GEA - China Update, Fall 2000
On the heels of an extremely successful teacher training workshop held in Beijing this April, GEA-China sponsored the first ever Environmental Education Contest in China.
Earth Day 2000
On Earth Day (April 22nd), students from across Beijing took part in the GEA-China Environmental Education Contest by answering a 100-question quiz about environmental issues. The questions were listed on a full page ad in the Beijing Youth Daily, a Beijing-based youth paper that enjoys a daily readership of nearly 5 million students. We found that just posting the questions encouraged thousands of students to research and consider issues of the environment and personal actions they can take to make a difference. This turned out to be a very effective method to spread the word about environmental concerns and a call to action among the youth of China.
World Environment Day
As an incentive to encourage students to complete and send in the quiz, GEA-China offered an all expense paid trip to the US for the top 5 qualifying students ... who were chosen on World Environment Day (June 5th) from over 800 perfect scores. The winning students were joined by three of their teachers and three governmental officials from MOST, Agenda 21, and Beijing Municipal Education Commission.
University Fellowship Program - Huxley College
Through a partnership between GEA-China, United Airlines and Huxley College of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University, four distinguished faculty members from Capital Normal University in Beijing are spending the Fall quarter studying environmental education at Huxley College.
The visiting Chinese faculty are engaged in coursework, seminars, formal and informal collaboration with faculty and students at Huxley College, as well as other departments throughout the campus. The visiting Chinese faculty are all involved with GEA-China and work closely with MOST toward achieving China's sustainable development goals.
Huxley was chosen to host these visitors because of its strong reputation in environmental studies, its location in a medium-sized American city, and the University's uncommon ESL (English as a Second Language) program. Dr. Bradley Smith, Dean of Huxley College, and Ken Symes, Vice Provost for International & Extended Programs, plan to present Washington-based corporations involved in trade with China the opportunity to support similar exchanges in collaboration with GEA-China in the future.
Students Environmental Education Textbook
One of the expressed purposes of the GEA-China alliance is to provide environmental education materials for the students in China. The first step of the alliance was to identify the best environmental education material produced in the US. However, it is clear that an "off the shelf" program would need to undergo significant modification if it was expected to function seamlessly with the Chinese educational system.
The "E2 Environmental Action Series" was chosen as introductory material to get the project off the ground. Although this program enabled GEA-China to get started, we recognize it is largely a US centric program. GEA-China's team is now working with their Chinese counterparts to develop a brand new program for Chinese schools. The new text will use the pedagogical principals of cooperative education, while incorporating those environmental issues and data specific to China.
College Environmental Education Textbook
In addition to their studies at Huxley College, the four faculty are helping GEA-China work on China's first college-level textbook on environmental studies. We have been working diligently with the faculty of Capital Normal University to develop a textbook to serve as the primary reference material for pre-service teachers. At this time, China needs to address the environmental education issue at all levels. Developing materials for primary and secondary school students is critical, but most important, we need to teach university students, who intend to enter the teaching field, about how to use environmental education as the integrating principal across all disciplines.
North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
To provide the visiting faculty with the best environmental education resources available, GEA-China sponsored its Executive Director, Dean Paschall, and Pan Shumin to participate in the NAAEE conference held at South Padre Island, Texas, last month. Over 1,400 of the best environmental education organizations were on hand to network, share ideas, and make presentations about the latest resources for addressing environmental education issues.
"United Airlines has been proud to work with GEA-China in helping to spread the word about the importance of environmental conservation and sustainable development. We are pleased to be able to continue this support, and to deliver the message of sustainable and ongoing environmental conservation to United Airlines customers in China and around the world."
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