Conference report (including recommendations)

Andrew Cox


1.     Expectations

a.      There is a need for consistency from one year to the next

At a Caretakers conference you will:

                                                        i.      Participate in workshops with students and teachers from all over the world

                                                        ii.      Discuss topics of environmental concern

                                                       iii.      Listen to talks from experts on specific areas of the environment

                                                       iv.      Learn about environment successes and struggles of the host country

                                                       v.      Share your ideas with like minded students and teachers

                                                       vi.      Socialise with people from many different countries and have the opportunity to share your culture with them

                                                      vii.      Participate in field trips and work on aspects of common concern

                                                     viii.      Work together to develop common solutions

b.     Clear guidelines are essential for:

                                                        i.      Behaviour…relating to good manners, drink, smoking, quiet by 12, etc.

                                                       ii.      Theme work

                                                       iii.      Conference activities

                                                       iv.      Outcomes

                                                       v.      Detail of programme

                                                       vi.      Travel possibilities

                                                       vii.      VISA requirements

                                                      viii.      Funding suggestions


2.     Preparation

a.      Joint projects: pre conference collaboration

                                                              i.      Seeds of Biodiversity….Caretakers USA will develop webpages as a stimulus to this work

                                                            ii.      Young Masters Programme…Brigitta Norden and IIIEE will offer this to encourage exchange of ideas before the annual conference.

                                                          iii.      Science Across the World provide materials that encourage development of joint work.

                                                         iv.      Young Reporters for the environment (Euro centric)

b.     Projects may be presented at conference

c.     Themes known well in advance and some guidelines on how to develop the theme.

d.     E-mail list for participants well before the conference to help develop joint presentations


3.     Conference guidelines

a.      Organising committee

                                    i.      Delegation of responsibility

                                   ii.      Setting of clear goals/outcomes (more serious work!)

                                  iii.      Use of theme groups

                                  iv.      Clear objectives for site visits

                                   v.      Showcase different teaching/learning methodologies

                                  vi.      Hands-on approach for youth delegates…more doing!

b.     Accommodation and food

                                    i.      One location

                                    ii.      Vegetarian option

c.     Delegate selection

                                    i.      Balance between local and International delegates

                                   ii.      English clearly the language of the conference. Where bilingual, need for translation at all times. Powerpoint translation of key points and/or handouts. May be able to use pupils or third level students.

                                  iii.      VISA issues need to be clarified as soon as possible. Support needed to pay where these are required.

d.     Programme

                                     i.      Timing of teacher and pupil presentations (avoid having at same time if possible)

                                    ii.      One teacher session early on to explain about Caretakers

                                    iii.      Uniting ceremony …good opportunity to use flags

                                    iv.      More use of specialists in environmental education and from the local area, using local expertise and involoving the local community

                                    v.      Mix delegates in theme groups

                                   vi.      Split of activity, workshop, presentation and fieldwork needs careful consideration

                                   vii.      Orientation of delegates needs to be before Opening Ceremony

                                   viii.      Greater use of the range of arts e.g. performance arts which do not require langauge understanding

                                    ix.      Snacks at 11.

                                    x.      Minimise time in the buses

                                    xi.      Maximise the use of the resource visited

                                    xii.      Cultural workshops e.g. Tai Chi

e.      Equipment

                                   i.      Powerpoint plus video

                                   ii.      Office supplies for workshops

                                  iii.      Internet access

                                  iv.      Technicians available during presentations

                                  v.      Equipment available in a wider range of rooms

                                  vi.      More rooms available for small group work

                                  vii.      Clear plan of where rooms are


4.     Communication

a.      Before

                                    i.      Website

                                   ii.      E-mail list

                                   iii.      Online chat

                                  iv.      Global forum

                                   v.      Network

                                  vi.      National branches/regional networks such as RIACA

b.     During

                                    i.      Local community

                                    ii.      Sponsors

                                   iii.      Press coverage…young reporters, daily news

                                   iv.      Schools…open night

                                   v.      NGO’s….idea of a Fair

                                   vi.      Invite politicians and educators to listen to the work of young people but not to speak!

                                  vii.      Clearer explanation as to why certain speakers are being invited to speak and what they are speaking about

c.     Afterwards: share the news

                                      i.      Publications, including Global Forum

                                      ii.      Pictures and outcomes on the CEI website

                                     iii.      CD of material gathered during the conference

                                     iv.      Conference report

                                      v.      In your own local area

                                      vi.      On your school website

                                     vii.      More emphasis on student work


5.     Social interaction

a.      Good selection of optional leisure activities, particularly in the evening

b.     Common rooms for informal mixing and chat

c.     Allow for spontaneity

d.     Utilise the energy of young people

e.      Provide opportunities for team games

f.       Consider the age range of the delegates


6.     Project presentations

a.      Less detail

b.     More variety

c.     Poster presentations standard + other means of presentation

d.     Fair or open night concept to make more use of displays

e.      Target for press coverage

f.       Flexibility of subject matter round theme of conference but only if provides some innovative methodology

g.     Time for dress rehearsal

h.     Larger area for poster display

i.        Encourage delegates to bring pins, postcards etc for exchange


7.     Future conferences

a.      Salem, Oregon, USA 2005

b.     Argentina 2006 (link with IIIEE) to be confirmed at the end of September 2004 following meeting at IIIEE conference in Cairo between Fatima Almeida (Caretakers Internationl Board), Birgitta Norden (director of distance learning,Global Environmental Youth Convention) and Gustavo Vera (RIACA…Americas regional network of Caretakers)

c.     Poland 2007