Many local organizations engaged with environmental issues and education are at work in Connecticut, representing cross-sections of community life. Each has its own needs and opportunities and brings unique experience and expertise. CT EarthNet would serve as a resource to support local efforts and facilitate communication and collaboration toward shared objectives.
Most land use decisions in Connecticut are made locally, in each of the state's 169 towns, often by volunteer commissioners. Many commissioners come to the job with little prior training, experience or knowledge about available tools and resources. There is continual turnover, making ongogin education and outreach essential.
CT EarthNet would provide a searchable web portal that people could use to obtain information about local environmental issues, connect with local groups and find others with relevant experience. It would provide a clearinghouse to facilitate the efforts of groups such as Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetland Commissions and Green Valley Institute to distribute information and tools to commissioners, and to provide support and training at the town hall meeting level.
Connecticut nature centers and environmental education organizations, such as the Connecticut Outdoor and Environmental Educators' Association, Southeastern New England Marine Educators and Audubon Center at Bent of the River, Connecticut Audubon Center at Pomfret, Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Dinosaur State Park, Kellogg Environmental Center, White Memorial Foundation, provide informal environmental education for adults, families and young people throughout the state.
These centers raise awareness about local environmental issues and distribute information about habitat, resource and wildlife protection. CT EarthNet would serve to facilitate the integration of concepts of science-based environmental management plans for the state with local informal education programs provided by local nature centers. (go to top)
Connecticut non-governmental groups such as watershed coalitions (e.g. Farminton River Watershed Association, Green Valley Institute, Housatonic Valley Association, Pomperaug River Watershed Association), land trusts (e.g. Branford Land Trust, Granby Land Trust, Old Lyme Conservation Land Trust, Southbury Land Trust, Wolf Den Land Trust, ) and similar conservation and stewardship groups.
CT EarthNet would provide an archive that local, non-governmental organizations could use to search for and share (upload/download) case histories, best practices, tools and resources related to conservation and stewardship. It would include web-based communication tools to facilitate discussions and collaboration. (go to top)
Connecticut politics are often intensely local. Environmental advocates such as Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Earth Ministry, Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, Interreligous Eco-Justice Network, CenterEdge Project, Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut Fund for the Environment work to organize public support for key environmental issues, score candidates and elected officials on their positions and voting record, and lobby for related legislation and funding issues.
CT EarthNet would serve to facilitate advocacy groups' efforts to engage voters at the community level, muster the support of elected officials and represent community needs' and sentiments in Hartford. (go to top)
Connecticut state standards for earth science education dovetail remarkably well with local contexts about geology, evolutionary biology/paleontology, and ecology. The combination of the state's cultural history, its natural history and the diversity of environmental activities in the state today provide extraordinarily rich contexts for the teaching of earth science.
CT EarthNet would serve as a resource for the efforts that teachers, school boards, and groups such as Connecticut Academy for Education, Connecticut Science Teachers Association, PIMMS, Connecticut Earth Science Teachers Association and Connecticut Association of Boards of Education are making to develop/refine curriculums for the teaching of earth science in the state consistent with the goals of state standards.
The network would facilitate the development of an "Inquiry plus Place-based" approach to the teaching of earth science in Connecticut, tapping the proven effectiveness of inquiry-based learning with the power of place-based (Environment as Integrating Context). It would work with local educational groups to explore the possibility of integrating earth science education with studies local groups and scientists are making, such as biotic surveys, hydrological surveys, wetlands and watersheds, land use changes. (go to top)
Earth science in the New World began in Connecticut more than two centuries ago. Groundbreaking research continues to be conducted here today, carried on by scientists at Connecticut College, Trinity College, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, Wesleyan University and Yale University.
Taken together, these institutions represent knowledge, learning and technological expertise that could be utilized to inform community-based environmental management in the state.
CT EarthNet would serve as a resource to facilitate discussions and collaboration toward the completion of biotic and critical habitat survey of the state and to make the data available to local land use decision-makers using tools such as UConn CLEAR. The network would work to distribute the information to the public, municipal commissioners, environmental educators, teachers, schools, school boards and public libraries, and to facilitate efforts to gain support for informed environmental management. (go to top)
Museums, libraries, cultural and historical societies archive much about "quality of life" and "spirit of place" in Connecticut, and as such, inform people about issues of environmental management. Museums describe ways that science sheds light on our surroundings, libraries inform us about issues of interest, cultural and historical societies show how in Connecticut, the past and present often intertwine.
CT EarthNet would make public programs and information links available to institutions such as Children's Museum, Connecticut Library Association, Connecticut Library Consortium, Connecticut Humanities Council, Connecticut Science Center, historical societies, Talcott Mountain Science Center, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, to build awareness of current local issues, community-based groups and initiatives, and their significance. (go to top)
Government initiatives such The Connecticut Office For Responsible Development, agencies such as Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and associations such as Connecticut Conference of Municipalities local community groups toward the accomplishment of shared visions for environmental management and quality of life. (go to top)
Businesses and corporations are important stakeholders in planning, conservation and development at local, state and regional levels and support and participate in contribute to land use decision-making. (go to top)
CT EarthNet would work to facilitate discussion and collaboration between network partners and philanthropical resources such as Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, foundations and grants. (go to top)