Ball Raises Environmental Awareness
The controversy over global warming has helped the environment become a hot topic. And that fact is helping Nadine Ball, Ed.D., associate professor of education at Maryville University, raise the profile of a statewide organization for which she is serving as president during 2007.
Ball is three months into her term at the helm of the Missouri Environmental Education Association, an affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education. She is working with a 13-member board to raise the stature of the MEEA, whose mission is to promote environmental education in elementary and secondary schools across the state. “During my tenure, I want to capitalize on the fact that there are conversations taking place regarding the environment,” she remarked.
A longtime environmentalist, Ball said the time is right for educators to join with communities, business and government in fostering environmental, economic and social health in the State of Missouri. “Our capacity to connect people, ideas and resources positions us to play a vital role in the coming years,” Ball commented. “Our commitment to promote an environmentally literate citizenry can ensure that emerging trends in education and environment benefit our local communities as well as those across the state.”
A former eighth-grade science teacher in the Parkway School District and a Maryville faculty member since 1997, Ball says the MEEA is well positioned to reinforce the importance of environmental education as science testing will be mandated in coming years, adding to current tests for communication arts and math. “We are starting to understand that environmental education can be a tool in outcome-based education,” she said.
Ball is leading by example by chairing the Sustainability Task Force at Maryville, comprised of faculty, staff and students. The group meets monthly to chart what progress has been made and what future projects are planned to make the University as environmentally friendly as possible.
Ball said that compared to similar organizations across the nation, the MEEA is in the middle of the pack in terms of its effectiveness and size. “In some ways, we’re better than others,” she commented. “We have a strategic plan and some long-range goals, which is more than some groups have.” Among their goals is the planning of a conference for this fall. “Our theme will be literacy in recognition that educators emphasize literacy in reading, math, science and environment,” she remarked.
Ball said the MEEA is more concerned, at this point, with generating conversations about environmental concerns, as opposed to the substance of the conversations. “All views are welcome; all voices become part of our experience,” she said. “Our goal is helping people find the answers that best suit the communities where they live.”
Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.
Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.