Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill. Marist professor JoAnne Myers will do a workshop at Val-kill, What Would Eleanor Do? Lessons from Eleanor Roosevelt. Courtesy photo

Hyde Park, NY – Educators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to engage children and young people in our region’s culture, history, and future at Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley: The Next 100 Years Depend on It. The conference will be held July 28-30 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park.

Participants will choose from some 20 workshops. Presenters and facilitators from Dutchess County include Debby Brooks, art teacher, Poughkeepsie High; JoAnne Myers, professor of political science and women’s studies, Marist College; Susanne Norris, environmental education and natural resource specialist, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site; Jeff Urbin, educator, FDR Library/Museum; and staff from Poughkeepsie-based Scenic Hudson and Spark Media Project. Attendees also will opt for one of six extended field experiences including a tour of the living building at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck accompanied by a related workshop on biomimicry.

The road to Storm King Mountain. Photo by Center for Land Use Interpretation. Institute includes a workshop and hike on Storm King.

Featured speakers are Philip Yenawine, co-founding director, Visual Thinking Strategies, a non-profit educational research group that develops and studies ways to use art to teach thinking and communication skills; and Jimmy Karlan, director of science teacher certification, Dept. of Environmental Studies, Antioch New England. Karlan also created Wild Treasures, an adventure and ecology curriculum.

Sarah Olson, superintendent, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt-Van Buren National Historic Sites, said that while she is always excited to meet participants at this annual event. “The National Park Service is preparing for its centennial in 2016,” she noted, “and we look forward to the next 100 years and to rededicating ourselves to preparing future caretakers of our nation’s special places.

Ginny McCurdy, an English teacher at Newburgh Free Academy, will do a workshop at the institute. Courtesy photo

“While our roots lie in the parks’ majestic, often isolated natural wonders,” she added, “our reach today extends to places difficult to imagine 100 years ago—into urban centers, across rural landscapes, deep within oceans, and across night skies. By preparing adults to help children and teens acquire tools for engaging with these places and their communities we hope we’re creating life-long stewards for the 21st century as well as providing stimulating experiences today.”

The three-day program also includes more than 20 workshops and half a dozen field experiences.   Field experiences include:

Orange County: The Battle for Storm King Mountain & the Beginning of Grassroots Environmentalism, a workshop and hike marking the 50th anniversary of the Storm King decision, a cornerstone of the modern environmental movement.

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living. Photo is courtesy of Omega.

Dutchess: Biomimicry: Engaging & Inspiring Students with Today’s Science and Tomorrow’s Jobs, a tour of the living building at Omega Institute and workshop with the director of the Center for Environmental Education, Putnam-No. Westchester BOCES.

Saratoga: Loyal to Whom? Ranger Bill Valosin will provide an unusual dialogic tour of Saratoga National Historical Park using participants’ own experiences he’ll guide the group in an examination of several Revolutionary War-era families.

Columbia/Greene: River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home. Participants will visit Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site to explore this special exhibit with staff from both sites plus the Albany Institute of History & Art

Rockland: Using Local Industrial Sites to Engage Students. Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center is the backdrop for exploring ways to use poetry, objects, and post-industrial landscapes to engage students.

Ulster: Green Infrastructure Walk and Advanced Manufacturing Project/3D Printing Initiative, SUNY New Paltz. Participants will tour the campus to learn about “greening” followed by a hands-on session with manufacturing center staff.

 While Teaching for Engagement in the Hudson Valley was developed with K-12 teachers and non-formal educators in mind, anyone interested in the subject matter is encouraged to attend. For a detailed schedule and more information, visit THV’s website. To get first choice of field experiences participants are urged to register immediately. Registration is $125 for all three days, $85 for two days, and $45 for a single day for those who register by July 4. Register here.


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