Top U.N. Environmental Educator to Speak at UT April 4; Event Kicks Off Earth Month at UT

KNOXVILLE — Charles Hopkins, a leader in the United Nations’ Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, will speak at the University of Tennessee at 7 p.m. on April 4 in Room 32 of the Alumni Memorial Building. The address is free and open to the public.

Hopkins, whose address is part of UT’s Earth Month celebration, is a renowned international expert on how best to incorporate environmental issues into the educational process.

“We’re excited to bring someone of Dr. Hopkins’ stature to campus as we celebrate Earth Month,” said UT Chancellor Loren Crabtree. “As the state’s flagship higher education institution, we’re proud to take a leadership role in issues of environmental education.”

In his position as the UNESCO Chair on Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability at York University in Toronto, Canada, Hopkins advises governments and educators around the world on how to incorporate environmental and sustainability issues into their curricula.

He has an extensive background in education, having served as the curriculum superintendent for the Toronto Board of Education after spending a number of years as a superintendent on the district level. He also was the founder and principal of Canada’s largest environmental field school.

Hopkins takes a broad approach to environmental education and will talk not only about the important role of sustainability in classroom education, but also about how to best reach a wider variety of people with information about environmental issues.

UT researchers have played a key role in the U.N.’s effort.

“UT is deeply involved in sustainability education,” said Rosalyn McKeown, director of the Center for Geography and Environmental Education in UT’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment.

McKeown serves as the U.N. Secretariat for the UNESCO Chair held by Hopkins. She is also the author of the Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit, an online resource for educators that has been translated into a number of languages and is in use by communities around the world.

She said that Hopkins’ message will provide attendees with both understanding of the need for environmental education and inspiration to act.

“Everybody, no matter where you are in the world, can be involved in the [U.N.] Decade for Education in Sustainable Development,” said McKeown. “This program is igniting imaginations around the world.”

About Earth Month at UT:

During the month of April, the entire university is celebrating Earth Month with events throughout campus for students, faculty, staff and community members. All events are free and open to the public, and a full listing is available on the Make Orange Green Web site at http://environment.utk.edu.

Other major Earth Month events include:
– A presentation on global climate change by a member of The Climate Project. Monday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in Room 223 of the University Center.
– The Baker Center Address on Energy Policy. Jerry Paul, the Howard H. Baker Center’s Distinguished Fellow on Energy Policy, will give an address entitled “Energy Independence or Energy Security?”
– Green Dining Day in Morrill Hall. UT Dining Services will offer students environmentally friendly meal options, as well as using materials that will generate no trash for the entire lunch. Thursday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Morrill Hall Dining Room.
– A screening of the Make Orange Green Video Contest, presented by The Studio as part of their annual Free Range Contest. After viewing the entries, winners will be announced, including the results of a “people’s choice” vote. The contest will be followed by a viewing of the documentary Kilowatt Ours. Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library.
– A series of Lunch and Learn sessions about various UT environmental programs will be held throughout the month.

Contacts:
Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
Sarah Surak (865-974-3480, ssurak@utk.edu)
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