2017 Place-Based Education Conference

November 9 – November 11, 2017

Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan








The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative invites you to join us for the 6th annual Place-Based Education Conference. Come experience a three day conference designed to inspire and support a community of educators around the power of place-based learning.

Come explore best practices and ways to engage students through meaningful discovery of their own communities and environments.

Who should attend? K-12 educators, informal educators, university faculty and students and community organizations.

The 2017 Place-Based Education Conference is hosted by Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition at Eastern Michigan University. (We’re proud to partner with the Washtenaw County Solid Waste Division to ensure that this year’s Place-based Education Conference is a ZERO-WASTE event!)

Meet our speakers


Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., a professor in Geography at the University of Kentucky, is a writer, performer and cultural geographer deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity, and resilience. She explores how issues of difference impact participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues and likes to trouble our theoretical and methodological edges that shape knowledge production and determine whose knowledge counts. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action. Carolyn has appeared on the Tavis Smiley show, MSNBC, and NPR, serves on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board and released her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors in 2014 (UNC Press).


Known as a teacher of teachers, Dr. Rosanne Fortner is a retired professor of environmental science education from The Ohio State University and a former middle school science teacher. In her 27 years at OSU she taught environmental communications and education to undergraduates and graduate students on campus, and Great Lakes interdisciplinary sciences for educators at F.T. Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie. From a position as a project investigator, she coordinated the Ohio Sea Grant Education Program until 2005.  Additionally. Dr. Fortner was the Director of the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence [COSEE] Great Lakes, a collaboration of the seven Sea Grant Education programs in the region, with NSF and Sea Grant support from 2006-2011. With her assistance, the scientists and educators of that program developed the Great Lakes Literacy Principles. She is currently Co-Chair of the Oak Island Beach Preservation Society at her retirement home in North Carolina.


Julia taught for five years in Detroit, including serving as writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Magazine program. As a teenager, she was Detroit Summer’s first volunteer, later taking a leadership role. Julia wrote a regular column on education (“Learning for Life”) for the Michigan Citizen, which has been required reading at major Michigan universities. She attended the National Principals Leadership Institute as an Excellent Schools Detroit fellow in 2013 and was the keynote speaker at Eastern Michigan University’s 2014 Eco-Justice Conference. In 2015, Julia served as a member of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren.  As the Principal of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School in Detroit, Julia works with teachers, parents, and students on developing and maintaining positive school culture and ambitious instruction.


Reserve your room at a special conference rate of $129 (double or single) at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.
Book a room online or call 734-487-2000 and mention the discount code 

Meals and events are included with full conference pass.

Claim Your Spot Today!

Full Conference Pass

  • full conference access
  • events and meals

Student Rate

  • Full conference access
  • Limited availability


TRAVELING DIALOGUES are intergenerational discussions that involve visiting different community and school sites to use the "power of the place" to provoke discussion around a powerful question. Space is limited. Stay tuned for more details!

Detroit-focused Traveling Dialogue
8-4 pm Thursday | $55

Ypsilanti-focused Traveling Dialogue
Thursday afternoon & Friday morning and afternoon | $40

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