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Airboats on the Neches teach environmental science

GLO airboat Lamar University’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences 21st annual Teaching Environmental Science summer institute introduced Southeast Texas EC-12 teachers to local environmental issues through first-hand experiences. The participants concluded the two-week course on the Neches River July 22 where they learned about a state program to rehabilitate the Bessie Heights marsh.

The 10-day field institute is offered in conjunction with the Region 5 Science Collaborative, local industries, state and federal agencies, and environmental non-governmental organizations.  Using airboats in Texas coastal waters to study oil spill prevention and response in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office, the teachers saw how the marshland elevation is raised and protected from future oil spills and salt water.

During the program, the teachers explored and/or studied environmental habitats in the Golden Triangle, including the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center and the Big Thicket National Preserve.  Since its inception nearly a quarter-million Texas students have taken courses from teachers who have experienced the institute.

The Lamar University TES Institute has received international, national and statewide exposure through presentations at numerous venues. These have included conferences of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (2006), National Science Teachers Association (2003 & 2005), North American Association for Environmental Education (2002 & 2003), Science Teachers Association of Texas (2001-2004), Texas Academy of Science (2002, 2003, & 2005), and the Texas Environmental Educators Partnership (2002).