We’re on our way home from a memorable weekend at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, Washington, site of this summer’s PopEd Leadership Institute. Our staff of six was joined by 32 of North America’s top educators who are preparing to become facilitators of PopEd workshops this school year and for years to come. They traveled from near (Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and other points in WA, OR and BC) and far (Columbia, SC, Flint, MI, St. Louis, MO, Toronto and many other locales) for a weekend of learning and sharing at an idyllic eco-retreat center.
IslandWood is a model of sustainability, from the composting toilets and countertops of recycled yogurt containers to the on-site garden and beehives. Hiking through the 255-acre campus leads to lots of pleasant surprises, like a floating classroom that students hand paddle on a pond, to a tree house high up in a fir, to birds flying among cat tails in a scenic marsh. IslandWood staff and docents led us on an educational night hike and brought us together for an evening campfire of songs, jokes, stories and, of course, s’mores. They also shared the local summer specialties – wild-caught salmon, berries, cherries and more!
When we weren’t exploring the environs, we were demonstrating PopEd activities – about 20 over the course of the weekend – and helping our new trainers plan their upcoming workshops. Thanks to these great new recruits, PopEd workshops will be held at a range of conferences this fall, including the Idaho Science Teachers Association, Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education, Kansas Association for Gifted, Talented and Creative! and the British Columbia Social Studies Association.