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Nearly 200 people from almost 40 countries are gathering in Bozeman, Mont. this week to discuss how education can lead to sustainable solutions for global water issues. The Sustaining the Blue Planet: Global Water Education Conference kicked off Monday with a Sponsors’ Reception and will continue through Friday. General sessions and interactive workshops will explore innovations in water education; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); technology and water education; water education in corporate sustainability; and more.
"The Sustaining the Blue Planet conference has attracted a wonderfully diverse group to Bozeman," said Dennis Nelson, the CEO and president of the Project WET Foundation, the nonprofit organization that is sponsoring the conference. "We are excited to welcome so many prominent leaders and are looking forward to productive discussions that lead to future action on pressing global water issues."
NASA Educator Astronaut Ricky Arnold, Harvard University Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Dr. Frank Hu and Danish actress and humanitarian Connie Nielsen are among the featured speakers. Arnold will present the conference’s opening lecture, providing his view of the "Blue Planet" from space. Dr. Hu — along with researchers from the International Chair on Cardio-metabolic Risk (ICCR) — will present the results of new research about hydration and childhood obesity on Thursday. Nielsen — who stars in the new Starz drama Boss opposite Kelsey Grammer — will discuss her work on sustainable sanitation solutions with the Human Needs Project in the dense, informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya.
Other presenters and participants represent international organizations like UNESCO and UN Habitat, multinational corporations including Intel, Microsoft, Google, Nestlé Waters and Abbott, government agencies such as NOAA and NASA, and primary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities both in the United States and abroad. The Project WET Foundation will also unveil its new Project WET Curriculum & Activity Guide, Generation 2.0 and accompanying teacher portal as well as its new web experience for children, DiscoverWater.org. Evening events include the launch of the "Discover the Waters of Our National Parks" project (a new partnership between the National Park Service and Project WET), the One World, One Water lecture and a closing Call to Action, which will be combined with a traditional Montana feast and live music.