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The Planet
January/February 1999 Volume 6, Number 1

Sierra Club Training Academy

Masks, Songs, Paper Dresses - They're All Part of the Sierra Club Training Academy

At a retreat center outside Memphis, Tenn., this fall, five Sierra Club volunteers stood in front of the room wearing paper buttons with the message "Hey Y'all, Stop Sprawl."

A woman acting as a reporter conducted an interview thrusting her pen forward like it was a microphone. Her partner filmed the event with an imaginary video camera. Meanwhile, others fanned through the room handing out "Stop Sprawlmart" leaflets scrawled with magic markers.

This was one segment of the Sierra Club Training Academy - an intensive hands-on weekend workshop focused on developing community organizing skills. By the end of November 1998, the Training Academy had completed its second full year of training weekends - empowering hundreds of volunteers and staff to wage, and win, environmental campaigns.

The Training Academy visited 12 locations in 1998 - in Colorado, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, Utah, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, California, North Dakota and Tennessee.

"We are thrilled with the success of the Training Academy," said Mike Arnett, chair of the Training Task Force. "It's exciting to hear from folks who have gone through the training and then put their newly acquired skills to work on conservation campaigns back home."

In 1999, the Training Academy will also add several advanced trainings to the mix.

For more information: Contact Emily McFarland at (415) 977-5535;

Go on to the next article, "Quiz."
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