Since March 2020, EENC has been regularly convening a group of volunteers for a diversity, equity, and inclusion action team. This dedicated group of members, partners, and external stakeholders has helped us reflect on things like what dimensions of diversity EENC should report on as an organization with a commitment to this work and how to make our communications and events more inclusive.
One of the big projects they have helped us with is updating our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion statement. After a month of careful deliberation, this team created a draft statement that was submitted to the board. The board reviewed the document, suggested edits and asked the action team clarifying questions. After a final review by the action team and approval by the board, EENC is proud to share our new statement.
You can find it posted on the "About EENC" page of our website. But it's more than just a public statement. This is part of our policy manual that guides the board and staff in all organizational operations. We are working toward this commitment being reflected in all our events, programs, communications, and partnerships.
We acknowledge we still have a lot of work to do. We are grateful to our action team who will continue to help us on projects through the end of the year. We are grateful for our partners who are making their own commitments. And we are grateful for our members and the educators in our EE community who are joining us on this journey.
Do you know an environmental educator, EE program, or center in North Carolina that promotes excellence in environmental education? Nominate your EE heroes for an EENC award! We give several types of awards for both members and non-members, so help the great EE professionals in your life get the recognition they deserve for their great work.
Learn more about EENC's awards here, including last year's winners!
Nominate yourself or someone you know for a 2020 award here.
EENC today released eeGuidance for Reopening Schools, a new publication which offers support for schools and districts as they find ways to safely reopen their schools to students this fall. Developed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the guidance offers dozens of specific strategies for schools and districts, including using the school grounds for outdoor classroom spaces as a strategy for adhering to physical distancing guidelines, engaging community environmental and outdoor education programs as alternative spaces for learning, tapping into the expertise of environmental educators to support teaching and learning, creating healthier learning environments and supporting at-home learning.
While we are all eagerly waiting to hear if schools with open with their A, B, or C plans, it is critical that we connect formal and nonformal educators across the state to support student learning.
Learn more at eenc.org/eeGuidance
Environmental Educators of North Carolina is excited to announce that we will be hosting our 2020 EENC Conference virtually. The virtual conference will take place on our originally planned dates of September 18 and 19.
This was not a decision we took lightly. Nearly 200 educators provided feedback through the survey we sent a couple of weeks ago. The results clearly showed that many educators were uncertain if they would be able to attend the conference in-person this year for many reasons, including personal safety, travel restrictions, and funding availability.
By pivoting to a virtual conference now, we can dedicate the time needed to plan a wonderful virtual experience for you! You can expect two half-days of virtual sessions and a keynote speaker. Thanks to your suggestions, we will also include lots of opportunities to network virtually. We are also planning to hold section events within a couple weeks of the conference so educators have more opportunities to get together for some fun activities, in-person and virtually.
Registration for the new virtual event will open mid-July, so keep an eye out for additional details. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the EENC Conference Chairs, Shannon Culpepper and Trent Stanforth at email@example.com.
NAAEE is working with Professors Marc Stern (Virginia Tech) and Bob Powell (Clemson) to disseminate a survey about the needs of the field regarding the evaluation of environmental education (EE) programming. The goals are to better understand current practices, hopes, and challenges to inform the development of tools and services for the field and to promote culturally responsive evaluation as we work to build a new evaluation portal.
If you are an EE instructor, manager, or director, we hope you will take about 15 minutes to fill out the survey and help us learn more about your thoughts on evaluation.
You can find the survey at the following link:
The survey will remain open until June 30, and your responses will be kept confidential.
Thank you so much! And we look forward to sharing the results in the future.
Encuesta: Estimar las condiciones y las necesidades de la evaluación en EA
NAAEE, en conjunto con Profesor Marc Stern (Virginia Tech) y Profesor Bob Powell (Universidad Clemson), busca las perspectivas de una gran variedad de profesionales sobre las necesidades con respeto a la evaluación de los programas de educación ambiental (EA). Las metas de esta encuesta son entender mejor las prácticas, las esperanzas, y los retos actuales para informar el desarrollo de servicios para la profesión y para promover la evaluación culturalmente receptiva.
Si es un instructor, coordinador, o director de EA, queremos su opinión. Esta encuesta en el vínculo le llevará 15 minutos:
Sus respuestas son confidenciales. La encuesta estará disponible hasta la 30 de junio.
Gracias! Compartiremos los resultados en el futuro.
NAAEE Executive Director
Note: EENC is our state's affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
As a Rethink Outside partner, EENC is part of a growing effort to unify and amplify a shared narrative around time spent in nature, reshaping how people think about and prioritize the outdoors and its benefits. Coordinated by Blue Sky Funders Forum, and launched in October 2019, this shared narrative aims to tell a unifying story and engage new partners to bring the promise of healthy communities to all.
In order to provide guidance and support to organizations seeking to elevate connections to the outdoors during COVID-19, Blue Sky has released a new Rethink Outside messaging brief. This messaging brief draws on best practices in frame-based messaging, recent studies of narrative change, and guidance from the NAACP on how to communicate effectively and respectfully during a time of crisis. It offers a roadmap for connecting the tested values and core message of the Rethink Outside shared narrative with the ever-changing public conversation. It is designed to serve as a bridge between the extraordinary focus at this moment on public health and public economies, and the conversations that must come next around how to build safer, healthier communities for all.
This messaging is designed for you to use in communications with stakeholders regarding how your organization is evolving during COVID-19. It is intended to be a tool for your existing communications efforts, if you have need and capacity. It is not a requirement and there is no expectation it be used if it is not helpful for your organization.
You can download the messaging brief here. Below are additional resources and opportunities to engage with Rethink Outside.
Pledge your participation in Rethink Outside
Share examples of ways you have used the shared narrative in your work in this open Google Sheet, and by using #RethinkOutside on social media
Access stories and additional resources
Participate in storytelling workshops (registration will open in July)
You can learn more at RethinkOutside.org. Please contact the Blue Sky team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
This morning, I found myself with tears in my eyes. Remembering a loved one is like that. Out of nowhere a cherished memory finds its way into your consciousness. Tears of fondness found their way into my eyes in memory of a beloved father. And what was it you might ask that prompted this reaction in my 42 year old self, and 4 years after his death? It was a childhood memory of Sunday mornings sitting at his feet while he read...the Mark Trail comic.
The Sunday comic strip by Mark Trail that my Dad would read to me typically highlighted a particular species or topic. The comic began in 1946, and has been teaching people about the preservation of our natural resources ever since. Various publications were also published under the Mark Trail name, including for government and nonprofit groups. Mark Trail also won many conservation awards. As with anything that has been around that long, there is some controversy over gender representation and out-dated science, but it is an amazing timeline of reaching the general public regarding conservation.
Learning the history of this historical interpreter was simply a fun detour prompted by this memory. What was most poignant to me, is the reminder that it is the off-hand, unassuming moments that often teach us so much, as children and adults alike. Relationships, passions, and a heart for sharing, all touch those around us in meaningful ways. In this time of “isolation”, “quarantine”, “social-distancing” and “phased reopening,” we find our circles smaller and, perhaps, more open to contemplation.
Most of us have had our interpretation work significantly altered in 2020. But, we ALL have a community we continue to make a meaningful impact on. Six months ago we may have been too hurried, or harried, to share these teachable moments with what is now our closest circle: hiking, but also picking up trash and carrying it out, not as an organized cleanup, but just because; exploring historical experiences of the Spanish Flu and 1918 Influenza Pandemic, not as a required school assignment, but for curiosity's sake; shadowing a sea turtle volunteer(because, well, sea turtles aren’t under a stay at home order and nesting season has begun), to learn more about turtles to share with my circle, just because I am interested and have the time; sharing a social media post about baby bats to an audience that may have been too busy to give it a look several months ago, and thus increasing awareness in a quiet, unassuming way.
We are interpreters. Our execution of that passion may have been altered, but has not been eliminated. As long as there are people on this Earth, we will be called to, and have the opportunity to, share our passions. Chin up. You are still making a mark. Your community, whatever that looks like right now, is waiting. Embrace it. Be fulfilled by it. Enjoy it.
We join you this week in mourning and frustration over the ongoing harm that people of color experience in our country, including the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the racism experienced by Christian Cooper while he was birding in Central Park. We recognize that they represent a small and recent sample of a much larger issue, and that there cannot be inclusive environmental education in outdoor spaces until all people feel safe in their communities.
Environmental education is critical for a sustainable future. It provides time in - and a connection to - the outdoors which research has shown to improve academic performance and physical, mental, and emotional health, making it just as important for our participants as it is for the planet. EENC embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to our work. It will take people of all ages and backgrounds working together to achieve our vision for a sustainable future. We believe everyone regardless of race, creed, age, sexual/gender identity, income, physical/mental ability, etc. should feel welcome in EE activities in North Carolina to reap these various benefits.
Making the Case for Equity and Inclusion in EE
Helping You Learn More: Deeper Dives, Strategies, and Best Practices
Teaching With Equity and Inclusion
Inspirational People and Stories: Shining a Spotlight on Amazing Work by Phenomenal People
Building Your Network: Organizations, Business and Agencies
We rededicate ourselves to listening and working toward a more equitable, anti-racist future. Will you join us?
Thanks to our amazing donors this spring, EENC is launching a webinar series to help environmental educators continue to build skills as we all negotiate the new normal with COVID-19. Throughout the series, we hope to cover a wide range of topics. Webinars may focus on lesson plans, curricula development, technology and virtual learning, naturalist skills/knowledge, educator self-care or environmental education operations such as communications, strategic planning for your program/department, risk management, or equity and inclusion.
We're planning to start these in June and offer webinars every week for at least 16 weeks. Recognizing that not everyone has the same set schedules, we're planning a rotating day-of-the-week strategy at 1 pm. Check out the upcoming webinars here.
Webinar registration is free and open to anyone to attend, but is limited to 100 participants. A recording of the webinar will be sent to attendees afterward. It will also be posted on EENC's members-only page - so if you're an EENC member and not able to attend during the scheduled time, no need to register!
Do you have a topic you'd like to present on? Click here to learn more and submit your idea.
Webinars will qualify for Criteria III and continuing education for NC DEQ EE Certificate.
Please consider completing and sharing this survey from the Children & Nature Network by May 19.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen people around the world turn to nature for reprieve and respite from the stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve also seen temporary improvements in air quality and other environmental impacts resulting from the global pause. We are interested in understanding how participants in the broad movement to connect people to nature are thinking about changes in their attitudes and behaviors, as well as societal changes, in response to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders. We are also interested in understanding how and if people anticipate their own and others’ behavior to change long-term. We feel this information could have important implications for program and policy priorities in the months ahead. The survey is open from May 12 - 19 and results will be shared broadly.
All responses will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. If comments are used to provide illustrative examples of survey respondents’ attitudes, care will be taken to ensure that any information that may identify the respondent is removed. This survey is a collaboration between the Children & Nature Network, University of Minnesota and many other organizations.
EENC is sharing this as a proud member of the Children & Nature Network and affiliate of NAAEE.
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