"Home is the only ground for hope. Humans once understood and are now remembering that security is found in acting responsibly at home in our neighborhoods, watersheds, and bioregions. Bioregions are complex systems where every being is connected to and interdependent with every other; bioregions are not defined by property lines, state or national boundaries, but by soil, climate, water, terrain, plants, animals, and human cultures and settlements." 1.
So, what is a bioregion? Some think of this bioregion as Cascadia, which includes all the watersheds that drain from the Rocky Mountains into the Pacific Ocean from Northern California to Southeast Alaska. It spans two countries and includes British Columbia, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and adjoining parts of Alaska, Montana, and California. Others define this bioregion more locally, as the coastal forest region west of the crest of the Cascade Mountains, or the Puget Sound basin. Regardless of how we define this bioregion, what is important is to learn about these places where we live.
Working with a steering committee drawn from campuses and community-based projects throughout the Puget Sound region, the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education is engaged in planning an initiative called "Curriculum for the Bioregion." We aim to better prepare college students, as well as ourselves, to live and be engaged in a world where the complex issues of environmental quality, healthy communities, and long-term sustainability are paramount.
Purpose of this inquiry
As we plan this "Curriculum for the Bioregion" initiative, we are listening to faculty, staff, and students on campuses throughout the Puget Sound region. We want to learn what faculty and staff members are doing now with respect to environmental study, community-based learning, and long-term sustainability. Your perspectives are crucial to our planning. We also want to know what you think is needed in the future. We hope this survey will stimulate your thinking, foster discussion, and provide us with advice and ideas about developing this initiative.
This is not a confidential survey because we want to begin a public conversation about teaching and learning both in and on behalf of this region. We would like to know who you are, because we aspire to build a community of practitioners whom we can call upon and whom can call upon us. If we should want to quote you at any point, we will write and ask for your permission. However, if you would like to take this survey anonymously, please do so by omitting your name.
If you have any questions about the "Curriculum for the Bioregion" Initiative, you can contact Jean MacGregor (tel. 360-867-6608 or email@example.com). If you experience any problems as a result of your participation in this survey, you should contact Eddy Brown, Academic Dean, The Evergreen State College, L-2211, Olympia, WA 98505 (tel. 360-867-6972).
1. These paragraphs were adapted from the introduction to the brochure announcing the "9th Continental Bioregional Congress" to be held July 9-17, 2005 in Black Mountain, North Carolina. For future information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org