2017 Program Agenda



2017 Summer Seminar for Educators: Draft Agenda

All invitations have been extended to the 2017 programs. We are currently only accepting applications for the waitlist. We encourage interested applicants to explore the Imagining Sustainability: Waters, Wonders, and Waste program offered by our friends at Eckerd College. 

This 5-day, 4-night interdisciplinary summer seminar will support all educators in developing informed and novel approaches to teach about climate change in both formal and informal educational settings. Through field trips and hands-on activities, we will explore changes to Florida’s waters evidenced in forests, springs, and coastal areas, and discuss how these changes impact future Floridians across the state. This seminar will pair leading scholars and Master Teachers from the humanities and ecological sciences to give educators the tools to observe and analyze environmental change and bring perspectives from culture, history, and ethics to address and adapt to our contemporary challenges.


(Please note: the agenda provided is very much TENTATIVE. Changes may be made to accomodate shifting researcher schedules and venue availability.)


  • How do we experience climate as Floridians?
  • What are different forms of humanistic and geological evidence of climate?
  • How do we talk about climate variation with students and others holding diverse beliefs and values?

The seminar opens with an exploration of different forms of evidence for thinking about changes in Florida’s climates. Following introductions and icebreakers, UF faculty from the UF Special Collections and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program will present and discuss open-access resources for teachers to locate climate data from climatology studies but also more personal experiences located in digitized diaries, farming reports, and oral histories. After a break and group dinner, we will work with a climatologist to explore ways to introduce students to the changes to our local and global ecosystems.


  • How do we see climate by looking at the world around us? How do we see climate through the work of artists and theologians?
  • How do human and non-human activities together reveal Florida’s climates?
  • How can we think about responding to the climate changes we see around us? 

On Tuesday, we launch our first climate case study in the Austin Cary Forest. After an opening presentation about water flux in Florida’s forests and introduction to systems thinking as a way to capture the relationships between multiple human and environmental variables, we will explore the forest and practice drawing systems diagrams to represent how histories of logging, turpentine manufacturing, and carbon sequestration have affected water availability here. In the afternoon, we will explore science fiction stories to discuss ways for students to imagine more ecologically sustainable lifestyles, before engaging in group and break-out discussion with Master Teachers about how to take these lessons back to the classroom to help students see climate in their lives too.


  • Where does our water come from?
  • What climate challenges are facing Florida’s fresh waters?
  • How do political factors mediate our relationship to the environment?

On Wednesday, we explore our second climate case study in Florida’s springs. After a presentation on springs ecology and a discussion about sacred associations of springs past and present with ecology and religion faculty, we will canoe from Poe Springs to Blue Springs on the Santa Fe River to examine changes in springs climates firsthand. Following lunch and a swim, we will visit the High Springs Museum to learn about the politics of preserving these waters in the past and present, and conduct Master Teacher discussions and break-out groups for taking these experiences back to our classrooms and learning environments.


  • What are the impacts of sea level rise on Florida?
  • How do cultures study and survive environmental change?
  • How does thinking about adaptation in the past help us to prepare for the future?

On Thursday, we explore our final climate case study in Florida’s coastal salt waters west of Gainesville, beginning with a visit to the visibly changed landscape of Yankeetown’s Withlacoochee Preserve salt marsh. Following a discussion of weather impacts and storm surge in this area, we will head north to Cedar Key for a locavore lunch and boat trip to Seahorse Key to see how one marine station supports climate-related research across the humanities and sciences. Following our return from Seahorse Key, we will have a final humanities exploration of Cedar Key’s Shell Mound archaeological site to discuss how Native Americans have adapted to changing sea levels for thousands of years, before digesting the day’s experiences and brainstorming with the Master Teachers over dinner at a local restaurant.


  • How do we help students to think about their obligations to Florida, and how to take action in Florida to address inevitable changes to our climates?
  • Why do experts need to work together across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences?

On our closing day, we tie these experiences together with a discussion on water ethics and advocacy in Florida, to consider how we might assist young people in drawing connections between Florida’s climate impacts and future actions to sustain our state. We’ll leave ample time for closing discussions of the week with the Master Teachers, and put the final touches on our lesson plans. At the closing lunch banquet, the educators will be invited to share and celebrate their lesson plan ideas stemming from the week’s activities. In addition to these draft lesson plan ideas, we will compile together a collaborative Google Document during the week to share lesson plan ideas and educational resources; we will revise and make this document public following the seminar.

Meet the UF team for Humanities and the Sunshine State: Teaching Florida’s Climates

Lead Instructor: Steven Noll, PhD, Master Lecturer, Department of History, University of Florida

Assistant Instructors (TBA):

Master Teachers:

Stephanie Moody, Civics/History Teacher, Herbert C. Hoover Middle School, Indialantic, FL

John Dickinson, Science Teacher, Oak Hall School, Gainesville, FL

Seminar Texts (available in a pre-circulated PDF):

UF Explore research magazine, summer 2016, special issue on climate: http://explore.research.ufl.edu/

Daniel Aronson (1996) Overview of Systems Thinking: www.thinking.net.

Margaret Atwood (2015) “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet” Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction. (ed. John Joseph Adams). New York: Saga Press: 556-57.

Cynthia Barnett (n.d.) Our Water. Our Florida. A Water Ethic for Florida. Collins Center on Public Policy.

Nelson Blake (1980/2010) Land into Water-Water into Land. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Jeff Goodell (2013, June 20) “Goodbye Miami” Rolling Stone Magazine: 94-103.

Holy See/Pope Francis (2015, May 24) Laudate Si: On Care for Our Common Home (Papal Encyclical)

Francis E. Putz (2012) “Florida Forests Retreat” The Palmetto – Florida Native Plant Society, 29(1): 8-11.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Hyacinth Drift & Who Owns Cross-Creek?” in Cross-Creek (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1942), 342-368.

Ken Sassaman (2016, May) What does Shell Mound Archaeological Site have to do with Water and Climate Change?