K-12 educators will be studying economic principles from a unique perspective during theEconomic, Environment and Educationworkshop July 23-28 at West Virginia University.

The West Virginia forest products industry will provide areal worldsetting for these teachers to learn economic fundamentals and then use this knowledge to bring economic concepts into courses for their students.

By combining visits to lumbering, processing and manufacturing sites, the teachers get to see the economic principles they have learned in the classroom actually demonstrated,said Russell Sobel, James Clark Coffman distinguished chair and professor of economics at the WVU College of Business and Economics. He is the lead instructor of the course, which was developed by the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.

This program, in addition to providing crucial economics education, shows teachers how important the forest products industry is to West Virginia from an economic perspective,said Joseph McNeel, director of the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources

Designed for K-12 educators with little or no previous background in economics, this graduate level workshop is an intense 6-day summer session running from Sunday, July 23, to Friday, July 28, with a two-day session in November when the teachers will give presentations on economics curriculum they have developed for their students.

The topics Dr. Sobel covers in the course include how incentives influence human behavior and natural resource decisions; the role of free markets in coordinating economic activity; solving environmental problems with market-based approaches and property rights; and major sources of entrepreneurship, economic growth and progress

We truly appreciate the tremendous support given to this program by the forest products industry in West Virginia over the last 16 years. Their support has consistently made this program a real successand a tremendous experience for our teachers,McNeel said.

This summer, the participants will be learning on-site at MeadWestvaco Land Management operations near Elkins; Bruce Hardwood Flooring Plant in Beverly; The Trus-Joist facility in Heaters; and NewPage Paper Mill in Luke, Md..

One of the highlights of the workshop is a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27, at the WVU Meadwestvaco Natural Resources Center at the WVU Forest. This years topic isAn Industry in Peril: Three Issues that Threaten the Future of the Forest Products Industry in West Virginia.

Panelists will include Richard Waybright, West Virginia Forestry Association; Stuart Moss, WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources; David Goddard and

Gregory Goodykuntz of Steptoe&Johnson PLLC ; and Donna Reckart, Allegheny Wood Products. They will be speaking on workmans compensation, severance and business taxes, and flood litigation.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited and those interested in attending are requested to contact Alana Buracchio, WVU Division of Forestry&Natural Resources, 304-293-2941, ext. 2403, to make reservations.

Any West Virginia K-12 educator who is interested in participating in next years economics workshop should contact Donna DeWitt, Division of Forestry&Natural Resources, 304-293-2941, ext. 2477 for an application. Three graduate credits are awarded upon completion of the program.