Educators from across the midwest and beyond express interest in joining a regional collaborative for sustainability education.
With today’s landscape ripe with opportunities to foster sustainable practices, many schools, businesses and even municipalities across the Midwest are leading the way. Each week a new school, community or business is going green. Yet most are still working in isolation or with a limited number of local collaborators. As a response Northland College has launched the Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education (MRCSE) Project. The project is made possible by a $195,000 grant from the Environmental Education EPA Headquarters and is one of only 12 Environmental Education grants awarded in 2008. “There is a great deal of wisdom and many compelling stories found across the Midwest. Our aim is to create a community space where this knowledge can be shared, explored, captured and innovated,” says Christine Kelly of Anagennao Educational Consulting, who is co-coordinating the project with Clare Hintz, the Northland College Campus Sustainability Coordinator.
The goal of the MRSCE is to use education as the catalyst for community-based sustainability initiatives that engage all the “four E’s” of sustainability – environmental integrity, economic prosperity, social equity, and educational innovation. The project is based on the “community of practice” concept, which refers to the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period to share ideas, find solutions and take action.
This summer the MRCSE will host a 5-day workshop from June 22nd – June 26th to bring disparate groups committed to sustainability education together to share their experiences, explore transformative learning techniques, and find a team of co-collaborators. “But all too often people leave workshops energized to take action but have few resources to do so,” says Clare Hintz. “That’s why all MRCSE workshop participants will also be eligible to apply for seed grant funds to support innovative sustainability action strategies birthed at the workshop.”
In support of the workshop, the MRCSE has also launched an online social network for sustainability education. This website will act as a repository of the MRCSE community stories. Each member of the website will be able to post a personal profile and add content to the website.
Since the launch of MRCSE, over a hundred people from five states and representing many sectors have expressed interest in joining the regional collaborative on sustainability education. “This overwhelming response is very exciting and indicates people’s strong desire to collaborate with others on how to move towards a sustainable future” says Jeremy Solin, a member of the MRCSE advisory team and Director of the LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program at the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. “The diversity of individuals and organizations will help to insure a stronger cross-fertilization among various community sectors.”
Christine Kelly believes “that it is through the creation of meaningful learning communities that we transform our way of being and living in the world.” She welcomes all who are interested in joining MRCSE.
To learn more about the MRCSE Project, summer workshop and online learning community explore the MRCSE website at or contact Christine Kelly at
Northland College, founded in 1892, is a four-year college located in Northern Wisconsin. The college has 82 faculty members, 93 staff members and an enrollment of 700 students. The College’s mission integrates liberal arts studies with an environmental emphasis, enabling those it serves to address the challenges of the future. The College aims, through academic excellence and sustainable practice, to lead the way to a world where human and other biological communities can thrive together indefinitely. Northland has received national recognition for its unique environmental focus combined with its traditional liberal arts program. The College is a member of the leadership circle of signatories of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment and has begun a comprehensive planning process to become climate neutral.