THE PEOPLE, PRAIRIES AND PLAINS POST

July 1996 No. 6

A Note From Jim

This is good-bye for the newsletter, but hope you will stay in touch. I've really enjoyed meeting all of you and learning with you about environmental history. I've watched you all incorporate a different way of understanding history into your curriculum, and I've celebrated your successes and felt your disappointments. This newsletter has served as your voice, and as a clearing house of information. We will miss it for those reasons. But we have email, besides the postal service, and the institute will maintain its web page on the internet. So we have the means to stay in touch, and I hope that you will always feel free to contact me with concerns and questions.

One bit of bad news: I can't swing purchasing copies of the Magazine of History, the special issue on environmental history, for everyone. Of course you may contact the press directly yourself. The address: OAH Magazine of History, Organization of American Historians, 112 North Bryan Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47408-4199. Telephone: 812/855-7311; fax: 812/855-0696; email: oah@indiana.edu.

As you would guess, temperatures this July have been delightfully cool here. Remember the heat of last summer and the forced marches between the dorm and Eisenhower Hall? All lovely memories now! Despite the heat, you mastered a lot of information and material last year. The proceedings and resource guide that accompany this newsletter attest to your hard work and notable accomplishments. Hopefully, and ultimately, your students have been, and will continue to be, the beneficiaries of this institute. I'm glad to have made the acquaintances of such a talented group of teachers, and I wish you well in your coming endeavors to integrate environmental history into teaching.

Best wishes always! From the Heartland, Jim.

Notes From Chris Cokinos

In this, our last issue of the newsletter, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge everyone involved in making this Institute a success. To all the staff, to all the participants: thank you. I hope that this experience continues to enrich all our lives as we teach and as we learn.

Three closing items:

I mentioned a wonderful documentary film called Troublesome Creek, which profiles one family's struggle to hold onto their farm. For information on the film, contact the Kansas Humanities Council. Here's the address: Columbian Bldg. 112 W. 6th St., Suite 509, Topeka KS 66612, (913) 357-0359.

Folks might be interested in taking a look at the June 10, 1996 (Volume 28, No. 11) issue of High Country News, which has a provocative look at "Outdoor Education." The feature includes articles and opinion pieces on the value of outdoor education, as well as a series of brief descriptions on different outdoor education programs and resources (mostly focused on the West).

Jim asked me to mull over the following question: what books should a high school student considering college work in environmental history, environmental studies, etc. read? It's a wonderful question, especially because--when I was a high-school student--my world wasn't big enough to include "the environment." But many high-school students are now deeply interested in environmental issues. I think the following books would provide an intellectual grounding and stimulus:

A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
This Incomperable Lande, edited by Thomas Lyons
Turtle Island, Gary Snyder
Major Problems in American Environmental History, edited by Carolyn Merchant
The End o f Nature, Bill McKibben
New and Selected Poems, Mary Oliver
The Monkey-Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey
Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Rock and Hawk, Robinson Jeffers

I'd also recommend that a student interested in environmental studies (be it wildlife biology, environmental history, nature writing, whatever...) watch episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I'm not kidding! Many episodes of that very popular television series have fascinating environmental/ethical concerns. Watching the show (now on in re-runs) can be a terrific way to analyze contemporary environmental issues and how such issues are treated in popular culture, which is, after all, one of the most powerful forces shaping our perspectives today.

--Chris Cokinos

Notes from Participants


Dear Jim,
I've enclosed a couple of articles from the current Texas Monthly. Thought you might find these interesting ("Bone Dry," Elmer Kelton (July 1996): 75-76, 101-102; "Eerie Canal," Gary Cartwright (July 1996): 82-89, 104-106).

Becky and I had a long but safe trip back to Texas. . . .

The rest of my summer will be devoted to cleaning house (slowly but surely) and teaching at a part-time job that fell in my lap. I wanted to do something this summer to make a few extra $$. The director of the Adult Evening High School called me on June 4 and offered me the social studies class from 3:20-6:00 p.m. The good news is I only have seven students. The bad news is I have three lesson plans--government, economics, and U.S. history. My students are all seniors either about to graduate or graduating at mid-term. So I juggle those three preps in the class and do interdisciplinary lessons whenever I can. I'm working in environmental information whenever possible. We read the "Bone Dry" article the other day and talked about government, economics, and U.S. history--water usage, native plants, animals, etc. The Environmental History beat goes on!! . . .

Not much other news here except that it's hot and still pretty dry. We've had a little rain, but not enough.

Hope the rest of your summer goes well. Unless circumstances change, I'm planning to attend WHA (Western History Association) in Lincoln. Teresa and Becky are probably also coming.

So, I'll be in touch. I really enjoyed the Manhattan weekend. Looking forward to all the curriculum we've produced. I also enjoyed Elliot West's presentation Saturday evening. Thanks for bringing him to the Institute.

More soon -- Ruth Sullivan

Mary K. Meyer's and Nancy Bolinger's email address is: gphslib@feist.com.

KDHE Honors Teachers

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program has recognized nine teachers as outstanding water quality educators. The nine participated in the Kansas High School Stream Monitoring Project. The teachers and their students, conducted stream sampling to educate themselves and the public about the relationships between human activities and water quality

The teachers are: John Culvahouse, Fort Scott High School; Donna Cooper, Hays High School; Gary Keehn, Highland High School; Dru Clarke, Manhattan High School; Dan Daniels, Minneola High School; John Wachholz, Salina Central High School; Pat Wakeman, Tonganoxie High School; Terry Callender, Wamego High School; Ernie Brown, Trego Community High School.

KACEE Workshop Planned

The 24th Interdisciplinary Environment Education Workshop, cosponsored by KACEE and Kansas State and Extension Forestry, has been scheduled for October 18-21, 1996, at Rock Springs 4-H Center. These workshops have been held since 1975, and have been very well received by over 1,000 participants.

The workshop emphasizes the process and problem solving approach to learning using the environment as a vehicle to teach these processes. The workshop involves field investigations in forest, wildlife, soil, and natural resource use along with simulation techniques and investigations into real community environmental issues. The techniques and processes taught are highly complementary to Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Project WET activities.

An informational brochure and application form will be printed and distributed in late summer to all KACEE members. For more information: contact John Strickler, KACEE, 2610 Claflin Road, Manhattan, Kansas 66502-2798 or call 913-537-7050.

Events

Seeking Sustainable Paths is the theme of the Midwest Environmental Education Conference in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on August 15-17, 1996. The conference, hosted by the University of Northern Iowa and the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, includes over 60 sessions on classroom curricula to shopping for the earth. For a conference brochure contact Jan Nanke at 800-782-9519 or

.

Resources

Environmental Bibliography

Some useful bibliographical citations worldwide may be found in various articles and reviews in the Electronic Green Journal:

. While the EGJ is not historically oriented, it will now and then mention a work of value.

Richard C. Davis/ddavis@belle.Lib.Uidaho.Edu

Give Water a Hand has been revised. The second edition, published by the University of Wisconsin, contains information that will help teachers protect and improve local water quality and promote water conservation, involve young people in investigation and action on local water problems, and employ a service-learning approach to environmental education. The materials include a youth Action Guide and a Leader Guide. For more information call 800-WATER20 or .

Educating Young People About Water contains several guides that cover program planning, evaluation, program strategies, goals, and resources. It's available through ERIC Clearinghouse, 1929 Kenny Road, Columbus OH 04321-1080 or 800-276-0462. For ideas or information on training opportunities e-mail: .

Eco Inquiry is a guide to ecological learning for upper elementary and middle school grades. Written by Kathleen Hogan, this 400 page guide will help students do science as scientists do--through collaborative research with their peers. For more information contact Kendal Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840.

"We All Live Downstream" is a video that documents the effects of nonpoint source pollution. This half-hour educational video, produced by Oregon State University Extension Service, explores urban and rural runoff and the problems it creates for surface and ground-water. The tape costs $30.00 and is available from Publications Orders, Agricultural Communications, Oregon State University, A422 Administrative Services Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.

Educator Exchange is a lively newsletter written by and for persons who have participated in summer rainforest workshops. Educator's Rainforest Workshops coordinates the week-long activities. One of the supporting organizations is the National Science Teachers Association. Educators relate how the rainforest experience strengthens their understanding of biodiversity and how environmental preservation goes hand-in-hand with positive social change. For more information contact Frances Gatz, 801 Devon Place, Alexandra, VA 22314, call 703-549-6626 or e-mail .

Worm Worlds is a new outdoor investigation that helps children find where the most worms live around your building. It's published by NAAEE - Vine, PO Box 4000, Troy, OH 45373 or call 513-676-2514.

Environmental Inequality Homepage

Michael Meuser, and Dr. Andrew Szasz, of the Sociology Board, University of California, Santa Cruz, have created a new homepage on the web focusing on environmental inequality and right-to-know. You will find a bibliography of over 300 citations on environmental justice, demographic and toxics maps of the Silicon Valley, and links to other sites. The address is:

Dennis Willliams/dwilliam@snu.edu

The GreenDisk Paperless Environmental Journal has released its guide to the use of computers for environmental research and activism. The guide contains over 1000 listings of World Wide Web Sites, listservs, online databases, bulletin board services, software, educational programs, CD-roms and datasets. Also included are articles on green computing, listings of service providers, books, conferences, and workshops.

Environmental Forum founder Dan Rittner has written a book Ecolinking: Everyone's Guide to Online Information. The book is an environmental research data people can access online. Rittner manages the Ecolinking Web Site, . It has "hot links" to more than 400 environmental sites on the Internet. Laurie Freeman/Chevy Outdoors

The U.S. Geological Survey has prepared a number of new publications about Kansas:

Concentration of Metals and Phosphorus in Streambed Sediments of the Lower Kansas River Basin Affected by Geology and Land Use details the findings from more than 400 streambed samples collected on small streams in the basin during 1987.

Data reports on water quality monitoring in Clinton and Pomona Lakes in Kansas have been published. The data are contained in a report, Water-quality conditions of inflow, outflow, and impounded water at Rathbun Reservoir, Iowa, Clinton and Pomona Lakes, Kansas, and Harlan County Reservoir, Nebraska, May through August 1993.

Midwestern states' data on herbicides in precipitation collected in 1990 and 1991 is now available. Available in print or electronically, the data are from 81 sites in the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/

National Trends network.

Digital maps of the Ozark Aquifer are available. The digital maps are suited for use in a geographic information system.

For more information contact the USGS, 4821 Quail Crest Place, Lawrence, Kansas 66049.

The National Wetlands Inventory of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has digital copies of NWI maps and other information available over the Internet. The NWI home page can be reached at .

Team Up For Trees is the name of an Earth Force environmental education campaign for 1996. Educators and youth group leaders can get a free packet of tree-related items by calling 800-272-3544. Packets contain an educator guide and student action plans to help students understand why trees are important to a healthy planet.

Editor's Note. The left and right angle brackets enclose complete URL addresses. They should not be included when the address is typed into your web browser.

This information is reprinted from the Spring 1996 Newsletter of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education. For more information on KACEE, call John Strickler at 913-537-7050.