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Keystone Center Educates Educators

Duke Energy has sponsored the Keystone Center Key Issues Institute for several years to encourage environmental education. The Keystone Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization designed to help thought-leaders, teachers, students, and decision-makers use scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art consensus-building to make sound decisions in the areas of environmental, health and energy policy.

The Key Issues Institute began in 1992, with the goal of bringing complex environmental issues into the classroom and training educators to investigate with their students. Each year, about 60 teachers from across the nation are invited to attend seminars in Keystone, Colorado. The Key Issues Institute is facilitated by a team of professional educators from around the U.S. who have participated in the Key Issues Institute and are actively incorporating the framework into their classrooms.

In 2006, Duke Energy sponsored four teachers to attend a week-long seminar on environmental education. The session was filled with indoor and outdoor activities that teachers can learn to incorporate into their classroom curriculum. For example, teachers performed water tests on a local stream. In the morning, they prepared for the lab and learned about the data to be collected. In the afternoon, they performed a variety of physical, chemical and biological tests at the water test site, including water temperature, pH testing and sampling inhabitants of the stream.

I believe that the Key Issues Institute was one of the most enjoyable, useful and comprehensive workshops I have ever attended, says Debi Gann, a Duke Energy-sponsored teacher from Hamilton, Ohio. I know that I can lead my children through the curriculum with confidence and enthusiasm. I not only learned how to implement the materials but I was able to see how a real issue in our community could be handled in much the same way.