We seek to provide Ashtabula, Lake and surrounding counties a standing resource for environmental education, research, and awareness. Through partnerships with industrial, educational, government, and non-government organizations, we intend to provide resources and information to support our regional constituents to establish an environmentally literate and aware community.
The goal of the partnership between Lake Erie College (LEC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to enhance environmental literacy and awareness in our region. To that end, we are seeking to establish a facility for educational and research opportunities to serve our regional constituents. To achieve this, a strategic planning conference, sponsored by The National Science Foundation, was hosted by LEC to identify regional needs using the Appreciative Inquiry approach and to establish a core group of interested volunteers to establish the Northeast Ohio Natural and Environmental Science Think Tank (NEONESTT). Participants self-identified in one of five categories: K-12 Education, Higher Education, Industry, Government, or non-Government Organization. The needs identified in this conference encompassed a broad range of initiatives (a complete list is available ). As such, we are focusing on those that align with the missions of LEC and TNC, primarily focused on education and understanding our regional environment. To that end, a core group of NEONESTT volunteers will meet regularly to update the progress of these goals, identify action steps relating to these goals and any changes that need to be made regarding specific action steps in progress, and aid in fundraising and other strategic initiatives related to the renovation of a building space on .
Goal 1: Renovation of the lodge on TNC Grand River Conservation Campus (GRCC)
Phase 1: Useable Spaces/First Floor Lodge
Improve parking, signage around campus areas, specifically the nature center and lodge. UPDATE: COMPLETE. New turnaround, driveways, and parking areas have been established to better manage traffic and flow around key GRCC visitor locations.
Work with local contracting and engineering firms to establish a plan for renovating that focuses on electric, plumbing, HVAC, ADA accessibility. UPDATE: In progress – representatives from TNC and LEC are reviewing floor plans and working on final spatial designs.
Design first floor layout. UPDATE: COMPLETE. Lab space, mudroom, and adaptable common areas for hosting a range of educational and community events are planned.
Renovate first floor for useable space per layout design. UPDATE: In progress. LEC is working to identify a laboratory construction group to complete that portion of the floor plan. TNC and LEC are working on identifying optimal furniture, etc. for the remaining spaces.
Phase 2: Second Floor Lodge
Provide office space for TNC employees.
Provide common office space for visiting researchers.
Provide common open areas for group gatherings.
Goal 2: Provide educational opportunities for regional K-12 schools/teachers
Provide support for curriculum design and execution.
Provide space and resources for teachers in high need districts.
Provide professional development opportunities for teachers. UPDATE: LEC has offered an initial round of PD in which teachers learned how to develop and execute environmental science-themed activities on the GRCC.
Goal 3: Provide research opportunities for visiting scientists
Have open laboratory and office space for visiting researchers to conduct their work. UPDATE: refer to the renovations in Goal 1.
Aid in building collaborations across constituent groups to better serve the collecting and sharing of data and ideas.
Goal 4: Provide community opportunities relating to environmental education and awareness
Host events relating to building environmental literacy and awareness in our region.