Appalachian Basin

OOGEEP Science Teacher Workshop Heads to Belmont

Last week, EID-Ohio had a second opportunity to attend the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) Teacher Workshop.  The workshops began fourteen years ago a midst a growing concern that children weren’t growing up pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  The program was designed to help facilitate science teachers across the state (as well as a few from across the border) in gaining and understanding of the history, geology and science involved in oil and gas development.  To date, more than 2,800 teachers have gone through the two-day workshop.

Not only do teachers gain valuable information and materials to take back to the classroom, but they also earn their CEU credits and have the option to receive graduate credit from Ashland University upon completion.  Better still – the program is free!

This workshop took place at the Belmont Harrison Career Technical Center in St. Clairesville.  The first day of the workshop included informational sessions and hands on activities meant to educate teachers on curriculum they can bring back to the classroom.  Teacher consultants helped develop the workshop’s curriculum, so it would meet and exceed state and national standards.  The program’s participants received classroom supplies, lesson plans, and other educational materials to bring back to their classroom.   At the end of the first day, the teachers were able to join a networking reception with other teachers from around the state.

Day two was field trip day (who doesn’t still get excited for a field trip).  For this trip, teachers we able to visit three different wells under the direction of Scott Talmage, President of Northwood Energy, Inc.

First, the group hopped on the bus to a vertical well to get a sense of how older producing wells look and work:

Next, the group ventured to a completed Marcellus horizontal well:

The last stop led the groups to a Utica Shale vertical test well that was also completed.  The group was surprised to see how small of a footprint the completed well will take up once the area is reclaimed.  I got a chance to take a picture by the completed well to show that even someone of small stature is bigger than the well’s footprint!

Along the way, EID-Ohio got a chance to talk to a few teachers to find out how valuable the workshops really are.  Teacher Anna Schack talked about the wealth of information she could bring back to students:

The information we get about energy, the hands on activities, the on-site locations… all these experiences we have, we can take back to the classroom—Anna Schack (1:30)

Pat Holman and Kecia Stewart-Slob both emphasized how important this experience is for explaining the environmental impact to their students and how the information will be helpful in various science disciplines:

That’s why it’s great for me, because I’m like ‘Oh there’s a lot of stuff here I could use in my class’.  And I have a lot of trouble getting into some of these things, so just the stations and the way they presented it… it helps me to get an idea of how to get into it and help my students understand it—Kecia Stewart-Slob (1:11)

Jill Johnson touched on how this experience has helped her realize the difference between the reality of the oil and gas industry and what is discussed in the media.  She explained that she looks forward to explaining the difference to her students:

I had no idea Ohio had such a huge wealth of oil and gas and the job potential for the students. And for students that don’t want to go to college but maybe just vocational or a trade school and the career opportunities for them… it’s so impressive, this trip has been very worthwhile—Jill Johnson (:38)

As usual, the workshop was well attended and, as Jill Johnson said, “very worthwhile”. Each of the teachers are excited about the information they can bring back to their students.  They learned about the incredible opportunities shale development is bringing to Ohio, including jobs for when their students graduate.


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