The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is the industry leader in providing professional development, products, and support services related to the Project Based Learning (PBL) teaching and learning methodology. Through this method, K-12 students work on extended projects that engage them in solving real-world problems. They demonstrate their knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills while also focusing on teamwork, confidence, public speaking, and resilience. Projects often involve environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability, pollution, and habitat protection, including one created by the National Environmental Education Foundation and curated by BIE.
This year, BIE gathered 25 prominent educators and representatives of organizations with an interest in PBL at Cavallo Point through the Convene program for their High Quality PBL Steering Committee with the aim to develop guidelines for widespread adoption. The national park lodge and surrounding Fort Baker area created “the sense of being ‘away from it all’ yet not remote from the real world around us,” the BIE organizers said. “The location is one of the main attractions; having the close-up view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the dramatic landscape of the San Francisco Bay gives a sense of importance and ‘world-classness’ to the work we do there. The site and the way the historic buildings have been preserved yet modernized creates a feeling that ‘we are doing some historic work here.’ Being able to stroll the grounds amid the scenery gives participants in events the opportunity for reflection and contemplation.”
High-Quality PBL Steering Committee at Cavallo Point (Photo Credit: BIE)
While PBL is gaining awareness and acceptance, there is a concern that quick growth without focus could dilute the marketplace and effectiveness of a proven method. As such, BIE hopes to facilitate the development of PBL implementation guidelines to be used by teachers, schools, districts and states, other countries, education support organizations, curriculum providers, and researchers. While this is just the first step of their 4-year strategic plan, the group meeting at Cavallo Point generated initial ideas for defining the characteristics that must be present for a project to be deemed “high quality”. By Spring 2018, BIE hopes to finalize the guidelines and publish them on a website accessible to the public.
The Institute at the Golden Gate was happy to provide an inspiring backdrop for BIE’s important work. The Convene program offers special discounted rates to non-profit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues and runs annually from November through April. Learn more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.
The Nature Conservancy, established in 1951, has a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. With such a mission, Cavallo Point – the Lodge at the Golden Gate was the perfect place to host their latest team retreat for the Office of the Chief Scientist. Through the Convene program–the Institute’s partnership with Cavallo Point–we aim to ensure that this national park lodge is available and affordable to organizations addressing important issues around the environment and sustainability.
With a focus on science ranging from agriculture and climate to marine life and urban conservation, The Nature Conservancy’s more than 600 scientists, researchers, analysts, and innovators are an integral part of the organization’s work to protect the planet. This past December’s meeting allowed a small portion of this group, the Office of the Chief Scientist, to gather and train their team, set global strategy for the coming year, and socialize in a relaxed setting. Retreat attendees work all over the world using decision science tools from economics and applied mathematics to formulate and solve conservation problems in the real world. Gathering the group at Cavallo Point proved to be the perfect central location: close to an international airport, easy and quick to get to, and a great backdrop for a conservation-focused organization.
Cavallo Point lies within Fort Baker, encompassing 335 acres around a cove north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The area provides miles of coastal and inland trails, diverse flora and fauna, and a mix of historic and modern, eco-friendly structures. “The natural setting was amazing and perfect for our group!” Sarah-Kate Weaver, Executive Coordinator for the Office of the Chief Scientist said. “Our team members loved being able to connect with nature. We went for a beautiful hike, and people were able to go for morning and evening walks on their own to get out in nature. On the very first day folks excitedly reported seeing a coyote, fish, many kinds of birds, and seals! We were blown away by the Lodge. The rooms were beautiful with incredible views of the bridge and city. We were very impressed with the professionalism and responsiveness of the staff.”
The Convene program’s discounted rate period runs annually from November through April, providing an affordable and beautiful meeting place for non-profit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues. Learn more about the Convene program, how your group may qualify, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.