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GEA - China Update, Fall 2000

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Environmental Education Contest

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.

National Zoo
Laura Utley, Madam Deng Nan, Wang Weizhong, originators of the Alliance.

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.

Education Exchange

National Zoo
GEA Executive Director Dean Paschall with GEA delegation at National Zoo.

On September 12th, the five winning students and their chaperones traveled to the US to visit sites of environmental significance. Stops included Yosemite National Park, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Baird Middle School, a behind the scenes tour of Universal Studios with the chance to meet with celebrities, the California Science Center, Shambala Game Reserve, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Interior, Globe Program Headquarters, Thomas Jefferson Magnet School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County Network Center, National Zoo, and the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center.

Read about the full trip!

Visit with the Chinese Ambassador
GEA delegation received by Ambassador Li Zhaoxing.
The students were excited to receive a personal tour of the White House and a private tour of the chambers of the US House of Representatives and US Senate. They were very honored to be hosted by H.E. Ambassador Li Zhaoxing at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Shaquille O'Neal
Students joke with Shaq.
Among the high points of the trip was the opportunity to meet their "biggest" idol, Shaquille O'Neal. Another favorite part of the trip was the time they spent in the homes of their new "American families."
Peng Xin
Peng Xin at the California Science Center
In a recent letter to GEA-China co-Chair, Laura Utley, Peng Xin wrote "When I got back to China I thought about many things about the environment in China. I think it'll be one of the most important problems in the 21st century. We need more people to join in to save our earth - to keep it clean and beautiful. I will do my best to tell my friends how important this is."

University Fellowship Program - Huxley College

Huxley College
CNU Students and Brad Smith at 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

Young Chinese students
Young Chinese students working with GEA-China text

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

GEA college textbook
CNU student working on the GEA college 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)

NAAEE conference
Pan Shumin at NAAEE conference on South Padre Island, Texas

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

National Zoo
Madam Deng Nan, Christopher Lin, Laura Utley

"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."

Christopher Lin
General Manager
United Airlines-Asia


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