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U of M, Crookston Natural Resources Plans Environmental Education Outreach Programs for Local Schools; Project Learning Tree and Project WET Workshop Scheduled for Sat., Feb. 23, 2008
February 4, 2008

Contact: Laura Bell, lab services coordinator, 218-281-8131, (, Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (

Laura Bell in Jackson, Wyoming, at the American Wilderness Leadership School
Laura Bell in Jackson, Wyoming, at the American Wilderness Leadership School
Crookston, Minn. (February 4, 2008) – Local school children will have the opportunity to participate in Environmental Education (EE) programs planned and coordinated by Lab Services Coordinator Laura Bell and natural resources students from the University of Minnesota, Crookston. One of those activities, a Project Learning Tree and Project WET, a Water Education for Teachers workshop, is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 23, 2008, on the Crookston campus.

The Project Learning Tree and Project WET workshop is a one-day training workshop for educators to use the nationally-established projects with their students. Participants will engage in several fun, hands-on indoor and outdoor learning opportunities that focus on water, forestry and land management education. Participants will receive the Project WET K-12 Activity Guide, the Project Learning Tree PreK-8 Activity Guide, a certificate for 8 hours of instruction, posters and other supplemental materials. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators, and communities of the world with water education.

Bell recently attended the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) in Jackson, Wyo., through a scholarship from the Minnesota Chapter of Safari Club International. The School provides teachers with challenging field experiences in wildlife ecology, management, and conservation. Additionally, there are sessions covering firearm safety, fly tying, wilderness survival, archery, climbing challenge course, environmental interpretive techniques and outdoor ethics. 

“It was such an amazing opportunity to be a part of AWLS,” Bell says. “Everyone had such a passion for conservation and the world. As teachers, they are able to convey their message to so many students. I definitely left Wyoming with new energy and a storehouse of great ideas.”

Those ideas translated into the development of some unique EE experiences for U of M, Crookston to share their passion for natural resources. “I’ve been able to use resources from AWLS to develop new activities and programs,” Bell says. “We’re in the process of assembling EE trunks with a particular theme for schools to check out and use. These trunks will contain hand-on learning items, activity guides and ideas on how to use and learn about the featured items. Similar boxes were showcased at AWLS, and I thought they were such a great idea and opportunity for the kids.” 

The mission of the AWLS is to offer an outdoor instructional program that concentrates on natural resource management and provides participants with  a base of knowledge to better comprehend and evaluate current and future conservation issues. AWLS has been operating in Wyoming since 1976.

Bell also serves as a naturalist for the U of M, Crookston Natural Resources Department and the Red River Valley Natural History Area, which is owned and operated by the Northwest Research and Outreach Center.

For more information, contact Bell at 218-281-8131 (

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. Invent yourself at the University of Minnesota, Crookston – become a leader, innovate through technology and research and secure the career you want. To learn more, visit