Alcorn hosts annual Teacher Ecology Education Workshop 2014

Alcorn State University’s Department of Biological Sciences hosted its annual K-12 Teacher Ecology Education Workshop on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

Dr. Alexander D. W. Acholonu, professor and director of the Ecology Education Program, opened the workshop by welcoming the participants on behalf of the School of Arts and Sciences and the University. He acknowledged the sponsors of the program: Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The program was funded through a grant provided by MDEQ.

The program contained many hands-on, didactic and audio-visual activities that appealed to the learning styles of every participant and inspired teachers’ interest.

Dr. Jon Ignacio Moreno, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and project director, Mississippi IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (MS-INBRE), presented a lecture “Intelligent Design vs. Evolution: The Never-ending Dispute.” In his though-provoking lecture, Moreno explained that the argument between science and religion has false foundation as both pursue the same goal – finding the truth. The presentation explained how humans learn from the natural world, how human brain works and how perceptions change with time thus changing the scientific models.

The program continued with Acholonu presenting on “Landfill as a Method of Solid Waste Disposal: Advantages and Environmental Issues” and explaining the purpose of the group’s trip to the landfill in Canton, Mississippi.

The participants toured the different parts of the landfill and its director Melon Garrette explained them how this modern facility functions and how it is maintained.

After the tour, the participants engaged in general discussions the workshop evaluation followed by the distribution of certificates and closing remarks by Acholonu.

Science teacher from Claiborne County School District Mitchell Williams said, “I attend this workshop at Alcorn every year and enjoy it immensely because it always provides the teachers with an opportunity to learn new things about ecology and the world around us. It encourages us to work harder and disseminate our new knowledge to our students.”

For Raven Stancel, biology teacher from Morgantown Middle School, it was her first time attending the program. She said, “I am glad I attended the workshop and acquired new knowledge and skills. I especially enjoyed Dr. Moreno’s presentation on evolution of scientific models, and I got valuable information during out trip to the landfill. I am thankful to the University and Dr. Acholonu for organizing this stimulating program for the teachers. I will definitely attend next year.”

For more information about the workshop, contact Dr. Alex D. W. Acholonu, director, Ecology Education Workshop Program, (601) 877-6236 or [email protected].

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