Thursday, January 23rd 2014, 4:30-5:30 pm Central Time (5:30-6:30 pm Eastern). Course and Participant Introductions. In-person opening class at partner sites. Introduction to class and to fellow participants at same site, review of course syllabus, discussion of progress with Earth Partnership projects, and introduction to webinar software. The first portion of this class will be a review of the course syllabus. Course coordinator Steve Laubach from the UW-Madison Arboretum EPS office will begin by demonstrating how to access a webinar and offering suggestions for how to have a successful webinar experience. Please bring a laptop if possible (or work with someone who does once you arrive) so you can practice accessing a webinar. The goal of today's class is to get every participant comfortable with the technology and able to contribute to online discussion sessions. Past experience has shown that, just like good classroom teaching, interactive webinars are far more successful than webinars that involve a passive lecture.

For the second part of this class, participants will take turns sharing a picture that includes them and shows in some way how they connect with nature. Email your photo and a description of it to course coordinator Steve Laubach ( by January 20, 2014. He will organize photos into a powerpoint and ask participants to share their story as their photo is shown (the powerpoint will also be posted on this wiki page). The purpose of this part of the class is to personalize a medium that can otherwise be isolating. Due to the estimated number of participants, each person will have a limited amount of time to describe their photo (1 minute).

For future webinars, beginning on Thursday February 6th, participants can join from home or work but are asked to find a location that is quiet in order to prevent background noise from distracting other listeners. Listeners are also asked to refrain from doing other activities while listening to the webinar (e.g., filling the dishwasher or grading papers) in order to give your full attention to the conversation taking place.