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The Center Quarterly
  Winter 2013

working towards realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future through scholarship, education, and action...

RSVP for February 8-9, 2013
Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend

Many readers will recall that last year’s Lecture had to be cancelled due to poet Mary Oliver’s serious illness. She has recovered and the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education is thrilled to announce she will deliver a poetry reading with commentary as the 2013 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture. Oliver is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award recipient and has a new collection of poetry, A Thousand Mornings (2012), from which we expect her to read.

The Lecture will be held on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Saint Michael and All Angels Church on Sanibel Island. The Center will also hold its Ninth Annual Fundraising Celebration the following evening, Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sanibel Island beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer.

The Lecture is free and open to the public, but it is a ticketed event. Reserved seating will be provided for contributors to the Ninth Annual Fundraising Celebration. If you are on our mailing list, there is no need to request an invitation as they will be mailed during the first week of January, 2013. If you prefer to make an end-of-tax-year contribution in 2012, please feel free to do so. We will acknowledge your gift toward the Ninth Annual Fundraising Celebration. Please contact the Center if your mailing address has changed or if you would like to request an invitation for a friend or neighbor. For more information on these events, please feel free to call Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran at (239) 590-7166 or e-mail

Remembering the Legacy of Tim Gardner

Tim Gardner, center, talked with fellow Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Host Committee members November 21 on Sanibel Island.  

It is with much sorrow that the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education has lost a dear friend and active contributor.
Sanibel Island resident Tim Gardner passed away suddenly on November 25, 2012. Tim’s care and commitment to better his surroundings on a local and international scale will be sorely missed.
Tim was an active member of the Host Committee for the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend and offered suggestions at this year’s first committee meeting in November for the 2013 event. We were fortunate to enjoy his good humor and long experience as a member.

Community involvement was an avid pursuit for Tim and he left behind an extensive record of engagements and accomplishments. Nationally, he had been tapped by President Nixon to help organize the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency and played a critical role in the management of fertilizers and pesticides, including the removal of DDT from the American market. Locally, Tim was a Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge Board member, one of the original leaders and President of the Clam Bayou Preservation Association, Vice President of the Bayous Preservation Association, and a member and past President of The Island Water Association. The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) received his volunteer services for more than 20 years, as did the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Loggerhead Turtle program, and he recently volunteered at the 2012 Galloway Captiva Triathlon in September. 

Tim served as the President of the International Osprey Foundation and he made many efforts to secure the preservation and recovery of the osprey, as well as address other environmental concerns on Sanibel Island. He was also a past board member of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. His interest in birds led him to be the coordinator for one of Sanibel’s districts during the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, of which he happily captained fellow observers from a pontoon boat.

Tim was widely recognized for his international accomplishments and local involvement but was a humble man. The Center hopes to honor his memory and the legacy of his pursuits.

Successful Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue

FGCU students and staff learned how to nourish their mind, body and soul through a Student Dialogue on sustainable food on October 8, 2012. The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education held the Seventh Annual Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue to raise awareness about the ethical and health implications behind sustainable food choices and the benefits of utilizing local resources. More than 200 people attended to engage in a passionate discussion about how local and organic food choices can make big impacts on a personal and global scale.

A networking session beforehand allowed 14 local organizations and student groups to share information about their sustainable practices and food systems. Marine science major Anna Larson was happy to learn about fish farms and the positive effects of reducing her meat intake. “I was also interested to see what sustainable food means, other than fruits and veggies,” she said. The Center created a “Guide to Eating Sustainably in Southwest Florida” with resources necessary to make healthy, affordable, and sustainable decisions about food and Larson planned to share its list of farmers markets with her parents.

The interactive event successfully illustrated campus and community interest in the growing, production, consumption, and disposal of food and the overwhelming drive to participate in sustainable practices. This year’s Dialogue was moderated by Center Associate and Instructor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Civic Engagement Brandon Hollingshead, who was instrumental in establishing the first event in honor of Terry Tempest. Food Foresters Club President Kelly Walsh proudly represented the student body during the ‘mind’ segment while Dr. John Edwards, local chiropractor and real-food activist, addressed the physical effects of eating sustainably for the ‘body’ portion of the lecture. Dr. Kris De Welde, Director of General Education and Associate Professor of Sociology, discussed the moral and ethical dimensions of sustainable food systems in the ‘soul’ segment. Dr. De Welde also works closely with the Center as a Senior Faculty Associate.
Together the speakers cohesively explored the ethical, moral, and health components of sustainable food systems and the application of these ideas was further discussed through the question and answer portion of the evening. Dean Mitchell Cordova of the College of Health Professions and Social Work and senior Tyler J. Offerman were designated as the Keynote Listeners for promoting sustainable food choices in the community. Offerman is the first student to have received this honor for his legacy of advocating environmental justice and he encouraged students to value their daily decisions on the matter. He insisted that students and participants dissolve the idea of only being able to affect the issues and structures of food systems in the future, years after graduation, and recognize that all are able to make changes now through their choices and purchasing power. A round of applause for his comments demonstrated the Dialogue’s success in engagement and application.


The Center would like to thank everyone who helped with the event’s achievements. For more information on the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, please emails us at or call (239) 590-7166.

Center Loses a Dear Friend
It is with deep sadness that we mark the loss of a dear friend of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education. On September 20, 2012, Mary Bursley Carter, age 97, passed away peacefully at her summer cottage at Portage Lake, Onekama, Michigan. She is survived by her four children Deborah Carter, Vicky Hurst, Ginger Carter, and Lander Carter, her daughter-in-law, Gretchen, her five grandchildren, and her nine great-grandchildren.

Mary grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She and her brother Gil were educated in Europe and in Michigan; she graduated from the University of Michigan. She spent many years wintering on Sanibel Island before moving there full time. She supported many Island civic, environmental, and artistic initiatives. 

At age 90, she hosted the First Annual Fundraising Celebration of the Center at her home on West Gulf Drive. Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran said, “She was the Center’s first major supporter. She shared our commitment to a humane and sustainable future.” Hurricane Charley destroyed this home. She moved to Cypress Cove, but never missed an Annual Fundraising Celebration at the Haffenreffer’s home.

When asked what advice she would give to university students she said, “Do what you want, eat what you want, drink what you want…whatever you do, have fun doing it!” The Center staff admired her enthusiastic approach to life, her faith, and her wisdom. 

A memorial and celebration will be held next summer at Portage Lake in Michigan on August 3, 2013. 

Center Publication Launched at Rio + 20

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education’s most recent publication, Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change, explores the transition towards sustainability in an age of rapid transformations and development through learning-based innovation. The publication marks the most recent contribution by the Center to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. In the 31-chapter publication, contributing authors from around the world discuss the key environmental and social issues that will encompass the transition towards sustainability.

In the face of global climate change, rapid loss of habitat and biodiversity, and other major threats to the environment at present, Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change seeks to facilitate the transition towards sustainability by addressing these key environmental challenges through learning-based change and education. Moacir Gadotti, Director of Paulo Freire Institute, in São Paulo, Brazil, expressed his praise for the book, commenting, “To change people and to change the world are interdependent processes - this book contributes to both.”

Published in June of this year, the book was launched at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, also known as the Rio+20, where the first copy of the publication was presented to former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. Brundtland first coined the term “sustainable development” in a report entitled Our Common Future that she composed while serving as the Chair to the World Commission on Environment and Development.

Center Director Peter Blaze Corcoran was an editor of the book and he promoted it through international presentations this fall. He launched the book at the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa’s 30th Annual Conference and Workshop at Rhodes University in South Africa and during the International Conference on Innovation, Technology and Internationalization for Sustainability at Universidade Federal do Paraná in Brazil.

Additionally, Dr. Corcoran is working on scholarly writing with a contributor to the book, Yunhua Liu, who is the director for the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities in China. Their focus is on integrating spiritual values, indigenous knowledge and the Earth Charter into environmental education. Dr. Corcoran felt privileged to be working with Yunhua, whom he regards as a leading Chinese scholar on the Earth Charter. The Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles that seeks to inspire a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of Earth’s inhabitants. FGCU is an affiliate of the Earth Charter and the Center enjoys educating people about its purpose and positive impacts through sustainable applications.


We welcome you to visit us as:  


Peter Blaze Corcoran, Director
College of Arts & Sciences 
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, Florida  33965-6565
Telephone: (239) 590-7166
Facsimile: (239) 590-7200

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