My guest today is Dr. Déana Scipio. Her career has focused on broadening the participation of non-dominant youth in rich meaningful learning, with a focus on environmental education. She's currently Director of Graduate and Higher Education Programming at IslandWood. If you’ve never heard of IslandWood - you’ll have to do some digging either before or after listening to this episode. It is a residential environmental education nonprofit that offers programming in the Seattle region for people of all ages. The goal of IW is to deepen people’s understanding of the world around them and, in turn, help people understand the impact they can have on their environment. The IslandWood campus is a place that supports learning in ways that are much more expansive than how schools are designed today. If you step on campus, you’ll find students exploring a bog, climbing a tree house, working in gardens, or gathering in a floating classroom; indoors, you’ll see students work in the wet lab or at art studio. Through their exploration in this expansive place, students are learning about science, math, art and social studies – as it is situated, expressed, and manifested in nature. I found myself wanting to bring my family there so I could experience Island Wood first hand!
In our conversation today, Dé unpacks what I see as the theory of action that underlies the graduate programming that she directs at Island Wood – and how intersectionality, positionality, and humility are pivotal to shifting the graduate students view of themselves, their environment, and their students – all in support of environmental justice. We talk about her personal and professional experience– as a student at Island Wood, as a graduate student, museum educator, director, and daughter and sister – all contribute to the vision of learning that she aspires to support at Island Wood. The one word I kept coming back to long after the interview was conducted was liminality – the ability to move across boundaries and spaces. It perfectly encapsulates Dé – and that word reminded me that we need to push on the disciplinary silos that we often feel constrained to when we study and support learning.
As always, email us with your comments and questions. The source materials will be linked in episode description. Our email is HumansLSpod@gmail.com.
Bell, P., Tzou, C., Bricker, L., & Baines, A. D. (2012). Learning in diversities of structures of social practice: Accounting for how, why and where people learn science. Human Development, 55(5–6), 269–284.
Thompson, J., Mawyer, K., Johnson, H., Scipio, D., & Luehmann, A. (2021). From Responsive Teaching Toward Developing Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Science Teaching Practices.
About IslandWood: https://vimeo.com/310153084 and https://vimeo.com/695819281
Hayhoe, K. (2021). Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World. Atria/One Signal Publishers.