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2021 Year in Review: Advancing Environmental Literacy

KAEE is dedicated to maintaining and growing environmental education in Kentucky. Even amidst great changes in our learning environments during the past few years, we have remained committed to engaging today’s youth in knowledge, awareness, and appreciation of the natural world. We strive to create a generation with a passion for the environment, as well as the knowledge and drive to make changes in the environmental climate left to them. To better support educators and students during the challenges in 2021, we channeled our energies into providing robust, on-demand, engaging professional development opportunities such as our eeCredentials, virtual and hybrid trainings, and more. We spearheaded a landscape analysis of EE in eight southeastern states to ensure that youth around the region have the opportunity to meaningfully connect to the outdoors. And we accomplished so much more that we are excited to highlight in our "2021 Year in Review" series. Here, we share Part 1, in which we highlight how our work last year helped advance environmental literacy in Kentucky and beyond.


In 2021, our programs, events, workshops, webinars, and other educational offerings reached more than 700 educators and impacted more than 17,500 students


We expanded our eeCredentials program to include nine eeCourses and two eeCredentials: eeCourses

  • Appalachian Mountain Ecology

  • Community Centered Environmental Education

  • Community Engagement Guidelines for Excellence

  • Core Curriculum Program Training

  • Foundations in Teaching Environmental Education

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) in Environmental Education

  • K-12 Academic Standards & Environmental Education

  • KAEE Facilitator

  • Sound Environmental Education Principles


  • Green Community Leader

  • Professional Learning Leader

In 2021, we enrolled 100 participants in the eeCredentials program and met maximum enrollment in our new JEDI course. 45TH ANNUAL KAEE CONFERENCE

The 2021 KAEE Annual Conference welcomed 115 educators virtually for four days of workshops, meetups, presentations, roundtables, and networking. Keynote speakers included Nicole Jackson and Mitchell Thomashow.


We hosted 20 workshops for 227 educators throughout the year and had a record enrollment for our annual Outdoor Learning Symposium, which welcomed 81 attendees for the virtual workshop.


Lexington Fayette Urban County Government provides significant funding and support for environmental education programs. KAEE was contracted to provide a review of current research on EE best practices, identify successful programs across the US as potential models, and assess existing efforts. This report served to share those results and make recommendations for funding priorities in the future, with an emphasis on how LFUCG and its partners could most effectively increase the environmental literacy levels of Lexington residents.


KAEE received a contract from LFUCG to oversee the coordination and administration of environmental education efforts in Lexington. This project is focused on advancing environmental education efforts for K-12 public and private schools within Lexington-Fayette County. Specifically, KAEE will assist LFUCG to develop curriculum for K-12 classrooms and non-formal EE programming to provide for community partners that serve youth outside of school hours; train city staff and contract educators in the curriculum, field trips, lessons, and programs; lead Teachers’ Environmental Academy(s) each summer and develop ongoing engagement for alumni of the program; manage scheduling of educators to lead classroom-based lessons; connect students to green careers; and more.


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