Earth Week at UM

Here is an awesome slate of activities that EEAA board member Susan Caplow and her University of Montevallo Environmental Club students have cooked up for Earth Week. 

Message from NAAEE Executive Director

Dear Friends of NAAEE:

I know I am so fortunate to work with an amazing team here at NAAEE, but during the past few weeks, it has become clear what a truly exceptional group they are. After working for the past year and half in planning our conference, our staff and board have gone above and beyond as we have had to painfully unravel it so quickly. I want to update you on what we’ve been working on to help our partners in Puerto Rico and how we’re working to bring you some of the conference’s planned presentations, plenary sessions, and networking opportunities through new virtual channels.

But before I jump in, I wanted to stop for a minute and thank you, our incredible members, for your kindness and support for the people of Puerto Rico, for the notes you’ve sent to the NAAEE team, and for your on-going spirit of determination and hope. I also want to thank everyone who put in so much in preparing for our annual conference, and for your words of encouragement as we regroup to keep moving forward.

Together for Puerto Rico
When the call went out to help raise money for Puerto Rico and our partners, Para La Naturaleza, you jumped in enthusiastically. In less than a week, you have donated more than $8,500 to the Together for Puerto Rico fund—and it’s still growing. We’ve already sent four solar-powered generators to help people without power. Thank you so much for helping support the recovery efforts, and for channeling your best wishes to the people of Puerto Rico.

A Big Thanks to Our Partners, Sponsors, and Participants
I want to give a huge thanks to Therel Santos-Díaz and Elizabeth Padilla, our co-chairs from Para La Naturaleza, for all the work they did leading up to the conference. I can’t tell you how wonderful they have been, strategizing with us on all aspects of the conference. And even in the midst of personal distress, they have done their best to stay in contact and let us know what is happening.

I also want to thank all the sponsors of the conference. So many have turned their donations into support for Puerto Rico and told us they will be with us next year! Thank you all for supporting NAAEE and the field of environmental education, and for contributing to the island’s recovery. We also want to thank our exhibitors and volunteers, the presenters, and everyone who helped review sessions and assist with lining up what would have been an amazing conference.

Join Us for Our Virtual Conference Week: October 17-19
Although we won’t be together in Puerto Rico, we hope you can join us for Virtual Conference Week. We’ll share some of the planned conference highlights through a series of webinars. For example, thanks to our partners, we are bringing the four amazing young people from the EE 30 Under 30 panel to Washington, D.C. for a live streaming event on Thursday at 3:00 PM ET. We are also holding the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) meeting in Washington, D.C. with delegates from around the world, and you will be able to hear from some of our delegates during the opening webinar on Tuesday at 2:00 PM ET. Please check out the full schedule of events posted online.

Coming Soon: eePRO Virtual Conference Site
In addition to the online sessions, we’re creating a special virtual conference site on eePRO. You can post the inspiring, important work you’re doing and connect with others who share your interests. We’re still working out the details, which will be announced soon, but presenters for all accepted sessions for the Conference and Research Symposium will have the opportunity to contribute:

Short video summations
Presentations (such as PowerPoints)

These sessions will be available on a virtual conference page, and—going beyond the normal proceedings—will be tagged to eePRO Groups, where we encourage comments and further discussion about session content. And with eePRO, you can easily contact any presenter for more information.

We hope you can join us for these special webinars and share your work in the virtual conference site. We will also be providing links to the programs for both the Conference and Research Symposium, so you can see what was planned. You will be able to access both PDFs next week.

Buy a Mug or T-Shirt, Help Puerto Rico
And finally, we will be selling the mugs and t-shirts that we were going to have available at the conference. (We’ll let you know when they are available to purchase online.) All proceeds will go to the Together for Puerto Rico fund. Sylvia Weir, our talented designer, donated her time to design the mug and the Together for Puerto Rico logo, and always does so much to make our work come alive!

I’ll just end by saying that the work that all of you do has never been more important. It’s ironic that many of our conference sessions would have focused on the work we’re collectively doing to address resiliency and climate change. Just know that the support that you have shown in the wake of this disaster has been so uplifting to all of us. And once again, I am so heartened by the extraordinary kindness and humanity of our environmental education community.

Judy Braus
NAAEE Executive Director

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.

We rise by lifting others.
—Robert Ingersoll

Technology and the Outdoors

It is always a struggle to balance the immersion of technology on students today and getting them outdoors. In the latest Project Learning Tree newsletter, Rebecca Reynandez does a great job of finding a variety of apps that blend the two.  If you aren’t already on their email list, I highly recommend Project Learning Tree for their articles, news and updates, stories, and resources.  We also have a few board members who are certified to train educators on the PLT curriculum.  You can msg Renee Raney for more information on setting up a training at your facility or schools.  Here is the link to the article to learn more about the apps that Rebecca found in her research.

What is Nature Explorer?

Nature Explorer is a collaborative program of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.  Through this collaboration the Nature Explorer program encourages outdoor classrooms not just at schools but anywhere you may have an outdoor space.  The Nature Explore program supports your important efforts to connect children with nature by offering…


Outdoor Classroom Design Services to help you create nurturing, nature-based outdoor spaces
Workshops & Conferences to share effective, inspiring ideas for enhancing children’s learning with nature
Natural Products for Outdoor Classrooms, field-tested components that support children’s interests and creativity
Family Resources to inspire nature connections at home
Sustainability Network to help programs connect and share ideas (this includes a growing network of Certified Nature Explore Classrooms around the nation)
Research and Field-testing as the foundation for all our programs and resources

Here is a link for their website to learn more:


Welcome to eePRO

Thanks to the EEAA affiliation with the North American Association for Environmental Education we all have access to resources like eePRO. eePRO is an online platform for environmental education professional development and resources. It is the hub for environmental education professional development across North America.  Visit their website and explore the endless information that can benefit all of us who have a passion for environmental education.


Introducing the WOW Pathway by National Wildlife Federation

As the new school year gets underway, Eco-Schools USA would like to introduce one of our new pathways, Watersheds, Oceans and Wetlands or WOW for short. Developed not only to support the 40% of our population that calls the coastline of the United States their home, but to address the growing need for conservation stewardship and a systems thinking approach to our current and future water problems. Our current Water Pathway will soon undergo a revision and solely focus on water conservation inside and outside the school walls.

The WOW audits are watermarked and indicate we are looking for feedback from our teachers during the 2017-2018 school year on the pathway’s ability to meet the school’s sustainability goals, while at the same time providing students the opportunity to drive change for our nation’s waters. Feedback can be sent to

Save the Date!!

The board of EEAA is excited to be planning the 25th anniversary celebration at the upcoming conference. This year’s conference will include a presentation by Dr. Bob Shipp who has research interest in fish systematics, zoogeography, and ecology of artificial reef systems. His book, Dr. Bob Shipp’s Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, is currently in its fifth printing and is used by the US Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service for field identification of fishes. He has also authored scores of scientific as well as popular papers and articles.
Exciting field trips are being planned that include a behind the scenes tour of the estuarium and a boat ride on the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s research vessel.
We are currently putting out a “Call for Presenters” and if you have knowledge about a topic that would benefit formal and non-formal educators, then please fill out a form that is available on the facebook page.
We are working on a tshirt quilt to commemorate the 25th anniversary of EEAA. This quilt will be a backdrop for photos at the conference. If you have a tshirt to donate to the quilt please msg EEAA President Kimberly Murray for more information at
Throughout the next several months we will be continuing to update our members about the exciting events being planned for the EEAA annual conference and we look forward to seeing you at Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Feb 22-24, 2018.

August 31 Early Bird Deadline Approaching – Register Soon for annual NAAEE conference in San Juan Puerto Rico.

For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and dissemination of best practices.  The annual Research Symposium, held in advance of the conference, attracts new and established researchers to examine in-progress EE research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.

The 46th Annual Conference will build on more than four decades of work in the field to think creatively and collectively about how we can create a more sustainable future. During the conference, we will pay tribute to the importance of the first international conference on environmental education, which was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1977, and brought together environmental education leaders from around the world who first framed how education can help address the growing environmental and social challenges facing society. We will share ideas and innovation about how we can build on the Tbilisi framework to imagine a better future and create a path forward for the field in the coming decade and beyond.

Alabama Wildlife Federation Educator Opportunities

AWF LogoThe Alabama Wildlife Federation has some great educational opportunities lined up for this summer! Information and applications for all of these workshops and more can be found on their website: AWF Educator Workshops

Exploring Alabama’s World of Birds – This workshop will involve training in the Flying WILD program along with learning about the identification of birds, behavior, attracting them to your school’s outdoor classroom, and lots of other great information and activities for use in the classroom and with youth.  We will also introduce participants to the Whooping Crane Trunk that can be used to educate youth about this endangered species as it is now spending the winter in Alabama. (Cost is $20.00 which includes lunch)

June 11 – Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
June 17 – Historic Lanark (Millbrook)
July 16 – Weeks Bay (Fairhope)

Exploring Alabama’s Natural World – This workshop will involve participants in an array of great environmental education activities that are great for use in the classroom.  Participants will learn how to get involved in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program while also receiving training in the Aldo Leopold Education Project and receive a copy of the accompanying resources. (Cost $20.00 which includes lunch)

June 12 – Wheeler Wildlife Refuge
June 19 – Historic Lanark
July 17 – Weeks Bay (Fairhope)

Connecting Nature to the Classroom through the Arts – This is a 2-day workshop that will focus on connecting nature to the youth through the Arts.  It will also include information on developing nature-based learning stations around the Arts that can be incorporated into your school’s curriculum through an outdoor classroom.  This workshop includes a variety of resources as well as meals and one-night lodging at a local hotel.  (Cost is $40.00)  Targeted Audience: 4th Grade through High School Educators

July 8 & 9 – Alabama Wildlife Federation Headquarters in Millbrook, AL

Using the Outdoor Classroom to Connect Students to Nature through Activities and Children’s Literature – This is a 2-day workshop that will focus on connecting youth to nature through the use of a variety of nature-based activities that are designed around developing outdoor classroom learning stations and connecting them to selected children’s trade books.  Participants will receive a copy of the selected trade books along with other resources.  In addition, the works includes meals while at the workshop along with one-night lodging at a local hotel.  (Cost is $40.00)  Targeted Audience:  K-6th Grade Educators

July 21 & 22 – Alabama Wildlife Federation Headquarters in Millbrook, AL

Educator Workshops at Camp McDowell

mcdowell-logoEEAA members are invited to attend a number of different Educator Workshops being offered by Camp McDowell Education Programs this year.  Click on the names of the workshop for more information and to register for them.

The first is Growing Roots, an opportunity for educators to bring along their children or grandchildren for three magical days in the woods and on the farm at Camp McDowell.  It is June 8-10 and partially sponsored by Alabama Sierra Club.

The second workshop is Exploring Alabama’s Living River: The Cahaba, June 29- July 1, at the home of the Cahaba Environmental Center at Living River.  It is sponsored by Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education.

The third is How Farms Work: A Hands On Experience, October 23-25, also at Camp McDowell.  It is sponsored by Legacy, as well.