April 6, 2015
Paul Morgan, professor of Professional and Secondary Education at West Chester University, has been elected chair of the board of directors for the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER). The organization is dedicated to conserving the Amazon rainforest through life-transforming experiential learning opportunities and field-based research. Work undertaken through ACEER has resulted in the discovery of new species and medicines.
Morgan is the University's director of undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in education for sustainability. He is a member of the University Sustainability Advisory Council and the faculty advisor for the University's environmental organization, E.A.R.T.H. as well as the University's second Sustainability Coordinator.
The University has had a longstanding relationship with ACEER, which manages education and environmental projects in Peru and the United States. The organization moved its U.S. headquarters to WCU in 2003, and Morgan became involved in 2007 when he traveled to Peru with a group of students on a spring break trip. A few years later, he joined the board of the organization and has remained an active member.
"Without more education and research, we will not understand, appreciate or conserve the Amazon rainforest. It's that simple," Morgan says.
ACEER's flagship programs include the University Outreach Program (college level training courses in Peru) and the AMIGOS Partnership for Education, which links U.S. and Amazon schools, provides learning materials to Amazon children as well as teacher training on conservation education, and support for community service projects such as clean water and medical missions.
Morgan was ACEER's official observer at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP20) in Lima, Peru, in December 2012. That year, he also led students on an environmental education trip through ACEER's Institute for Emerging Sustainability Leaders on Education for Sustainability. The institute, which is partially funded by the National Geographic Society and TriVita, Inc., brings emerging leaders in business, science, healthcare and education together in the Andes and Amazon regions of Peru to address global issues.
From July 6 to 17, Morgan will again lead an institute delegation/study tour to Peru for students, educators and professionals in the field of sustainability as well as individuals interested in developing a broader perspective on climate change.
He was awarded the 2014 Gene Wilson Award by the Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating the community on climate change.
Morgan earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois and his doctorate from Columbia University. He teaches sustainability education as well as Honors classes and his scholarly work is devoted to exploring the historical precedents, philosophical rationale, and practical means of reorienting educational institutions toward sustainability. He joined the WCU faculty in 1999.