On September 22-23, 2020, The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., presented NGC Environmental School 3 – Air and Related Issues, in a virtual format, for the first time. The course was originally scheduled to be held at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby. In March, the team structuring the course had to pivot to bring professors and technical people together to deliver the course virtually. Sharon Bender, Environmental School Chair, and a member of the Garden Club of Woodbridge and the Garden Club of New Haven, along with committee members Ginger Casanova, Co-President, Arbor Garden Club of Clinton, and Millie Legenhausen, Garden Club of New Haven, organized a Zoom training program and Environmental School virtually. Tremendous help was given by Susan Quincy, Environmental Education Specialist, Kellogg Environmental Center, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Zoom training and Environmental course were well received by the 5 presenters from Connecticut and 43 attendees from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, Michigan and North Carolina. Linda Cedarbaum, a member of the Garden Club of Woodbridge, and Celeste Suggs of the Garden Club of New Haven have successfully completed the course.
The two-day course featured 8 one-hour modules on a variety of topics related to the natural environment and its effects on all living things. In addition, there was a 2-hour “virtual field trip” on Wildlife Migration Adaptations Due to Climate Change.
The program began with a module on “Air”: its composition, how it affects climate, and how its quality affects our environment and our health. Other modules addressed environmental ethics and stewardship. Endangered plants and animals were addressed in several of the modules. The course ended with a module on how to bring environmental education into schools by partnering with industry, business and environmental groups, as well as Garden Clubs.
Very positive feedback was received from the attendees, who appreciated the quality of the presenters, topics and Zoom training. 5 Proctors volunteered from all over the country. A Proctor was assigned to each student to provide assistance and support throughout the virtual school experience. Students working towards an Environmental Consultants Certificate took an exam at the end of each day. Exams and evaluations were all conducted on-line.
The mission of NGC Environmental School is “to teach environmental literacy; to cherish, protect and conserve the living earth.” Environmental Schools are open to anyone interested.
Environmental School 4 – Water and Related Issues, is scheduled for September 22-23, 2021, either on Zoom or in Connecticut, depending upon COVID-19 safety precautions and NGC course protocols.
If interested in participating, please contact Sharon Bender, firstname.lastname@example.org.