Friday, September 6, 2013

A Transatlantic Network to Enhance Environmental and Animal Health Education in the Baltic Region

Increasing public concern about environmental health is paralleled by a strong demand by students for related educational programs. Unfortunately, this demand in many universities has not always been matched by available
university curricula.

Developed jointly by the Envirovet Baltic (EB), a scientific network consisting of the nine countries bordering the Baltic Sea and the USA, and the Baltic University Programme (BUP), one of the most well developed educational networks in the world, the program in Ecosystem Health and Sustainable Agriculture (EHSA), was initiated in 2005 to develop a new series of university courses in ecosystem health and sustainable agriculture for universities in Baltic Sea and Great Lakes regions. These two regions face similar environmental protection challenges and needs for improvement of environmental health education.

The Baltic University Programme (BUP) is a network of 190 universities and institutions of higher education in the Baltic Sea region. The program, founded in 1991 at Uppsala University, Sweden, operates by producing courses on sustainable development, studies of the region, its environment and its political changes. In a given year, the BUP network delivers courses in more than 100 universities serving nearly 9,500 undergraduate and graduate students. The Envirovet Baltic was founded in 2001 on an initiative of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, and the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Uppsala with scientists from universities in the Baltic Sea region.

The development and production of texts for the EHSA courses was made possible with funding from the Swedish International Development Authority, with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Swedish Institute, European Union Center and Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hewlett Foundation, private donors, Baltic University Programme and EnviroVet Baltic contributing.

The textbooks were produced by Baltic University Press and include contributions by authors from 17 countries, making it truly an international effort. The three texts include 122 chapters on topics ranging from agro-tourism and management of manure to landscape services and infectious diseases.  The three-book series is entitled Ecosystem Health and Sustainable Agriculture, with the individual volumes focusing on Sustainable Agriculture, Ecology and Animal Health, and Rural Development and Land Use. Hard copies of the books in English can be purchased through the Baltic University Programme at the BUP Webshop (http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/webshop/). Free PDFs of the chapters can be downloaded at http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/index.php/teaching-materials.

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