• Thu, April 11, 2019 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After a detailed review by a committee of EENC life members and board members, we are proud to announce the recipients of EENC's inaugural mini-grant!  These educators are taking on projects ranging from outdoor classrooms to gardens to tools for outdoor learning to racial equity training.

    Congratulations to the awardees:

    • Julie Hall, NC Museum of Natural Sciences- Citizen Science Adventure Backpacks at Prairie Ridge
    • Shannon Unger, Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks-  Racial Equity Training offered by the Racial Equity Institute
    • Leanna Staton, Clay County Soil & Water Conservation - Ag Class Community Project at Hayesville High School
    • Mir Youngquist-Thurow, Agape Center for Environmental Education - Water Quality Abiotic Testing at Agape
    • Diane Mason,  Agape Center for Environmental Education - Monarchs and Milkweed project at Fuquay Varina Elementary Schools
    • Shalyn Yost, Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County - Outdoor Explorers Club
    • Beth Cranford - Durham Community Preschool Tools for Outdoor Learning
    • Katie Lockhart, Town of Garner - Storybook Trail at White Deer Park
    • Jamie Dunleavy, Union County Schools - Outdoor Classroom at Union Academy Charter School

    As our grant recipients finish their projects through the year, we'll be sharing more details and photos of their work.  Stay tuned to see how these EENC members are promoting excellence in environmental education!

  • Fri, March 15, 2019 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    That's the one of the questions your EENC board and staff are trying to address this year.  NC State Parks has designated 2019 the "year of the snake" - but EENC is taking on 2019 as the "year of the member." 

    Beginning in January, the board made a plan to re-evaluate our current member structure and benefits to ensure what we're providing meets the needs of current members as well as like-minded individuals and organizations who are not members yet.  After all, we exist to support you - so we want to make sure we're on target!

    We're working with researchers Dr. Kathryn Stevenson and Dr. K.C. Busch from NC State for a formal assessment of what people in our EE community actually value in a professional organization.

    And we want to increase our active member community by engaging new partners, individuals, and organizations.  We'll have more to come on this - but as the author Richard Louv said at the 2016 EENC conference, to make an impact, "We're gonna need a bigger boat." (Yes, it was a JAWS reference).  There is strength in numbers, and environmental education needs all the support it can get.

    Thanks to the Pisces Foundation who is funding a lot of this work and research via a grant to the Southeastern EE Alliance. 

    Have suggestions or want to get more involved in this?  Contact Lauren Pyle at

  • Fri, February 15, 2019 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Time and again, we've heard EENC members ask for more opportunities to connect beyond our conferences and events.  New for 2019, we're introducing digital round-tables to keep conversations flowing.  Each month around the 15th, we'll post a new topic for conversation in our members-only forum.

    Topics will change from month to month.  Have a topic you think we should be talking about?  Feel free to email it to us or post it yourself in the forum.

    To kick start this program, we're leading with a prompt that our board and staff have been talking a lot about lately:

    What do you think it will take to diversify the field of environmental education - for facilities, staff, volunteers, and participants?  Are there resources about this that you think EENC members should know about?  Have you/your facility implemented any strategies that have helped make a difference?

    Want to respond or see what others are saying?  Log into your account at the top right corner of this page and then click on the "Forum" tab in the menu bar.  Not a member?  Join online today to take a more active role in our community.

  • Mon, February 11, 2019 7:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What difference would $250 make for your teaching?  Could it pay for that workshop you’ve been dreaming of taking?  Materials for a professional development course you want to facilitate? Resources for an environmental education project in your community?  

    The Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC) recognizes that in our field, sometimes a little bit goes a long way in making a difference for the teachers, non-formal educators, government employees, students and volunteers we work with.  EENC is pleased to announce the inaugural year of our mini-grant program. Open to student, professional, senior, life, and organizational members of EENC, the goal of this grant is to provide support to promote excellence in environmental education across North Carolina.

    EENC will award $2500 in mini-grants in 2019.  Accepted proposals can range from $50 to $250. Each member can submit one proposal per year, either on their own behalf or on behalf of an organization or school.  Funding will be distributed on a reimbursement basis to awardees after their projects are completed.

    Grant Timeline:

    • February 11: RFP Opens

    • March 11: Application Deadline

    • April 1: All applicants notified of status via email

    • April 15-December 1, 2019: Eligible project dates

    • December 14: Final deadline for project reports

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Who may apply: student, professional, senior, life, and organizational members of EENC.  Honorary members are not eligible.  

      • Preference may be given to applicants who were EENC members prior to January 1, 2019, but all eligible members are welcome to apply.

    • What you can apply for: Anything that would promote excellence for environmental education in NC, including but not limited to: professional development course fees, substitute teacher fees to allow professional development attendance, student field trip fees, educational books or materials for facility/classroom/workshop, garden resources, etc.

      • Ineligible requests include: food purchases for any reason and anything related to EENC’s conference, mini-conference, events and workshops (please see our other scholarship applications for those events).

    • Location: Projects must occur in NC and recipient must live in NC

    • Project time frame: Proposed projects must start on/after April 15, 2019 and be completed by December 1, 2019.

    To Apply:

    Members: Log in to your account on this top right corner of this page, then view the full details at .  

    Apply online by 5 pm, March 11, 2019.  

    Not a member?  Join online at and start your application today!  

    Questions?  Contact Lauren Pyle at

  • Tue, January 15, 2019 5:44 PM | Anonymous member

    The EENC board has committed itself to two things going forward: to offer mini-conferences each year and to work closely with like-minded organizations to bring environmental educators the best professional development and networking opportunities possible.  It is with this in mind that we have partnered with the North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers for a joint meeting Feburary 28-March 2, 2019 at The North Carolina Arboretum!

    The meeting consists of 5 different events:
    • The EENC mini-conference Thursday
    • Joint NCAEEC/EENC reception Thursday night
    • The NCAEEC annual meeting Friday
    • Joint NCAEEC/EENC field trip opportunities on Saturday
    • Brewery social on Friday evening

    You can register for any or all of these events, with discounts offered for attending all  events, EENC members, and students.

    Visit the meeting page for more information about the meeting, including hotel information, a complete schedule, and information about the keynote speakers.

    Hope to see you there!

  • Mon, January 14, 2019 7:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Whether or not you subscribe to the idea of New Year’s resolutions, 2019 is bringing some major changes for EENC.  EENC is thrilled to announce that our executive director, Lauren Pyle, is now a full-time employee!  This is a major step for our organization and will enable us to really focus on expanding and enhancing our support of environmental education across NC.

    We are also welcoming new board members to our team:

    • Amy Renfranz, Grandfather Mountain as President Elect
    • Corey Sperling, Reedy Creek Nature Center as Education Chair
    • Kelly Hendrix, Blue Jay Point County Park as Policy Chair
    • Chelsea Sloggy, Union County Soil and Water Conservation District as Resource Development Co-Chair
    • Jessica Metz, New Kituwah Academy as Western Section Chair

    The EENC board and staff just wrapped up our annual board retreat, and we’ve got big plans for the year ahead.  Stay tuned for the announcement of our new mini-grant program.  We plan to unveil this new program to help our members promote excellence in environmental education by the end of February! We are also developing a diversity scholarship for the conference, inspired by past president Deborah Miller who we lost in 2018, as one of many steps our organization is taking to become more inclusive.   And we’re working on clarifying and enhancing our member benefits to bring more people into our community and to better serve our current members.

    Plus, we’ve got our conference in September at the Schiele, section events, and many other things planned!  We’re looking forward to the year ahead for EENC and we hope you are, too.

  • Mon, July 16, 2018 10:30 PM | Anonymous member

    It's time once again for our board member spotlight!  This month, we're pleased to introduce Christine Brown, your EENC president elect.  Christine works at Asheville GreenWorks as an environmental educator.  We're excited that she will be our president next year, so let's get to know her!

    Christine would say it was almost fate that she became an environmental educator. She was a recent college graduate with a science degree and new in town. She decided to volunteer at a local environmental non-profit event. Little did she know, that volunteer opportunity would result in an internship and ultimately her job as an environmental educator at Asheville GreenWorks! Christine now teaches waste reduction and urban forestry environmental education in four counties.

    She was introduced to EENC while working on her EE certification. The workshops were a great place to learn and network with other educators. Then she attended her first EENC conference, and everyone she had met throughout the year was all together in one place. She enjoyed the conference and decided to get more involved with the organization. EENC brings together a great community of educators from across the state that she would not have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise.

    Christine believes that environmental education is a vital piece of the puzzle that can help solve many of the world’s complex challenges. It is a great way to teach a subject in a new and exciting way that promotes self-guided exploration. It allows children the opportunity to play outside and appreciate nature. This appreciation will develop into the knowledge and skills to accurately take care of the environment.

    As President, Christine hopes to sustain the growing organization, expand the membership and organize a high-quality conference. She believes fundraising is more important than ever now that we have an Executive Director. Christine believes that Lauren is doing an excellent job already and she wants to work hard so the ED has the stability to steer EENC into the future. Another of Christine's goal is to increase membership by promoting EENC to potential members in diverse communities. She's joined the ee360 team and the Western subcommittee to help the section chair promote events. Finally, as President Elect, she is already hard at work organizing an outstanding conference in Charlotte in 2019.

    As always, we'll end with a few fun facts about your President Elect:

    • She is a “stop and smell the roses” hiker. If you are are fast hiker, don't go with Christine because she makes frequent stops to take in the scenery and snap a photo of a flower, tree, or slime mold!
    • Christine is an excellent concert weaver and can always make it back to her spot.
    • She loves any body of water, especially the beach. This is another reason why she is excited about this year’s conference in Atlantic Beach!

  • Sun, July 08, 2018 10:55 PM | Anonymous member

    In late June, EENC lost a life member, amazing former president (1999), dynamo environmental educator, and winner of nearly every EENC Award, Deborah Miller.  From when she first joined our organization in 1995, Deborah had a tremendous impact on our board and membership.  Last month, we asked you all to submit memories of your interactions with her. This month, we want to share those memories with you all in celebration of the decades of work that Deborah contributed for the advancement of environmental education.

    Check out this wonderful summary of her contributions in this article by Sheila Jones, Past President (1999) and Lois Nixon, Past President (2007).

    Memories from our members:

    “What I remember most about Deborah is her energy and enthusiasm for environmental education and science.  Sheila Jones called Deborah a “dynamo” and I can’t think of a better word to describe her. Whenever volunteers were requested for an EENC project, Deborah’s hand was always the first to go up.  She was always smiling, always positive and had tons of good ideas. I’ve never met anyone else like her and I hate that she is gone from us so soon. Deborah will be sorely missed by all of us in EENC and the broader community.”

    -- Marti Kane, Past President (1993 and 1994)

    “Deborah once brought her Science Stars group to PEC for a field trip. We walked to the lake and collected several American and Fowler's Toads for the racing events later. It began to rain. Light at first but, then it began a more steady stream. Holding one of the toads, soaking wet, drips coming off her face, she smiled at me and said... this is great! Always an unbreakable spirit and a friend to the great and small.”

    -- Tom Shepherd, Past President (2001 and 2011)

    “Deborah was a bright spot in this world. Her heart for service inspired many.”

    -- Laura Webb Smith, Past President (2006)

    “One of my fun memories of Deborah was when we shared a room for one of the EENC Conferences.  We had a lot of laughs, and I remember her telling me that it takes a certain personality to wear the flamboyant reading glasses that she wore.  Deborah did so much for EENC and many other people/organizations. She will be greatly missed.”

    -- Mir Youngquist-Thurow, Previous Board Member and Current Historian

  • Thu, June 14, 2018 11:48 PM | Anonymous member

    A letter from Trent Stanforth, EENC Membership Chair:

    Each year the Environmental Educators of North Carolina publicly recognizes environmental educators, EENC members, organizations, and partners for their valuable contributions to EENC, the North Carolina community, and to the field of environmental education. 

    Those who have been involved in North Carolina Environmental Education for a few years will recognize friends, peers, and heroes from the list of previous winners. But I am sure that there are many other environmental friends, heroes, and peers who are not on this list. 

    You have the opportunity to change that. Follow this link to the award nomination form and nominate your peers so they can receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work.

    In addition to asking who they are, where they teach, and what qualities they bring to EE, you will also have a chance to tell us why your nominees are your EE heroes. The awards are not limited to individuals only - they also recognize programs, education centers and partners. Descriptions of the awards can be found here

    The nomination period is open now and nominations are due August 17. The decision will be made in early September, and the awards will be given at the new EENC Annual Conference awards luncheon.


    Trent Stanforth
    EENC Membership Chair

  • Tue, June 12, 2018 9:21 PM | Anonymous member

    Two years ago, we asked our membership to contribute to an assessment of the state of environmental education in North Carolina, and diversity, equity, and inclusion was one of the topics you all mentioned repeatedly.  The board agrees with you that this is a critical issue for our field, and identified it in January as one of our five key priorities for the next three years within our strategic plan.  EENC is proud to announce that we are addressing this over the next year through a variety of workshops!

    For members, we will provide two different full-day training sessions in the fall to support you all so that EE is more welcoming and accessible for all .  The first will be an introductory workshop that will be held in conjunction with our conference in September at Atlantic Beach - as if you need any additional reasons to join us!  The second will expand on this experience for a broader conversation in Raleigh on December 13, 2018, facilitated by the Center for Diversity & the Environment.  Registration for this second training will open in the fall after the conference.  Both of these opportunities are funded in part thanks to grants from NAAEE.

    We are also addressing this within our organization at the member and board levels.  The board and executive director will be participating in a training on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into our strategic plan and how we can focus on implementation of such practices at our upcoming meeting in June.

    While EENC is able to offer these learning opportunities, a workshop alone won't be able to have an impact without your participation and buy-in!  Save the date, spread the word, and know that our board and staff have heard your request for support and action on this. Let's work together to expand our collective reach to engage more of our state’s citizens in environmental education!

Environmental Educators of North Carolina

P.O. Box 4904
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4904

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