Friday, November 9, 2001

Dr. Wayne Bell Emphasizes the Environment in Science Education at International Coastal Seas Conference

Chestertown, MD, November 9, 2001 — Dr. Wayne Bell, director of the Washington CollegeCenter for the Environment and Society, and Andrew Stein '99, program manager for the Center, will present on the topic "Coastal Seas as a Context for Science Teaching: A Lesson from the Chesapeake Bay," at the Fifth International Conference on the Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas (EMECS), to be held November 19-23, 2001 in Kobe, Japan. Bell, Stein, and senior Michael Scozzafava '02 will accompany a larger Maryland delegation to the conference.
The presentation, co-authored with student Erin Fowler '01, promotes the use of environmental studies as a comprehensive method to teach science, mathematics and technology to primary and secondary school students. Stein also will be exhibiting at the EMECS Environmental Fair on November 18.
"We in this field have witnessed how environmental studies engenders stewardship," says Bell, "but it is also a great way to teach science."
Bell believes that by using authentic environmental data gathering and analysis techniques in the classroom, environmental studies does not need to remain a "soft" part of science education. Rather, students understanding of fundamental scientific and technological concepts will be enhanced as see "science in action" through environmental projects involving sophisticated instrumentation, compilation of measurements and statistics, and interpretation of data using graphs and satellite imagery.
"Unfortunately, these resources are seldom interpreted for use by K-12 educators, but they need to be," says Bell. "Together with Andrew Stein and Erin Fowler, I have developed an example that uses the Chesapeake Bay as a paradigm to demonstrate how such interpretation can assist educators in teaching important principles in physical oceanography and marine ecology."
Bell also hopes his EMECS contacts will foster more university exchanges for Washington College and promote a greater spirit of cooperation between nations.
"As a nation, we have to begin thinking about other people in the world and be open to their concerns--sharing instead of telling," says Bell. "The EMECS conferences set a tone for approaching the world's environmental problems this way."
The conference is organized by the International EMECS Center in Kobe, Japan, established to promote the preservation of Japan's Seto Inland Sea and the world's enclosed coastal seas through international cooperation and information exchange. The EMECS concept developed in the mid-1980s when environmentalists, researchers and policymakers involved with the Chesapeake Bay realized the Bay restoration program was being implemented with little knowledge of the information, methods and results gained by other estuarine and enclosed coastal sea programs in the U.S. and abroad. Concurrently, Governor Toshitami Kaihara of Japan's Hyogo Prefecture had similar concerns while concluding a successful agreement among 17 Japanese jurisdictions for the environmental restoration of the Seto Inland Sea. EMECS now supports a worldwide network concerned with preserving the health and environmental quality of the planet's enclosed coastal seas. The theme of EMECS 2001 is Toward Coastal Zone Management that Ensures Coexistence Between People and Nature in the 21st Century.

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