College Wins Large Grant
(From Wofford Press Release- April, 2012)
S.C. - An innovative three-year initiative, "Thinking Like a River,"
that aims to shape a culture of sustainability centered on local waters
by offering unique, hands-on experiences with area rivers for students,
faculty and area residents, has been announced by Wofford College.
Wofford's environmental studies program, directed by Dr. Kaye Savage,
has received a $383,000 grant from the Margaret A. Cargill (MAC)
Foundation to fund the initiative that will bring the college community
together with local citizens to "comprehend, celebrate and create an
enduring culture of sustainability on rivers." The project will
integrate perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences and
humanities and arts in experiential learning environments to connect,
protect and reflect on rivers. The grant proposal was drafted by B.G.
Stephens, professor of chemistry emeritus, and Dr. Terry A. Ferguson,
associate professor of environmental studies and sociology and senior
researcher for Wofford's Goodall Environmental Studies Center .
The grant was announced Tuesday, April 24, at the Santee Cooper Lecture
Series on Sustainability and Energy Issues in which award-winning
environmental writer and photographer Tim Palmer spoke.
"Rivers in the South have always worked hard for a living, and we
in environmental studies hope that the MAC Foundation funding of the
'Thinking Like a River' initiative will help raise the watershed
consciousness of our community," says John Lane, associate professor of
environmental studies and English and director of the Goodall Center.
"Thinking Like a River" encompasses three central components - a
floating seminar series, a curriculum designed to encourage and engage
visitors at the Goodall Center, and a Fellows program.
The floating seminar series will engage Wofford students and faculty,
Spartanburg area teachers and the initiative's Fellows in river
exploration and investigation. The river experiences will incorporate
readings, discussion, interviews with watershed residents and
stakeholders, journaling, and site analysis. The series will include
one- and two-day float trips during regular semester courses and three-
to five-day float trips during the summer. Interim term experiences
during January, which will be funded separately from the grant, will
use longer trips.
The Goodall Center is located on the Lawson's Fork Creek in Glendale,
S.C., which has a fascinating geologic, prehistoric and historic past.
Combined with the modern river environment and dawning revitalization
of the area, the potential for outreach is tremendous, Lane says. "We
will install instrumentation and draw attention to natural and social
history in order to facilitate development of educational activities
for adults and K-16 students." The plan also includes hiring an
To create a culture of watershed appreciation and protection, community
leaders must know about what threatens the health of rivers, and why
people love them, Savage notes. "The Fellows program will invite
citizens, including business leaders, governmental representatives, and
nonprofit representatives as well as Wofford alumni, to spend a year
participating in the floating seminars and other events. The Fellows
will develop projects to improve awareness of rivers and water quality."
"Although the 'Thinking Like a River' initiative is a three-year
effort, the work that we do will have lasting impact through the
development of leadership and education at all levels," Savage
continues. "Materials relating to the new curriculum, as well as
concrete resources, such as a stream gauge, weather station, herbarium,
'dam cam,' gear, and data, will remain in use for years to come."
Dr. David S. Wood, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean
of the college, says, "The MAC Foundation has recognized the important
and innovative work our faculty has launched in our environmental
studies program, and they have done so in a dramatic manner. Their
support will enhance the experiences we provide for our students while
having a high impact on our local community, our region, and, most
importantly, our rivers. We are grateful and indebted to them for their
generosity and to our program faculty, Kaye Savage, John Lane and Terry
Ferguson for their energy and creativity. What you see here is
genuinely distinctive and will have a disproportionately positive
impact for all."
The MAC Foundation has supported Wofford's environmental education and
outreach since 2009. Funding from the foundation has been used to
implement a week-long environmental science workshop for middle school
teachers and an environmental writing workshop for students, teachers
and community members.
The MAC Foundation is the legacy of Margaret A. Cargill and was created
at her direction after her death in 2006. Ms. Cargill was the
granddaughter of one of the founders of Cargill Inc., an iconic brand
in agribusiness. The foundation's vision is "dedication to providing
meaningful assistance and support to society, the arts, the
environment, and all living things." The core purpose is providing
assistance and support to enhance the quality of life for children,
families and seniors; prevent and relieve suffering; preserve and
promote the environment and the arts; and encourage and support the
humane treatment of animals.
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person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
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more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.