Photo by participating teacher and photographer Sue Cullumber
Yesterday was the first full day of the Toyota International Teacher's Program. The prestigious program is taking some of the top educators in the US on an intensive study tour of the Galapagos Islands. And I'm along for the ride on the road to Galapagos to report on this unique expedition—and the myriad international environmental education issues that'll take the spotlight along the way. Through these teachers' experiences, we've got a singular chance to see the current state of the islands' ecosystems and the varied conservation efforts unfolding there. But the first stop is closer to home—it's Southern Florida, and the Everglades National Park. The Program Begins – Day 1
Last Saturday evening (11/22) marked the beginning of the program, when 29 teachers from around the country arrived in Miami for the opening events.
The teachers were selected through a rigorous application process (around a thousand applied—30 got to go) based on their unique contributions to environmental causes around the country, and their innovative impact plans with which they'll integrate the info gleaned on the trip into their curriculums upon return. These range from plans for an intensive recycling initiative to the proposed creation of a multinational poetry anthology about Galapagos flora and fauna.
And the educators represent a diverse lot: there's a high school science teacher from Alaska, an advanced English teacher from Baltimore, a middle school history teacher from South Carolina, and a Special Education instructor from Arizona—to name only a few.
They all met and became acquainted in the opening events, which featured introductory presentations that outlined the program's initiatives. The evening concluded with a welcoming dinner. Then, the teachers dispersed for some brief respite before the first venture—a dash through the Everglades for a whirlwind study tour of its endangered ecosystem.
More on the Toyota Teacher's Program to Galapagos:
Teaching by Example: The Road to Galapagos : TreeHugger