2019 was a big year for environmental education, around the world and here in Kentucky. We've included below some of our favorite EE stories from the past year. What are some of your favorites?
Environmental Education Will Shape A New Generation Of Decision-Makers. "Young people: They care. They know that this is the world that they're going to grow up in, that they're going to spend the rest of their lives in. But, I think it's more idealistic than that."
Stanford analysis reveals wide array of benefits from environmental education. “The review found clear evidence that environmental education programs provide a variety of benefits. Not surprisingly, the studies clearly showed that students taking part in environmental education programming gained knowledge about the environment. But the studies also showed that learning about the environment is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Hundreds of Environmental Educators ‘Energized’ by National Conference in Lexington. “I came away, as I do every year, energized, motivated and buoyed by the optimism and drive found at the heart of virtually every environmental educator.”
Curriculum-based outdoor learning for children aged 9-11: A qualitative analysis of pupils’ and teachers’ views. “Outdoor learning is a pedagogical approach used to enrich learning, enhance school engagement and improve pupil health and wellbeing.”
Kentucky educators and institutions receive NAAEE Awards. Melinda Wilder, Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez, and Berea College were honored as award recipients at the North American Association for Environmental Education's Annual Conference in October.
Kentucky Association for Environmental Education Adopts New Strategic Plan. “We recognize that a significant part of our role is to support the ‘boots on the ground’—the educators who do this work every day. Our new plan emphasizes the important role we play as a backbone organization, supporting and enhancing that community-level work where real change is happening. We truly believe that this is how we will achieve an environmentally knowledgeable society.”
Italy to become first country to make learning about climate change compulsory for school students. "From next year, Italian school students in every grade will be required to study climate change and sustainability, in an attempt to position the country as a world leader in environmental education."
Kentucky has one of the nation’s best environmental education programs. “The program was very beneficial to me because it focused a lot on environmental issues, teaching strategies and communities. It really challenged me to think about how I teach and present environmental education materials. We also learned a lot about the history of environmental education. I knew some things about the history of EE, but I learned quite a bit more, especially about the movement within Kentucky.”
Focusing on the core idea that all children deserve quality time outdoors, the Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership has just launched a Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook, available online, to help legislators, community leaders, and all other interested parties advance youth-centered state policies for outdoor education and engagement. The Playbook highlights existing and promising policy solutions, provides a platform for sharing and advancing new ideas, and connects cross-sector leaders working on statewide policy initiatives.
With funding from the Pisces Foundation and REI, the Youth Outdoor Policy Partnership developed the Playbook with collective expertise and resources from the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Children & Nature Network, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). These partners shared their knowledge of existing policies as well as emerging initiatives that connect kids to the outdoors, environmental education, and nature-based learning opportunities.
The Playbook is guided by a Policy Framework that outlines shared values, key principles, and innovative statewide policy strategies for increasing youth outdoor engagement. Here, readers will find inspirational case studies—such as the Maryland Green Schools Act and Oregon’s Outdoor School for All—supporting research, a bill library, and more.
In addition, the Playbook includes a comprehensive collection of research supporting the countless benefits of spending time outdoors, including the ways it promotes good health, supports children’s happiness, boosts learning and academic achievement, and helps children learn to care for the environment.
Explore the complete contents of the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook here.
Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez has been awarded the 2019 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award at the Local and Regional Level by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
Sánchez was recognized for her work as the Recreation Manager at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, her contributions to climate change research at Kentucky State University and her leadership roles with regional and state environmental education associations. Sánchez places equity and inclusion at the forefront of her work, including facilitating Kentucky’s only bilingual Project Learning Tree trainings. She is a certified Kentucky Professional Environmental Educator and has served on the national stage on NOAA’s Climate Stewards Program and NAAEE’s climate change panel.
“What has inspired me is working with and learning from so many dedicated young people who are beyond just educating the public, but really working toward getting folks to understand the ‘why’ of environmental programming and the call to action to get engaged and involved in making our world a bit better each day,” said Sánchez.
NAAEE began awarding the Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award in 1974 to recognize environmental educators and advocates who have made notable contributions to the field. Individuals and organizations at the global, regional, national and local levels are eligible.
“Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez's contributions to environmental education have been remarkable and she serves as a model for so many people inside and outside Kentucky,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director for NAAEE. “She is one of the most creative and thoughtful leaders in the field and has helped strengthen environmental education through her passion, creativity and dedication to building a more equitable and sustainable society.”
Jennifer has served on the board of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education since 2013. She has been at the forefront of the organization for the past seven years, most recently as chair. She has lived and studied in Spain, México, and Costa Rica, and has implemented youth development programming in México and Honduras. Her diverse career path, education and training, volunteer experience, and professional passion have provided her with experience not only in the environmental education field, but in sustainability, diversity, and climate change education. She is a visionary, yet highly action-oriented individual. She has a love and determination that cannot be beaten and has earned the respect of everyone in the environmental education field.
Story by naaee staff
At KAEE, our Board of Directors gives to the organization their time, energy, passion, ideas, and gifts. Why? Here's what they had to say.
"I care about environmental education because it serves as a key to appreciating natural systems, and informs and give us the courage to take action on environmental issues impacting us all." -Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez
"KAEE supports those individuals and programs that promote environmental education. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an organization to support a common good." -Rae McEntyre
"I give to KAEE because the work is important, the people are passionate and dedicated, and the impact is great. KAEE is an excellent steward, both of my money and of the environment." -Jennifer Beach
"I care about Environmental Education because it connects people to nature, which can be transformative. EE also helps develop skills to care for and advocate for our home, planet earth, which in turn benefits all life, including future generations." -Jackie Gallimore
"Caring about our impact on the natural world begins with curiosity. EE professional developments have led me into coal mines, power plants, caves, and creeks. Then, I pay that curiosity forward to those I teach." -Vivian Bowles
"I support KAEE because education is the foundation for building a better tomorrow." -Jason Nally
This #givingtuesday (or anytime!), join us in building a foundation for a sustainable future. Visit our Mighty Cause pages to learn more about how your donations support educators around Kentucky and to support our mission.
KAEE is one of the country’s oldest associations supporting environmental education. We are people from all walks of life, coming together to support EE.