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 New Director of PCEE Named; Center Located in Downtown Slippery Rock 



Jan 25, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854;



 SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Kathleen Cowles Paul has been appointed director of the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education at Slippery Rock University, which has relocated to downtown Slippery Rock under SRU’s Division of Lifelong Learning.

Created by the state in 1996 and housed on campus until now, the center increases access to environmental education through service, education and research. Paul replaces SRU’s Dr. Paulette Johnson, professor of parks and recreation/environmental education, who returned full time to the SRU faculty.

The state legislature, which funds the agency, chose the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to run and manage the center. At the suggestion of State Sen. Mary Jo White (R-21st), SRU was chosen to administer the center because it administers McKeever Environmental Learning Center 30 miles north of the university in Sandy Lake.

“That gives us a holistic approach to delivering environmental education across the state,” SRU’s Dr. James Kushner, dean of lifelong learning, said.

Many goals

Paul said goals include making environmental education available to even more teachers, businesses and residents so that stewardship becomes “even more relevant to people’s lives.”

 “Obviously, high-quality and effective environmental education materials need to be readily available to teachers and naturalists,” she said, “but they could also provide critical support to businesses that are struggling to compete in the global marketplace, or township supervisors who have to make important land-use decisions.”

The office has hired a fourth SRU graduate assistant from and will soon hire an educational programs coordinator and communications coordinator.  Priorities include identifying ways to support agencies and organizations that provide environmental education and assessing the educational needs of underserved audiences. 

“Environmental education needs to be in the nature center and in the schoolroom, but it also needs to be available to people in their homes and workplaces,” Paul said. “In the coming year, we will be looking for ways to support and disseminate the educational materials that have already been developed, but we will also be looking for new partners and new opportunities to make environmental education even more relevant to people’s lives.”

Extensive experience

Paul previously served the campus of Penn State Shenango as director of continuing education; Pittsburgh Action Against Rape as director of planning and development and coordinator of education and training; the city of Pittsburgh as supervisor of arts, environmental and community education; and the John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies as coordinator of school and neighborhood-based educational programs in integrated pest management.

           With an undergraduate degree in environmental education from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in adult and community education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Paul has also received extensive training in organizational leadership, development and problem solving to supplement her 25 years of experience.

 Paul believes the center can make a significant contribution to the reputation Pennsylvania enjoys as a cutting-edge provider of environmental education.  For more information call the center at 164 S. Main St., 724-738-9020.

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