45th Annual EEAI Conference

September 26-28, 2014

McCormick's Creek State Park

The theme this year is "Land Ethic".  We felt that the time is right to have a discussion of the reason for Environmental Education.  We will still learn a lot about techniques, resources, and status of EE, but we will also study some of Aldo Leopold's philosophy of a land ethic while learning what a land ethic is and developing our own land ethic.

Believe it or not, we all have a land ethic of some sort.  For some, the important parts are the soils, plants and animals.  For others, it's how much food can be grown on it.  For others, it's how much monetary value it has.  We'll be spending some time understanding our own land ethic and, perhaps most importantly, learning about others.

Homework assignment: Read Aldo Leopold's essay "Thinking Like a Mountain" in "A Sand County Almanac" to learn about the wolf's green eyes!

Given our topic, we thought that it would be most appropriate to invite Buddy Huffaker to be one of our keynote speakers.  Buddy is the executive director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation.  They are dedicated to educating the public about a land ethic using Aldo Leopold's writing as a starting point.

Read EEAI member Jim Poyser's interview with Buddy!

Keynote Speakers

Over the years, Mr. Ringo has established himself as a very influential conservationist, for instance as a past chairman of the board of the National Wildlife Society.  Mr. Ringo is a very dynamic, inspiring speaker.  You won't want to miss him!!!

Read Jim's interview with Mr. Ringo!

Where we'll stay!

We will be offering four scholarships this year, two for students and two for teachers.

To apply, download either the student form or the teacher form, fill it out and send it to Paul Steury at paulds@goshen.edu.



        9:00-12:00 - Leopold pre-conference workshop
        1:00 - Welcome

        1:30 - Leopold movie, A Green Fire
        2:30 - First session: GENERAL SESSION: Land Ethic Panel discussion
        3:30 - Second session: 4 concurrent options
        4:30 - Free time to enjoy the park on your own or a guided hike
​        6:00 - Dinner (in restaurant)
        7:00 - First keynote - Jerome Ringo
        8:30 - Song contest and social time at CCC building
        7:30 - Breakfast  (in restaurant)
        9:00 - Second keynote – Buddy Huffaker
        10:30 - Third session: 4 concurrent options
​        11:30 - Lunch (in restaurant)
        1:00 - Field trips
        5:00 - Optional: Replay Leopold movie for those not there on Friday
        6:00 - Awards dinner in Oak Room
​        7:30 - Evening activities in CCC building
        7:30 - Breakfast (in restaurant)

        8:30 - Fourth session: 4 concurrent options

        9:30 - General session (in Oak Room)
        11:00 - Time for checkout

​​        11:30 - Lunch & farewell (in Oak Room)

If you prefer to camp or stay in one of their family cabins, you'll need to make your own reservation. 

The campsites and cabins go fast, so the sooner the better.  If nothing is available, just keep checking back for cancellations.

The Leopold Education Project

“The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands.”

                                                                      - Aldo Leopold

Increasing urbanization, growing use of electronic communications and other indirect ways of experiencing our environment disconnects our young people from the ecological communities that sustain them.   By bringing students into direct contact with the land and posing questions that employ their critical thinking skills, the Leopold Education Project (LEP) gives students the background to reach decisions based on a land ethic.

“The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as land, among whom education and culture have become almost synonymous with landlessness.  This is the problem of conservation education.”  – Aldo Leopold

The LEP is a curriculum for grades 6-12 designed to instill a land ethic among tomorrow’s stewards by providing direct experience with the natural world.  Based on Aldo Leopold’s classic literary works, including his internationally respected book, “A Sand County ALMANAC”, the LEP is both hands-on and interdisciplinary in its approach.  Combining an ecologically sound understanding of science with excellent literary prose, the ALMANAC serves as a foundation upon which students of all ages can build a relationship with the land.  

Natalie Haley is an Environmental Educator for Allen County Parks in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she has worked for the past seven years.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in Wildlife Science, a wildlife research option in Purdue’s Forestry and Natural Resources Department.   She has worked as a seasonal naturalist for Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources at both McCormick’s Creek State Park and Raccoon State Recreation Area.  She also worked for Purdue University as a laboratory and field technician assistant.  Following graduation, she explored the fields of zoological science, veterinary science as well as biology teaching by volunteering for Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, working at local Columbian Park Zoo, working a year for a veterinarian clinic in Albany, Indiana and then returning to Purdue University to explore a degree in biology teaching.  Following her husband’s transfer to Spooner, Wisconsin, Natalie founded a family “nature niche” program in Spooner’s Family Resource Center.  She has also taught environmental education at an old Audubon camp, Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary in Sarona, Wisconsin.  When her husband was transferred back home to Indiana (Fort Wayne) in 2005, Natalie and her family settled down in Auburn, Indiana with ideas of working again for Indiana’s State Parks.   Natalie still lives in Auburn and commutes to Fort Wayne to share her love and passion for Environmental Education.   Ironically,
she became a Leopold Education Project (LEP) facilitator while working for Allen County Parks.   A local Pheasant’s Forever chapter read about one of her programs on Leopold’s land ethic essays from “A Sand County ALMANAC”, and sent her to Baraboo, Wisconsin to visit Aldo Leopold’s shack and to learn about the curriculum developed by LEP.  During this EEAI pre-conference workshop Natalie will share a selection of LEP curriculum activities with those desiring to instill a land ethic in our youth.


This pre-conference workshop will run on Friday morning.  The cost is $30

For an interesting study about the LEP, Jenna Gatzke, one of our newer members, did her master's thesis on evaluating the effectiveness of the LEP workshops.  You can read it here, and she would be happy to discuss it with you at the conference.  Jenna received her MS degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.  She is currently working on a PhD in Environmental Education at IU.