Archive for January 8th, 2014

January 8, 2014

David Sobel “Teaching Childhood and Nature Design Principles” workshop at Phipps!

by Melissa Harding

dsobelheadshot-001“Give children a chance to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”
–David Sobel

Green Building Alliance’s Green Schools Academy and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are very exciting to present this workshop on January 18th with David Sobel, the “father of place-based education.” It is a great opportunity to work closely with David and other local environmental educators in an intimate setting at the beautiful and inspiring Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

About the Workshop
The seven Children and Nature Design Principles are Special Places, Adventure, Fantasy, Small Worlds, Hunting and Gathering, Animal Allies and Maps and Paths. These design principles are based on recurrent play patterns in childhood, and can serve as ways to rethink programming and exhibitry at your organizations and schools. This workshop is excellent for environmental educators interested in discovering ways to construct new and innovative approaches to curriculum design in schools; program design for summer and vacation camps, nature center programming and even birthday parties; or exhibit design in your education centers, museums, and institutions.

We’ll look at examples of applying the design principles in school and outside of school. Then we’ll all work on a design challenge—using the design principles to do program design in the local setting. Finally, in small groups, we’ll use the principles to innovate your approach to curriculum or a program you need to design in your personal or professional life.

Teams of more than one individual from each organization/school are encouraged, however individuals can still attend.
Upon registration, attendees will receive materials in order to adequately prepare their design challenge for the workshop.

Attendance is very limited, so please register ASAP. 


WHEN: Saturday, January 18th, 1 – 5 p.m.

WHERE: Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Learn more about the CSL; Parking and Directions


About David Sobel

David Sobel, a celebrated educator and writer who advances and promotes the philosophy of place-based education. By helping to establish the reciprocal relationships between our environments, our schools and our communities, David teaches us an educational approach that enhances student achievement, revitalizes our schools and communities, and promotes human and ecological health. David has a very long list of accomplishments, including:

  • Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England
  • Consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education to schools, environmental organizations, and the National Park Service
  • Has authored seven books and more than 60 articles on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists, and school administrators
  • Was recognized as one of the Daring Dozen educational leaders in the United States in 2007 by Edutopia magazine
  • Has served on the editorial boards of:
    • Encounter
    • Community Works Journal
    • Orion

Not available on Saturday, January 18th?  Join us on Thursday, January 16th for the Inspire Speakers Series featuring David Sobel and Jane Werner. Learn more!

January 8, 2014

Follow the Fellows: Understanding Plant Diversity with Anna Johnson

by Melissa Harding

Johnson_Field Photo

The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens fosters the development of a next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed, first, to excellent research, and second, to educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions and conducting plant-based scientific field research, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards field research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in research in locales from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois to Nepal and India. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roofs in urban biodiversity and the influence of heavy metal soil pollution on plants and pollinators to identification of plants used by healers that protect brain cells from the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

January’s featured fellow is Anna Johnson. Anna is a PhD student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Pittsburgh native. Anna studies plant communities in vacant lots within cities. Biodiversity is important, even in urban areas, and Anna is studying to see if the way the land was used in the past influences what plants are growing there today. She is working to create a plan for restoring diverse plant communities that are capable of improving soil quality, reducing storm water runoff, supporting wildlife and producing pleasing landscapes for the growing urban population.

Read an update on Anna’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany in Action website!

You can follow Anna and all of the BIA fellows as they study plants across the US and across the world at the Follow the Fellows section of our Botany In Action website.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The photo was provided by Anna Johnson.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers

%d bloggers like this: