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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Natural resources highlighted

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 17 - January 26, 1995

The College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources brought educator Kathy Sevebeck on board from the university's Water Resources Research Center to put together the college's natural-resources education program.

Using the award-winning environmental-education program called Project Learn Tree, Sevebeck is organizing workshops for K-12th grade teachers. Her training program is also available to foresters, Extension agents, park and nature-center staffs, youth-group leaders, students, and other professionals who want to use the program.

A March workshop will be held at Virginia's Explore Park in Roanoke, with a third one slated elsewhere in the state during July. The first workshop was held in December.

Project Learning Tree uses the forest as a "window" into the natural world, helping young people gain an awareness of the world around them. Composed of students, teachers, parents, community leaders, educational administrators, and representatives from the forest-products industry, resources agencies, and conservation groups, the international network is based on interdisciplinary instructional activities.

Sevebeck will be evaluating existing educational materials on natural resources intended for youth audiences on the basis of their accuracy, updatedness, and if the intended learning outcomes are still appropriate for today's young people. In some cases she will be developing programs to fill in the gaps.

The natural-resources educator, who is secretary of the Virginia Association for Environmental Education, will also do training for Project Wet, a water-education program for teachers. From July 17-28, Sevebeck will be conducting a three-hour graduate course, "Natural Resource Education for Teachers."

She and Jon Rocket, an Extension agent from Wise County, are currently collaborating on a teachers' workshop to develop curriculum materials specific to the Powell River Project in Southwest Virginia. That project has become a world-wide role model for its innovative ways to reclaim the environment and heal the scars of mining.

As part of the college's Phase II Program with the university's restructuring plan that was submitted to the governor, the new natural-resources education component is being creatively financed through agency and foundation grants.

Sevebeck is available for guest lectures about environmental education in Virginia. To contact her or for further information about Project Learning Tree or the new natural resources education program, contact Kathy Sevebeck, Virginia Tech, College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources, 324 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg VA 24061-0324; 703-231-5481.