The Place: Mystic, CT
The Connecticut town of Mystic, named for its location on the Mystic River, was settled in 1654 as a shipbuilding seaport and safe harbor for tall ships to weather a storm. Today is it is a charming New England seaside town lined with mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries. Mystic maintains an old seaport feel that attracts tourists to its rich culture and heritage.
The Project WET Coordinator Conference and Training will be based at the Hyatt Place Mystic, located one mile from Mystic Seaport and close to the Mystic Aquarium and restaurants.
The Theme: Resiliency in the Face of Change
The planet is facing changing weather patterns, increasing water scarcity and frequent environmental threats. How can educators approach these topics and prepare youth to address present and future challenges? This year’s conference will focus on “Resiliency in the Face of Change’” as the theme of talks and trainings. It will feature field experiences to the Mystic Aquarium and Project Oceanology, where experts will speak about local and global environmental changes. Trainings and presentations will focus on how to improve educational programs and include resiliency in inquiry-based education. This includes:
- Ocean Literacy and Resilience
- Water and Food
- Sustainability Topics
- Extreme Weather
- Green Design and Planning
- Drought and Floods
- Water Access and Human Needs
The connection between food and water is becoming an increasingly important subject. With the release of Project WET’s new KIDs booklet, “Water, Agriculture and Food”, the topic will also run through the conference.
September 10: New Coordinator Training. This all-day training allows any coordinators who are new to or unfamiliar with running their own network of facilitators to learn with Project WET staff and experienced coordinators. Like any Project WET training, it is an interactive and hands-on session.
The opening dinner will take place on the evening of September 10th. Details TBD.
September 11: USA Coordinators’ Network Meeting. These sessions are for Project WET coordinators only. This is time to discuss your program with other coordinators and Project WET Foundation staff, learn what is happening at the Project WET Foundation and help shape the future of Project WET over the next year.
The day will be divided into two parts, with a field experience at the Mystic Aquarium
in the morning and content sessions and trainings in the afternoon. Local guest speakers may also be included as part of this day. Content sessions in the afternoon are open to anyone.
Open to anyone, these sessions share presentations and activities submitted by participants and vetted by the conference planning committee. The field experience with Project Oceanology
will allow participants to be part of a local environmental education program in the area while learning about local resilience in the face of change on Long Island Sound.
Closing dinner will be the evening of September 13th. Details TBD.
Cost and Logistics
The cost for Project WET USA Coordinators to attend the entire conference is $400 for Early Bird Registration and includes most meals. (Registration after July 20th will cost $480). The cost to attend the open sessions on September 12th and 13th is $200 and includes lunch, the session with Project Oceanology and the closing dinner. Download a full agenda with a schedule of meals under Documents.
- Early Bird Registration Deadline is July 20, 2018.
- Final deadline for registration is August 1, 2018.
Cancellation policy: Cancellations are available for a full refund through August 3, 2018. No refunds for cancellations after August 3, 2018.
Lodging is not included but has been negotiated at a rate of $129 per night. Participants must book their own rooms at the Hyatt Place Mystic by calling 1-888 HYATT HP (1-888-492-8847) or booking online at Hyatt.com
using the group/corporate code G-PWET.
Reservations must be made by August 7th
in order to recieve this group rate.
The Project WET Foundation will offer conference scholarships for conference registration ($400) to two coordinators. Scholarships will be awarded to at least one new coordinator (of less than 3 years) who needs to attend to the New Coordinator Training and at least one existing coordinator who is active on a WETteam(s). Preference will be given to applicants who are presenting or needing to attend the New Coordinator Training. Applications are closed-- Scholarships were awarded in May.
The best airport options for getting to Mystic are Hartford, CT or Providence, RI. Both are roughly one hour from Mystic. Transportation from the Hartford airport will be provided by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). Participants will need to confirm their flight schedule and transportation with Project WET before the conference.
Another option is to fly into Boston, which is roughly 2 hours from Mystic; however, traffic is often unpredictable, so travel time could end up being much longer. Amtrak also has a train that runs from Boston through Providence to Mystic. There is no supplied transportation from Boston.
About the Off-site Sessions
Mystic Aquarium offers inquiry-based, hands-on learning to educate the youth and the general public about aquatic animals and ocean life. With a long-standing commitment to conservation, the mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. The Mystic Aquarium is located with walking distance of the Hyatt Place Mystic.
As an internationally recognized organization, Project Oceanology uses inquiry-based learning and field experiences on the water to teach 4th to 12th graders about the ocean and the animals that live in it. With over 40 years as New England’s premier marine science education program it is sure to help conference participants enhance their own professional development programs and improve classroom teaching related to marine biology.
During the morning session participants will embark on Project Oceanology’s Enviro-Lab Research Vessel to head out to the Long Island Sound to learn marine science, aquaculture and shoreline actions in the field. Those participants not wanting to be on a boat may stay at the lab for hands-on science experiences. After lunch (provided at the center) conference presenters will share their knowledge during content sessions at the waterfront Marine Research Facility. For more information on Project Oceanology visit their website at www.oceanology.org.
The featured book for this year is Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by R. A. Scotti
. The 1938 hurricane is the most financially destructive hurricane on record. During the conference references will be made to this book and comparing it to current natural disasters, changing climate and resiliency.
Former journalist and mystery novelist Scotti successfully applies her skills in both genres to this detailed retelling of the 1938 hurricane that ripped across seven Northeastern states and killed 682 people, "the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history—worse than the San Francisco earthquake, the Chicago fire, or any Mississippi flood." Although the enormity of the destruction has been written about before, Scotti focuses on "a few experiences that seem representative of many more" through interviews with hurricane survivors, their families and friends, as well as previously published recollections by survivors, including the late Katharine Hepburn. Scotti's detailed look at the general extent of the hurricane's destruction adds poignancy to individual stories, such as those of Joseph Matoes, who sees his children swept away from their school bus as they are battered by huge waves; Lillian Tetlow and Jack Kinney, two sweethearts who survive a storm that destroys Napatree, R.I., and who later marry; and Charles Pierce, a "green and unsure" junior forecaster for a woefully underprepared U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) who stands against his experienced superiors as the only forecaster to recognize the danger of the hurricane. Scotti also skillfully presents the details of a hurricane, although she reminds us that "after decades of study and with all the technological tools of the trade... we still cannot predict a hurricane more than twenty-four hours in advance."
The Conference is Going Paperless!
This year the conference will mostly paperless. We will be using the event App, Whova
. For more information on what Whova can do click here
. If you do not have a smartphone or tablet you can access the agenda and speakers at this website
. Agendas and speakers will be updated regularly and in real time.
Get Whova Now
Project WET USA Silent Auction
Please bring something to contribute (and your money to bid in the auction!) for the Project WET USA Silent Auction. Proceeds go to providing scholarships for the 2019 Project WET USA Conference—it could be YOU needing a scholarship in 2019! Ideally, we are looking for water and other environmental education-related items (fun and functional) that can be used by educators, but anything to raise money is helpful. Think about bringing a basket representing the best of your state. Let’s make this the best silent auction ever!