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Power company sponsoring teachers for seminar

FERGUS FALLS – Otter Tail Power Company will sponsor up to 10 educators from its Minnesota and South Dakota service area to attend the 2013 Lignite Teacher Education Seminar: Energy, Economics and Environment in June.

The company said it will pay all expenses, including seminar fees, meals and travel costs for the seminar June 17-20 at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the campus of Bismarck (N.D.) State College.

The seminar, in its 28th year, provides participants with a broad understanding of the lignite coal industry, how lignite coal is mined and converted into energy, and the important role it plays in producing electricity for homes, farms and businesses in the Upper Midwest.

The seminar includes presentations by educators, researchers, and lignite industry representatives on topics that are important to the region, such as the economic impact of the industry, environmental issues, career opportunities and the need for more workers, energy conservation, and electric transmission. Besides lectures and classroom activities, one day is devoted to touring lignite mining operations, reclamation sites, and coal conversion facilities. Additionally, teachers will take home lecture outlines, lesson plan examples, classroom exercises, coal and ash samples, audiovisual materials, information about the facilities they tour, and resource guides listing publications and audiovisual materials available for energy education.

Since 1986, more than 2,900 teachers have attended the Lignite Energy Council’s teacher education seminar, and response from past attendees has been overwhelmingly positive.

Otter Tail Power Company is accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis until April 5. Minnesota and South Dakota schools within the company’s service area have received application materials. Teachers also may email Becky Luhning at or call her at (218) 739-8206. Educators of all grade levels and career guidance counselors are eligible to apply.