• Wed, May 12, 2021 9:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "It goes without saying that 2020 held surprises that none of us could foresee and no one would have asked for. The world shifted and environmental education — as we knew it — changed." 2020 EENC President, Amy Renfranz 

    EENC changed right along with it.  Because of new forays into virtual programming, we had a 135% increase in professional development and networking events.  EENC grew our membership, had thousands of hours of volunteer help, and hosted the most-attended conference in our history!

    Read more in our 2020 Annual Report.

  • Sat, April 24, 2021 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the North Carolina Affiliate , EENC is thrilled to share news from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) about upcoming events and programs that provide opportunities for our state's educators to get national recognition for their amazing work.  Here are some of their recent updates:

    NAAEE Conference:

    We are excited to announce our Call for Presentations for NAAEE’s 50th Annual International Conference and 18th Research Symposium in October. We are gathering virtually, after hearing everyone’s concerns about both safety and costs, and we are looking for compelling proposals. Learn more and submit proposals at

    CEE-Change Fellowship

    CEE-Change Fellowship Program will bring together a diverse and inspiring cadre of formal and nonformal educators and community leaders working to address today’s complex environmental and social concerns at the local, state, and national levels. Apply by May 17.  Learn More.

    30 Under 30

    NAAEE has opened the search to find 30 game-changing leaders under 30 years of age who are using environmental education to build a sustainable future for all. Apply by May 5.  Learn More.

    What Roles Does Civic Engagement Play in EE?

    NAAEE is working with Professors Bob Powell (Clemson) and Marc Stern (Virginia Tech) to disseminate a survey about the appropriateness and use of different approaches to civic engagement. The results will inform future training on these techniques and approaches. Visit this link for more information and please consider sharing this survey with your peers. 

    eeWORKS: The Impact of EE on Conservation & Environmental Quality

    How does EE lead to conservation outcomes and how does EE influence the quality of the environment? Check out our newest publication eeWORKS: The Impact of EE on Conservation & Environmental Quality here.

    Coalition for Climate Education Policy 

    NAAEE and a number of partner organizations have launched a new Coalition for Climate Education Policy (CCEP). This non-partisan network is working to advance climate change education and ensure that education and engagement are part of the toolbox of solutions to build more resilient communities, advance justice and equity, and create a climate-ready workforce. Learn more and join the coalition.

  • Thu, April 15, 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EENC is thrilled to announce that we're helping 11 educators from across our state in the third year of our mini-grant program.  With EENC's support, they will building school gardens and improving their schoolgrounds, purchasing much-needed supplies, and partnering with their communities to support black, indigenous, and people of color participating in EE.

    Congratulations to the 2021 mini-grant awardees:

    • Ranita Anderson, “Read, Question, Reflect, Imagine, Act: Using Language and Literacy to Promote Gardening and Beyond"
    • Marguerite Bishop, Nash County Public Schools, "Nashville Elementary Learning Garden- Composting Project"
    • Cindy Furey, Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools, "Green Eagles Leadership Club Daypacks"
    • Lauren Gibson, NC State University, "Providing classrooms with pesticide testing strips for an inquiry-based water quality testing activity"
    • Lauren Greene, North Carolina Botanical Garden, "From the Mountains to the Coast: Virtual Field Trip"
    • Marilyn Jesrani, Carolina Outdoor Fun, "The Environmental Benefits of Backyard Chickens"
    • Jessica Metz, New Kituwah Academy, "ᎦᏓᏛ ᏗᏫᏒᏅᎢ ᎠᎹ ᎢᏥᏂᏦᎸᎯ (Bring Water to the Garden)"
    • Sarah Pursel, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, "Bountiful Botany: Medicinal Plants of the Plateau"
    • Alayna Schmidt, WNC Nature Center, "Racially Diverse Speaker Series for Nature-based Teen Volunteer Program"
    • Shalyn Yost, Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County, "Outdoor Explorers"
    • Mir Youngquist-Thurow, Agape Center for Environmental Education, "Water Quality Testing Resupply"

    Our grant recipients will be working on projects now through December 1.  We'll share photos and stories as they finish. Stay tuned to see how these EENC members are promoting excellence in environmental education!

  • Tue, March 23, 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EENC is making plans for the future.  Earlier this month, EENC finalized our outline to best support North Carolina’s community of environmental educators over the next few years.  Like many of your organizations, we reevaluate our priorities every few years so that we can maximize our impact and make the best use of our capacity.

    Over the next three years, we will focus our efforts on:

    • Advocating for the field of environmental education.

    • Building partnerships to advance EE efforts in and beyond the classroom.

    • Becoming a better, and better-known, resource for professional development, news, and tools to support North Carolina’s diverse audience of environmental educators.

    • Building our internal capacity so EENC can continue to grow and serve the needs of our community.

    Through all of these focus areas, we are developing specific strategies to weave in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, a broad definition of what environmental education looks like and who our state’s environmental educators are, and actionable ways to measure our progress. Stay tuned for more details!  We are looking forward to sharing the full and final version of our strategic plan with you soon - and to putting it into action to advance environmental education across our state!

    If you have any questions, please contact

  • Fri, March 19, 2021 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC) along with the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and the North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers (NCAEEC) need your help!  We invite you to participate in an exciting project in partnership with the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance to conduct a comprehensive landscape analysis of environmental education in the southeast states.  

    Please share and/or complete this survey designed for environmental education programs and service providers by Friday, April 2nd.

    Organizations that respond will be included as part of a state and regional landscape of environmental education programs and services. This analysis will take a comprehensive look at the scope of environmental education offerings available, trends in the field, and operational shifts.  By better understanding the important work being done in the southeast, we can identify gaps and barriers to access, as well as opportunities for service providers to partner with one another to advance our collective efforts toward environmental literacy.  

    For this phase of the project, we are focused primarily on environmental education program and service providers. Questions relate to organizational operations, audiences served, programming themes, and services to better understand environmental education and engagement in the southeast. This survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.  This is a two-part survey.  After you complete the first part of the survey, you will have the opportunity to complete a survey of each of your individual programs or to group these into one survey.  

    Support for this project was provided by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Pisces Foundation.

    The Southeastern Environmental Education Allianceis a partnership of the following organizations: Environmental Education Association of Alabama (EEAA), Environmental Education Alliance (EEA) of Georgia, League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF), Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE), Mississippi Environmental Education Alliance (MEEA), Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC), Environmental Education Association of South Carolina (EEASC), and the Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA).

    If you have any questions, please contact EENC's executive director.

  • Mon, February 15, 2021 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s exciting to hear teachers and childcare providers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning February 24! However, we know it’s still probably going to be a while until field trips, summer camps, and in-person EE programming outside the classroom are running at pre-pandemic capacities.

    Over the next year, EENC will be working to help collect, create, and distribute best-practices guides, resource lists, and professional development opportunities that respond to emerging needs in EE.

    To help you develop your spring and summer 2021 plans, we wanted to share some resources created and posted publicly by other amazing organizations.

    Virtual Learning

    In fall 2020, our EE and COVID Advisory Council concluded that online programming is probably here to stay. As you build your virtual portfolio, here are some resources to help you design better learning experiences:

    In-Person Programming

    Whether you’re thinking about camp, field trips, individual registration programs, or public events, there are a lot of resources being shared on how to do in-person programming safely. Be sure to look beyond “programs like mine” because there are a lot of potentially transferable recommendations!

    As many of us know, social distancing, mask wearing, and proper handwashing are all key in preventing coronavirus transmission.  If you teach indoors or work inside a shared office, you should also be paying attention to air flow and ventilation.

    Additional Resources

    Looking for support on other topics?  Check out these other resource collections.

    You all have been doing amazing research as we all continue to navigate the evolving situations.  Do you have another resource you’d like to share?  You can post it in EENC’s Facebook Group or email it to Lauren Pyle.

  • Mon, January 18, 2021 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you active on social media and have an amazing EE-related feed? Or are you plugged in to state-level environmental education news or on tons of EE organizations' mailing lists?  If you regularly come across news, features, videos, images, and resources that you think other people in North Carolina's EE community should be aware of, EENC could use your help as a content curator volunteer for our social media communications! 

    Ideally this position should take about an hour a month - just enough time to click "forward" or "share" for the things you're already scrolling through.  We're seeking 3-5 people to fill this role.  

    Contact Lauren Pyle  for more information and to get involved. 

    Learn more about EENC's current and upcoming volunteer needs here.

  • Mon, January 11, 2021 8:31 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?  

    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 third year of our mini-grant program.  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 2021.  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:

    • January 11: RFP Opens 

    • February 28: Application Deadline

    • April 1: All applicants notified of status via email

    • April 10-December 1: Eligible project dates

    • December 14: Final deadline for project reports

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Who may apply: Professional, Student, Senior, New to EE, Life, and all Organizational members of EENC.  Honorary members are not eligible.  

    • 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/virtual program fees, educational books or materials for facility/classroom/workshop, garden resources, etc.

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

    • Project time frame: Proposed projects must start on/after April 10, 2021 and be completed by December 1, 2021.

    To Apply:

    Members: Log in to your account in the top right corner of this page then apply online by 11:59 pm, February 28, 2021.  Not a member?  Join online and start your application today!  Questions?  Contact Lauren Pyle.

  • Fri, January 01, 2021 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EENC is thrilled to announce that after more than a year of work, today we're launching new member levels and benefits to better support our community!

    You can read all the details here, but here are a few highlights.

    For Individuals:

    We added a new member level for professionals who are  new to the field of environmental education.  Whether you're just out of college or transitioning careers, this is a discounted opportunity to get involved for your first three years in the profession.

    Did you know EENC has over 20 hours of webinar recordings that qualify for Criteria III/continuing education credit for the NC Environmental Educator Certificate?  Members have access to them all on demand!

    Plus, EENC members get discounts on every event EENC charges a fee for - including Guidelines for Excellence workshops,  the annual conference, and other professional development.  With this, membership can quickly pay for itself!

    For Organizations:

    We now have tiered membership levels that provide Professional level benefits for anywhere between 3 and 100 team members.  You can use your membership to support your staff, interns, volunteers, board members, or even students.  Want to level up?  You can increase your membership at any time!  Contact the Membership Chair for additional details.

    We've added a completely new suite of benefits that provide support at an organizational or programmatic level including:

    • Invitation to exclusive annual EENC Organizational Leader Meeting
    • Opportunity to request letters of support from EENC on grant projects and other bids/proposals.
    • Site preference for EENC-hosted events in your area
    • Opportunities for shared marketing and exhibiting at EENC's annual conference

    Ready to join today?  Click here to become a member of our professional community.

    * Maximum individuals covered.  Have a bigger team? Move up to the next level. You can always opt in for a higher level of membership to access additional organizational benefits.

  • Fri, December 18, 2020 10:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Since the pandemic was announced in March, EENC's response to support the field of environmental education (EE) was pretty immediate - responding to the new "right now" as it develops.  In August, we began to feel it was critical to start having some longer term/bigger visioning strategies to ensure EE survives and thrives as the world continues to change.  EENC, along with the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs, launched an Advisory Council to review the reality of COVID's impacts on environmental education as a whole, envision what the future of environmental education should look like, and then help identify strategies for how to make that vision happen.

    We convened 30 thought leaders from across the state representing a wide range of backgrounds - from school and formal education partners, to higher education faculty, to nonformal education leaders in programs large and small.  This group met five times over the fall.  First, we reflected on our own experiences and reports coming out at the national level about the impacts of COVID-19 on our field. 

    From there, the Advisory Council identified the needs we think are here to stay:

    • Stronger partnerships between formal educators, nonformal environmental education programs, and community programs.
    • Shared communications and storytelling, so that we're not all trying to make for the case for why EE is important independently
    • Continued virtual programming/engagement, whether its to provide pre- and post-visit support, or as an opportunity to engage learners outside the usual driving distance, or even just so people can continue learning on their own schedules.
    • Rethinking the role of an Environmental Educator.  "Other Duties As Assigned" doesn't quite capture all the responsibilities, skills, and expectations environmental educators are going to need to succeed.  
    • General EE Capacity Building.  Let's face it, there need to be more, higher-paying EE positions, more people providing environmental education, and more money to support equitable participation in EE.

    Considering these needs, we developed a comprehensive list of action strategies.  These action items are being distributed to partners across the state, so that we can all work to the best of our capacity to help elevate the field.  You will see calls to action to participate in these initiatives from EENC, the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and other partners over the next year, so that environmental education in North Carolina has a thriving future.

    If you have any other questions about this, please contact EENC Executive Director Lauren Pyle.

Environmental Educators of North Carolina

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