most students often do not know the Sudbury ecohistory. After learning some of the details, they also participate in a guided hike at the Jane Goodall Conservation center where they get to see one area that was left “ungreened” intentionally to highlight what improvements were made by the collective action between scientists and citizens. Many students comment after the course that they were greatly impacted by the hopeful message of the Sudbury Story. They also note that it is important to know the impact of humans on our natural environments so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. To learn more, contact Dr. Gwekwerere at ygwekwerere@laurentian.ca.

Learning about the story of re-greening Sudbury at the Jane Goodall reclamation trail, City of Greater Sudbury

 

 

 


EECOM Research Roundtable Reflections

The recent Research Roundtable hosted by the ESE-TE committee of EECOM was a success!  We welcomed over 70 educators  and researchers to this event, which took place on Oct. 18 as part of the 2018 EECOM conference in BC.  It was such a pleasure to meet so many people dedicated to learning about how to better integrate ESE into both preservice and inservice  teacher education.  The Roundtable hosted over 20 research presentations; a sincere thank you to all of the presenters!  These provided an excellent introduction to the variety of research being done in ESE-TE across Canada, and initiated many conversations around the importance of teacher ed that permeated the wider EE conference.  The day ended with three break out sessions focused on: Indigenous Ed and ESE; types of supports, resources, and professional learning needed in this area; and how best to move forward in this work.  These drew on the experience and expertise of those in attendance to identify what is needed to broaden and deepen the work being done in ESE-TE.

Many who attended the Roundtable have asked for more info on how to get involved in this work.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • join our network to get regular updates, resources and calls for involvement in ESE-TE
  • deepen your understanding of the current praxis of ESE-TE
  • share your work in ESE-TE in an upcoming issue of CJEE
  • advocate for a clear presence of ESE in your local faculty of ed

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