2016 Program

hass lined up
In partnership with the Florida Humanities Council

What Sustains Us? Florida Ecosystems in an Era of Rapid Change


About the workshop:

People in Florida shape their environment, but they are also sensitive to changes in their ecosystems. Indeed, Florida’s most pressing issues revolve around human-environmental interactions, including sustainability, food justice, race relations, industrial development, and tourism. In this workshop, we will explore these interactions in three important Florida ecosystems – forests, fresh waters, and salt waters – and discuss how changes in these ecosystems will impact future Floridians across the state. This workshop will help humanities and science educators gain the tools to observe and analyze environmental change and bring the perspectives of culture, history, and ethics to understand our contemporary challenges. Two overarching themes will permeate our explorations: how climatic variation is impacting life in Florida, and how systems thinking (a set of critical-thinking skills to understand complex relationships) can help learners make the cross-disciplinary connections necessary to understand the cultural, ecological, and social impacts of environmental issues.

This five-day, four-night workshop brings perspectives from the humanities into dialogue with current research in ecosystem science. Guided by the lead scholars and Master Teachers, educators will interact with prominent faculty at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College from history, forestry, English, archival preservation, religion, biology, archaeology, and classics. Through site visits to human-shaped landscapes including Cedar Key, Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area, the Austin Cary Forest, Palatka’s Museum on Main Street exhibit, and locally-sourced restaurants, educators will experience firsthand how Florida history and environment informs the decisions we must make about our future. And, together, the week’s activities will drive interest in systems thinking and concern about climatic change as curricular topics that span disciplines and grade levels.

The workshop will appeal to formal and informal educators from a variety of institutions across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and bring educators of all student age groups into dialogue to discuss the connections between the study of human culture and environment. Participants will work in a well-supported and academically stimulating environment with Master Teachers in the humanities and biological sciences to develop Florida state standards-based lessons throughout the workshop. By experiencing interdisciplinary conversations firsthand, participants will show how humanities and sciences together play a key role in supporting Florida society, environment, and economy.

2016 Program Logistics:

University of Florida Reitz Union Hotel

WSU Program Book

WSU Preparatory Readings

WSU Detailed Agenda

Google Doc for Lesson Brainstorming

WSU lesson plan template


This workshop is offered in partnership with the Florida Humanities Council’s Teaching Florida Educator Workshop Series. 

This workshop has been made possible in part by the Florida Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this workshop, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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