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:
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
EENC Membership Chair
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.
Registration for the 2018 EENC conference, EE for All, is now open! Join us at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Atlantic Beach, NC September 27-29 for a conference the includes…
A full day of diversity and inclusion professional development in our pre-conference workshop
Early bird conference registration pricing is in effect through July 20. Prices go up July 21, and you must be registered by September 7 to attend. All EENC members who are logged into their EENC account before registering will receive a member discount. Are you the lead presenter for a session? You’ll receive an e mail with a code to receive an additional $10 off your registration!
Make your hotel reservations, learn more about the conference, view the preliminary session schedule, or register to attend by visiting the EENC conference page.
We look forward to seeing YOU at EENC 2018!
We are excited to host you at the upcoming 2018 EENC Conference 2018, EE for All! You already know that the conference brings you great learning and networking opportunities and the chance to reconnect with your friends and colleagues, but add our keynote speaker to the list of reasons why you have to attend this year. We are excited to give Juan D. Martinez the stage for a powerful keynote you won't want to miss!
Welcome once again to the EENC Board Member Spotlight! This month, we highlight Erin Lineberger, your EENC Piedmont Section Chair. Erin is an environmental educator with Gaston Natural Resources.
Erin grew up in what she considered to be a little patch of natural paradise, on the edge of a bottomland, hardwood swamp in eastern NC. In the summer, it was humid, buggy, and dense. In the winter, it was a haven for year-long resident birds and spring peepers on warm nights. It was just 20 acres, but it connected to neighbors' forested land as well; a green ribbon of floodplain cocooning a small tributary on its way to the Neuse. Erin can remember trying to map it when she was in the second grade, like Lewis and Clark. Such exploits were encouraged by her parents.
In middle and high school, Erin's primary passion was participation in a school club called, "Envirothon." She didn't know the word "environmental education" then, but they traveled from the mountains to the coast in search of new species and ecosystems to experience. She thought she wanted to be an environmental journalist, but after a high school career full of extracurricular activities and AP classes (read: deadlines, and not enough time to meet them), Erin decided she was her best self in the woods. Her mom, who was a 9th grade Earth & Environmental Science teacher at that point, suggested environmental education. She decided to go into Natural Resources at NCSU during the spring of her senior year, and from that point on, EE was her end goal.
College included meetings with people like Renee Strnad and Kathryn Stephenson, as well as summer EE internships. Erin also sought out a backpacking trip with Montreat College and learned about their new Master's of Environmental Education program from Dottie Shuman. She began her EE certification and the field unfolded for her like a map. The more EE she did, the more she wanted. She was hooked!
Following graduation, Erin worked one season in a residential position in West Virginia and moved back to NC to start her Master's of Environmental Education at Montreat College. She also entered AmeriCorps Project Conserve as an Environmental Educator with the North Carolina Arboretum. One year and a Master's Degree later, Erin came full circle and got her first permanent position with a Soil and Water Conservation District, where part of her job is to train the next generation of Envirothon students.
When Erin moved to the Charlotte area, the word on the street was all about the lack of connection between EE people and programs in the area. EENC responded by creating a Piedmont Section, and Joy Shuck took the helm as Piedmont Section Chair. Erin knew Joy from a season at the Whitewater Center and when Joy stepped down from her position, she recommended the position to Erin. She eagerly agreed, wanting to continue what Joy had started.
Erin's primary upcoming projects include hosting a mini-conference this year followed next year by the first ever Piedmont Section conference. Erin believes both will do a lot for educators in the region, and will bring more folks into the fold.
Let's wrap up with three fun facts about Erin!
Looking for a little financial help to get to the EENC 2018 conference? Apply for a scholarship! Full and half scholarships are available, but get your application in soon. Applications are due TODAY, May 21,
We look forward to reading your application!
Do you plan to attend the 2018 EENC Conference and/or Research Symposium, but need a little help to make it happen? Apply now for a conference scholarship! Full and partial scholarships are available. Preference will be given to students, teachers, rangers, EENC members, and first time conference attendees.
Scholarship applications are due May 21st, and you will be notified of your decision by June 11th.
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