President Wilson G. Bradshaw recently appointed three new Members to the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education's Board of Advisors. The new appointees are: FGCU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Marine Sciences, Dr. Ronald Toll; Vikki Spruill, current President and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy and newly appointed President and CEO of the Council on Foundations; and Akpezi Ogbuigwe, the head of Environmental Education and Training for the United Nations Environment Programme.
FGCU Provost Dr. Ronald B. Toll holds an A.A. degree in Biology from Union College in Cranford, N.J. and a B.A. in Zoology from Rutgers University. He received his doctoral degree in Biological Oceanography from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC Dr. Toll began his faculty career at the University of the South in Tennessee. He has held multiple administrative roles and is an accomplished publisher of marine science research.
Spruill brings a blend of expertise in both collaborative leadership and philanthropy with her involvement. She was the fifth person, and the only woman, ever to be the CEO of the Ocean Conservancy’s 40-year history. Prior to her appointment at Ocean Conservancy, Ms. Spruill was president and founder of SeaWeb, a non-profit organization that uses strategic communications techniques to advance ocean conservation.
Akpezi Ogbuigwe is known for her vast experience in the field of environmental education, research and training. Prior to joining UNEP, Akpezi Ogbuigwe was a Professor of Law at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria and volunteered her time at ANPEZ Centre for Environment and Development, Port Harcourt , Nigeria where she worked with schools, communities, government and the private sector on issues of environment and development and the running of an environmental library.
The Center’s Board of Advisors includes distinguished scholars, activist, scientist, and educators from the local community and across the world. If you would like to learn more about the Center’s Board of Advisors and their work please visit the Center’s Board of Advisors page.
Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran recently traveled to China to give speeches at both ends of the Yangtze River!
At the mouth of the Yangtze in Shanghai he represent President Wilson G. Bradshaw and Florida Gulf Coast University at the official launch of the United Nations Environment Programme's Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) on June 5-6, 2012. Dr. Corcoran served as one of two delegates representing North America on the steering committee which guided the development of the GUPES program over the last two years. The goal of the project is to “promote the integration of environment and sustainability concerns into teaching, research, community engagement and the management of universities, as well as to enhance student engagement and participation in sustainability activities."
Corcoran said " After nearly two years of development, it was exciting to launch this significant effort by university leaders to bring strong sustainability to their institutions. It was a privilege to present the sustainability initiatives of Florida Gulf Coast University on the global stage."
At the headwaters of the Yangtze, high on the Tibetan Plateau, in the Yunnan Province, Dr. Corcoran gave talks at the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities and Shangri-la College. Drawing on James Hilton's 1932 novel, Lost Horizon, his address was entitled, "Lost Horizon and Expanding Horizons: Finding our Way in Times of Accelerating Change." He was able to visit to visit a lamasery, a monastery, and a nunnery, which use the Earth Charter as a way of reconnecting with traditional knowledge and Buddhist ethical values.
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at Florida Gulf Coast University recently revised a book for an international audience about the concept and practice of sustainable development. Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran and editorial associate, Joseph P. Weakland collaborated with Dutch author Niko Roorda to translate and edit the textbook, Fundamentals of Sustainable Development. London-based publisher, Routledge, recently published the book on March 26, 2012.
Author, Dr. Niko Roorda said, “Thanks to the ideas and contributions of Corcoran and Weakland, the scope of the book has been made fully international, making it suitable for students and scholars in the USA, the UK and everywhere else in the world.”
Fundamentals of Sustainable Development is an interactive and complete educational tool for both teachers and students. The book comes with a website containing exercises, learning goals, and summaries for each chapter as well as over forty video clips. It also offers a ‘lecturer section’, which includes a PowerPoint to accompany every chapter with answers and explanations to the exercises.
Those with no previous knowledge of sustainable development can read the book with ease. The first part presents an overview of the conceptual and practical challenges in sustainable development stemming from human – environment relations as well as ensuing issues of inequality and insecurity. The second part explores strategies and solutions for facing these challenges. It presents a number of case studies drawn from India, China, the European Union, and Africa, and draws on a range of disciplines to investigate topics such as climate change, energy, technology, political and economic instruments, and sustainable business practices.
Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran said, “It was an honor for the Center to be called upon to assist in this important international book project. We are excited by the extensive online resources that will be available to teachers as part of the book.”
For more details on the book or purchasing information, please click on the following link, "Fundamentals of Sustainable Development."
This past month, FGCU Professor and Center Senior Faculty Advisor Neil Wilkinson represented Florida Gulf Coast University in Washington, D.C. at the first White House Summit on Environmental Education on April 16, 2012. As an environmental education instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences and Vice-President of the Florida Mosquito Control Association, Neil took the opportunity to highlight Florida Gulf Coast University’s environmental mission and commitment to graduating ecologically literate students and the many partnerships with local agencies that support FGCU’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
The White House Summit on Environmental Education convened a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the importance of environmental education and the core concepts and principles that best contribute to environmental literacy. The Summit featured two panels of environmental education leaders, remarks from several Administration officials and a panel on the Federal government's on-going commitment to the field of environmental education.
This Summit included about 100 environmental education leaders and practitioners from around the country for a series of panel discussions and action workshops. Lisa Jackson, administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Arne Duncan, secretary for the U. S. Department of Education welcomed guests by announcing the reconvening of a federal task force to coordinate environmental education among 15 federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, and Departments of Education, Interior, Health, Transportation, and Labor. Wilkinson said, “It was exciting to have so many federal agency leaders come together to address the importance of environmental education.”
The importance and role of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education was reinforced and the focus on inclusion of children from low-income families was emphasized. Formal and informal initiatives were promoted to explore best practices that foster lifelong environmental stewardship and assess environmental education accomplishments.
If you would like more information on the White House Summit on Environmental Education please visit http://www.epa.gov/education/eesummit.html.
Please See Photo Gallery on Left
Provost Ron Toll, Erika Boliek, Dean Mitch Cordova, Dean Donna Price Henry, and Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran
The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend was recently held on Sanibel Island. The Weekend featured a productive Board of Advisors meeting and a successful Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration for the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education.
The Board of Advisors met early Saturday at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn to discuss future plans for the Center. The Board includes local, national, and international scholars. At the meeting, members of the Board reviewed and adopted the Center’s new strategic plan for the next five years, 2012-2017.
Later that evening, approximately two hundred people joined the Center at the beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer to celebrate the most successful year in the Center’s history. At the event, guests enjoyed a dazzling array of hors d'oeuvres, refreshments, and a breathtaking sunset. The wonderful music of harpist Leslie Gregory and the harp and fiddle duo, Castlebay, was also heard throughout the evening.
As part of the evening's celebrations, Board of Advisors Member Armand Ball presented the Rachel Carson Award to Dr. Louise M. Johnson for her long time service to the Center and the greater community of Sanibel. This is the highest honor given by the Center and took the form of a locally-found lightning whelk.
Co-chairs of the Board of Advisors David Orr and Mary Evelyn Tucker also gave thoughtful reflections on the work of the Center as part of the night’s celebrations. During her stay on Sanibel, Board Member and award-winning poet Alison Hawthorne Deming wrote a poem for Mary Oliver entitled “WHAT CONTINUES.” She concluded the evening by reading her poem aloud. She then went on to announce the Haffenreffer Challenge. The full poem can be seen below.
In addition to their generosity in hosting the Fundraising Celebration, Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer have continued an annual tradition of energizing donor participation with the Haffenreffer Challenge. They will match any donations to the Center up to a total of $10,000!
Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran said, “Thanks to Deming’s poem and the Haffenreffer’s creativity, the event was a heartfelt tribute to our seriously ill, beloved poet, Mary Oliver. It was full of spirit and meaning.”
The Center extends its gratitude to all those who contributed to its fundraising efforts. The Center truly appreciates every contribution and hopes to continue to receive ongoing support from friends, colleagues, and stakeholders. Such support is vital to the Center's efforts and allows us to continue to “work toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for earth through scholarship, education and action.”
For those who were unable to attend the event, but would still like to make a contribution to help us meet the Haffenreffer Challenge, you may send a check to:
Peter Blaze Corcoran
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, Florida 33965
Make checks payable to CESE/FGCU
Two men in lawn chairs hats straw
crocs royal blue
cast lines into the gulf
great blue heron stands
say ten feet behind the men
upright as an old school deacon
as focused on what’s beyond.
Later I find the heron
down the beach
silver supper in its bill
thrashing the tinseled
in the pincered bill
the heron taking its time
shifting the fish into line
so it slips without struggle
down the throat.
Does the bird
feel the catch
flitter in its belly?
Does that disturb
the heron or is it
a kind of satiety
that restless truth
or is it just a fact?
I don’t think that
the deep-sea shrimp
feel much when they gorge
on luminescent bacteria
which light up the gut
like a neon sign for food.
So it goes all along
the chorus line predator to prey.
I saw a huge gull standing say
ten feet behind the heron
as it worked to balance its fish
the gull watching the heron
just as the heron had watched the men
the men had watched
the lapping chalky waves
and I had watched them all
feeling something was being
conveyed in the moment
as if to watch
and watching to imagine—what?
this small moment
opening into the great
mystery of hunger and beauty
death and renewal
as if the very moment
were the purpose
any of us
had been called to.
--Alison Hawthorne Deming
Copyright 2005. Rachel Giese Brown.
As many Center stakeholders know by now, Mary Oliver has been diagnosed with a serious illness. As you can read below, we have decided to cancel the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture scheduled for Friday, February 17, 2012. We have not cancelled the Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration scheduled for Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. It is fully subscribed, but we are keeping a waiting list. See below for details.
We were delighted to receive the following letter on Monday, February 13, 2012 from the poet...
Dear Peter Blaze Corcoran and the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education,
I am more deeply regretful and apologetic than I can say that I failed my visit. It's so clear that you love and honor exactly the things that I do, my visit was to be a great delight. But what happened to me, which demands all my attention, chose its own time. A public reading, even in beautiful Sanibel, is out of my range just now.
I am enclosing two poems, perhaps someone would read them for me. The first, very short, may suggest what my trouble is, an old trouble revisiting. Some of you may be familiar with my poems about Percy; if so it may bring you a little pleasure. I hope so.
Again, I am very very sorry.
“After I fall Down the Stairs at the Golden Temple"
For awhile I could not remember some word
I was in need of,
and I was bereaved and said: where are you
The first time Percy came back
he was not sailing on a cloud.
He was loping along the sand as though
he had come a great way.
"Percy," I cried out, and reached to him—
those white curls—
but he was unreachable. As music
is present yet you can't touch it.
"Yes, it's all different," he said.
"You're going to be very surprised."
But I wasn't thinking of that. I only
wanted to hold him. "Listen," he said,
"I miss that too.
And now you'll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won't be false, and they won't be true,
but they'll be real."
And then, as he used to, he said, "Let's go!"
And we walked down the beach together.
Mary Oliver. Credit Rob Howard
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability regrets to share difficult news concerning poet Mary Oliver. We have learned that Oliver has just received an unexpected diagnosis of a very serious illness. Unfortunately, her aggressive treatment plan requires no travel and no public appearances on doctor's orders. She had been greatly looking forward to delivering the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. We hope that you will join us in sending prayers, healing thoughts, and well wishes to Mary Oliver at this difficult time. We encourage you to spend time reading her poetry aloud.
After considering a variety of options and out of respect for Mary Oliver, we have decided to cancel the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture that was scheduled for next Friday, February 17, 2012 at Saint Michael and All Angels Church on Sanibel Island. We have also cancelled the Master Class with Florida Gulf Coast University students that was scheduled for Thursday, February 16, 2012 on campus. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
We will go forward with the Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration on Saturday, February 18, 2012, 5:00-8:00pm on Sanibel Island. Although Mary Oliver was not planning to attend this event, hosts Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer wish to have the evening honor her. Poet Alison Hawthorne Deming and Center Board Co-Chairs Mary Evelyn Tucker and David Orr will celebrate her contributions to the literary arts and the spirit of Rachel Carson with their remarks.
The Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration is now fully subscribed. If you replied that you were coming to the party and have sent a contribution, please join us as planned. If your contribution did not arrive before the party filled, we will call to see if you would like to be added to the waiting list. We will call before cashing your contribution check. If your plans have changed and you are not attending the party, please let us know and we will offer your place to someone on the waiting list. Thank you.
We will also be happy to receive questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We greatly appreciate your understanding and support at this difficult time.
Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration
Saturday, February 18, 2012, 5:00-8:00pm
Sanibel Island, Florida
Photo Courtesy of Carol Orr Hartman- Breeze Publications.
The response to this year's Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend and Annual Fundraising Celebration has been very positive.
The Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration is now fully subscribed. We are keeping a waiting list. We will call contributors on the waiting list before cashing their contribution checks. Please carpool to the Haffenreffer's home if possible as parking will be a challenge. We thank you for this great support of the Center's work.
The Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration will still be held on Sanibel Island, Saturday, February 18, 2012, from 5:00-8:00pm at the beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer. This is the major fundraising event for the Center and helps to further its sustainability initiatives locally and globally. At the party, guests can enjoy hors d'oeuvres prepared from locally grown produce, a glorious view of the sunset, and a walk along the beach.
Brief remarks will be given at the party by Center Board of Advisors Co-Chairs, Mary Evelyn Tucker and David Orr, seen together in the photo on the right with Advisor Rick Clugston from a previous Celebration. Award-winning poet and Board of Advisors Member Alison Hawthorne Deming will also be giving brief remarks.
For those attending the Fundraising Celebration, a contribution of $50 per person is suggested. If you are unable to attend the event, but would still like to make a contribution, you may send a check made payable to the following:
Peter Blaze Corcoran, Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, Florida 33965-6565
For more information, or if you did not receive your invitation, please contact the Center by email at email@example.com or by phone at (239) 590-7166.
Photograph Mary Oliver. Copyright 2005 Rachel Giese Brown
The response that Sanibel, Captiva, and Useppa Island residents have had to Mary Oliver visiting Sanibel to do a poetry reading with commentary has been extravagant. Several Island women were quick to respond about their opportunity to see and hear this celebrated American poet.
Center Director and Sanibel resident, Peter Blaze Corcoran, explains, “Many island residents are clearly devoted readers of Mary Oliver. The response from Island women has been especially moving. We look forward to an inspiring reading for both those new to and familiar with her work.”
Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan, Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church and Center Host Committee Member said, “I have collected her poetry for many years, and I am ecstatic that Mary Oliver is coming to Sanibel. I am so happy that everyone else will also have the opportunity to enjoy her work.”
Hollie Schmid from the Sanibel Island Bookshop, which will be selling books at the Lecture, said “I am thrilled to have National Book Award winning author Mary Oliver come to Sanibel Island! She writes so beautifully of nature and shows us the extraordinary in everyday life. Being on a sanctuary island and listening to Mary Oliver read her poetry will be the perfect fit!"
Ginny Amsler from Useppa Island shared that, “Mary Oliver’s poem About Angels and About Trees means a great deal to my friends and me. That poem touched us when we had one of our loved ones die. My friends and I want to go to the Lecture to say thank you to Mary Oliver.”
Holly Maiz, Sanibel resident and Center Host Committee Member, wrote to the Center saying, “I am completely thrilled that Mary Oliver is coming to Sanibel for the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. I have been reading and sharing her poems for years. She is one of the few people who manage to put the damp smell of earth directly onto the page! I have read her poems for students and clients, and taken her poems as my only reads while trekking in the wilderness. I can't wait for my friends here to see her.”
Captiva Memorial Librarian, Anne Bradley, told us, “Mary Oliver is a poet of stature and vision. To attend a reading by her will be a rare treat.”
The Center’s Annual Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture is being held Friday, February 17, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on Sanibel Island. The following evening the Center will also be holding their Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sanibel Island beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer. The lecture will be free and open to the public. Seats will be reserved for contributors to the Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration.
Invitations to the Lecture and the Fundraising Celebration have been sent to the Center’s mailing list. If you did not receive your invitation and would like one, or would like more information on the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture and the Annual Fundraising Celebration, please visit the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at www.fgcu.edu/cese or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (239) 590-7166.
The Sanibel Island Bookshop and the Sanibel Memorial Library have made special preparations for this year’s Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture in honor of Mary Oliver. Both have made arrangements to make Mary Oliver’s work readily accessible to Islanders.
The staff of the Sanibel Public Library has organized a display of Mary Oliver’s books that are available for borrowing. Hollie Schmid, at the Sanibel Island Bookshop has also created an elaborate display of Mary Oliver’s works. Books available for purchase will include Mary Oliver’s, Pulitzer Prize winner, “American Primitive,” National Book Award winner for Poetry, “New and Selected Poems Volume One,” and many others! Mary Oliver has agreed to sign books after the Lecture. If you have not had a chance to purchase one of Oliver’s books please pick one up and read her poetry aloud.
Hollie explains that she is "thrilled to have National Book Award winning author Mary Oliver come to Sanibel Island! She writes so beautifully of nature and shows us the extraordinary in everyday life. Being on a sanctuary island and listening to Mary Oliver read her poetry will be the perfect fit!"
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at Florida Gulf Coast University and its Island friends have been busy preparing for poet Mary Oliver’s visit to Sanibel Island for this year's Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. The Lecture is an annual event of the Center that furthers our work toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. The Center aims to elevate the environmental mission of FGCU and serve the local community of the Western Everglades and Barrier Islands.
Residents of the Southwest Florida community and Center staff joined to form a 2012 Host Committee to prepare for Mary Oliver’s visit to Sanibel. The Center is holding Host Committee meetings weekly at The Sanibel Bean in preparation for the Lecture and Fundraising Celebration. Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran has been working with the group to finalize the Center’s arrangements for the upcoming Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend. Host Committee members include
The Lecture will be held Friday, February 17, 2012 at 7:30 PM at Saint Michael and All Angels Church on Sanibel Island. The Lecture is free and open to the public but seats will be reserved for contributors to the Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration.
The evening after the lecture, Saturday, February 18, 2012, the Center’s Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration will be held at the Sanibel Island beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is a major fundraising event for the Center and helps to further its sustainability initiatives locally and globally.
If have any questions or would like to request an invitation please contact the Center at email@example.com or by phone at 239-590-7166.
The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education recently finalized and posted its concept statement for this year's Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture featuring poet Mary Oliver. The Center has chosen to feature Mary Oliver for this year's Lecture because her poetry urges readers to reconsider the role of nature in our everyday lives. Her poems rekindle what Rachel Carson calls the "sense of wonder" for the natural world. The work of Rachel Carson not only inspired the creation of our annual Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture, but is also the inspiration for much of our work at the Center.
After being informed that Mary Oliver would be giving this year's Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture, Poet and Center Board of Advisors Member, Alison Hawthorne Deming remarked:
"How many people carry a Mary Oliver poem around in their pocket, wallet, notebook, or heart? Her poems have spread like seeds dispersing on the wind, in the paws of animals, the beaks of birds. Her work and its broad following speaks to the power of poetry to make our lives resonate with the more-than-human world that embraces us. She is our talismanic poet of ponds and woods, bears and marsh hawks, body and spirit. Her poems transform the argument between amazement and skepticism into the beauty of song."
To access the complete version of this year's Concept Statement, please visit our Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series page.