Heidi LaMoreaux - Personal Geographies

heidi-lamoreaux.jpgHeidi LaMoreaux has played an active role in promoting environmental education and science awareness in California.

Currently the director of the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, her statewide involvement includes working closely with the State Directors of Project WILD (Wildlife in Learning Design), Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), and Project Learning Tree, to improve environmental literacy in California.

LaMoreaux has been on the State Board of Directors for Project Learning Tree for over ten years, and has worked on strategic planning for them. She has also given several formal presentations about her successes in teaching Projects WET, WILD and Learning Tree to university educators in California and Nevada.

LaMoreaux has also helped to revise curriculum and educate teachers in connection with the Point Reyes Field Curricula.

More locally, LaMoreaux is a founding Board Member of the Sonoma County Environmental Discovery Center (EDC), and provides a regular flow of interns from Sonoma State University to the EDC.

She also helped supervise a MA student, Christina McGurk, who created the curriculum for Tolay Lake Regional Park as part of her MA project. McGurk is now the Director of Tolay, and helps kids infuse movement and nutrition into their lives through outdoor experiences.

LaMoreaux also provides interns for Tolay Lake Regional Park. Hundreds of elementary school children attend field trips at the EDC and Tolay Lake Regional Park each year.

She has also recently become involved in the Sonoma County Science Fair by giving the keynote speech in 2010, by volunteering at the Science Fair and the Science Olympiad, and by connecting interested student volunteers from Sonoma State University with both the Science Fair and the Science Olympiad through independent study projects.

She has also given many presentations of a "Nature and Art" workshop, always involving Sonoma State Students as co-presenters, at the "Expanding Your Horizons" conference for middle school girls. She has given numerous presentations to elementary school children on science and the environment.

Last summer, LaMoreaux brought her interdisciplinary research to the community by teaching a free workshop titled "LifeCore Workshop: Where Personal History Meets Natural History" wherein participants created core diagrams of their life experiences as a springboard to memoir writing.

At Sonoma State, Dr. LaMoreaux has also overseen many Hutchins students' science curriculum projects as part of LIBS 342, Independent Science Project. She has also created diverse scientific field experiences for hundreds of students.

LaMoreaux also created a class which has certified over 100 future and current educators in Project WILD, Project WILD Aquatic, Project WILD Science and Civics, Project WILD's Growing Up WILD (for early childhood learners), Project WILD Taking Action (a service learning program), Project WET, Project Learning Tree K-8, Project Learning Tree Greenworks! (a service learning program) and Project Learning Tree's Environmental Experiences for Young Children.

One of her projects in this course is a "scientific autobiography" which helps students to assess their science education and address fears about teaching science. She has found that students leave the class excited about teaching environmental science to their future students.

LaMoreaux melds her interests in geography, natural history, personal history, art and creative writing in her classes at SSU and the Santa Rosa Junior College.

innergeographies.jpgOne class, titled "Inner Geographies,"is the subject of an art exhibit at the Santa Rosa Junior College Library from now until Dec. 4. The course helps students explore their personal history within the context of earth science concepts. They create a LifeCore diagram by connecting scientific principles to their life experiences.

Thinking about periods of personal history as layers in a sediment core or tree core creates unique spaces for creative exploration, she says. For more information about her interdisciplinary research, visit www.innergeographies.com.

LaMoreaux earned a BS and MS from the University of Utah (BS 1990, MS 1991) and a Ph.D. from University of Georgia (1999). All are in geography. She also has minors in geology and archaeology.

The ideas behind Inner Geographies are coming out in a scholarly book entitled Creativity and Entrepreneurship: Changing Currents in Education and Public Life by Lynn Book and David Phillips (Edward Elgar Press.) Her chapter is titled "Natural history meets personal history: Clorpt, cores and reference slides."

This year, she was a runner up for the Excellence in Teaching award by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

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