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Enrollment opens for lignite education seminar

Registration is now open for the Lignite Energy Council's 34th Annual Lignite Education Seminar: Energy, Economics and Environment. The four-day seminar gives elementary, middle and high school teachers in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Iowa a first-hand look at North Dakota's fifth largest industry — lignite mining and related energy production. The seminar will be June 10—13 at Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence, Bismarck.

School administrators and teachers from all grade and subject levels should apply before April 12, but the earlier the better as the seminar fills up fast, said Kay LaCoe, Lignite Energy Council director of membership marketing.

"This year's seminar will have a greater focus on the future of the industry, including such things as electric vehicles and new markets to add value to the state's vast lignite reserves," she said.

LaCoe said the seminar remains popular with teachers because the Lignite Energy Council pays for two professional development graduate credits if the teachers attend and complete a lesson plan. The teachers also hear from a variety of presenters and spend a day touring an active lignite mine and power plant.

Teachers who attend and complete a lesson plan can choose from one of three North Dakota institutions from which to receive their graduate credits: University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University and Minot State University.

The seminar provides instruction on history, geology, land reclamation, environmental protection and economics of the lignite industry, the need for more workers, energy conservation and transmission. Teachers will take home handouts, videos, coal samples and activities that can be used in the classroom.

The online application for teachers is available at

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Lignite Energy Council is a regional trade association representing North Dakota lignite producers, electric utilities and more than 260 businesses providing goods and services to the mines and plants.