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.
NAAEE Executive Director
Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.
We rise by lifting others.