September 29, 2005

Project WILD workshops scheduled

by Kristen Wells

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Fifteen educators earned certification to teach the Project WILD program by attending the Environmental Education Workshop held at John A. Logan College on Sept. 21.

Three more workshops are scheduled, including on Friday, Sept. 30, at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg.

Project WILD is a national environmental education program widely used among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. The Department of Natural Resources sponsors Project WILD in Illinois.

The Beautify Southern Illinois Regional Campaign and community colleges throughout Southern Illinois are coordinating these environmental education workshops. Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Center for Environmental Health and Safety is assisting in the regional campaign, founded by former SIU Board of Trustees Chair Glenn Poshard.

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it observes its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Jennae DuBois, graduate assistant with the Beautify Southern Illinois Regional Campaign, is coordinating the workshops.

"The diversity of presenters and participants at these workshops provides an excellent opportunity for community networking along with a variety of free educational materials and resources," explains DuBois.

Randy Wiseman, state coordinator for IDNR, explained that people must attend a workshop taught by a trained volunteer facilitator to earn certification in the Project WILD program. Formal and non-formal educators along with college students may attend. Certified educators in the Project WILD program will receive a guide that includes environmental projects that are in connection with the Illinois curriculum requirements. They will also receive Continuing Professional Development Units or college credit.

Educators must attend these workshops in order to apply for the School Yard Habitat Action Grant Program, according to Wiseman. This grant provides funding for teachers and students who are interested in creating or enhancing schoolyard habitat area. Schools, nature centers and youth groups may apply for a Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant. The deadline to apply for the grant is Oct. 15. Up to 20 projects are usually funded annually, averaging $300, and with a maximum annual award of $600.

Here are details on the upcoming workshops:

• Sept. 30 – Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg. The workshop will take place in the Conference Center Private Dining Room. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the workshop will wrap up by 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 618/252-5400, ext. 224.

• Oct. 3 – Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. The workshop will take place at the college on the PSOP site in Belleville. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the workshop will end by 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 618/222-5393.

• Oct. 7 – Shawnee Community College in Ullin. This workshop is in conjunction with the Alexander/Johnson/Massac/Pulaski/Union Regional Office of Education's teacher's institute.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the workshop will wrap up by 4 p.m. For more information, call Noelene Levill at 618/634-2292.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Man-Tra-Con, and the local Kiwanis Club fund the workshops. These sponsors help provide many free educational resources, free registration and meals. The Beautify Southern Illinois Campaign, Land for Learning, Giant City State Park and the University of Illinois Extension have teamed up to provide educators with the most comprehensive information about the many environmental education programs offered throughout southern Illinois.

These workshops will help Beautify Southern Illinois Campaign achieve the goal of developing a long-range strategy for assisting schools in implementing educational initiatives, which create positive environmental awareness and participation in maintaining a clean community.

For more information on these workshops, please contact Jennae DuBois at (618) 453-7180 or