The Midwest Environmental Education Conference begins today (Wednesday) on the campus of North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. Conference spokeswoman Carol Schutte says organizers hope to draw people from all over the Midwest to discuss environmental issues. There’s a series of fifty concurrent sessions, professionals in their fields presenting sustainable energy, hot topics in education, stewardship, ecology in the dustbowl days and even “superconductivity — trends in new energy.” Schutte says one of the goals of the conference is to promote sustainability in our future. She says they hope to make people understand there are better ways to live that are more gentle on the earth. She hopes the conference can teach people the consequences of our use of energy and natural resources, and alternatives that are available. Schutte says in addition to looking at alternative energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind energy, the conference will have lots of information on growing organic food. There are sustainable-ag field trips, meals will feature organic foods, and they’ll hear about chemicals and toxins from a keynote speaker Thursday morning. The organizers hope to promote use of fewer chemicals as a sustainable plan. Schutte says there are a number of interesting keynote speakers on the conference’s agenda. World-renown photographer and author Tim Palmer from Montana has paddled over 300 rivers and just got back from Alaska, she says. Lisa and John Kiverist of Wisconsin are well-known in sustainable living circles. Chad Pregracke, who’s gotten national attention for his work, cleans up the Mississippi. The conference runs Wednesday through Saturday. For more information about the conference, you can look at their website at