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Jane Eller served as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council from 1994 to 2010 and is responsible for steering the organization’s early efforts to strengthen environmental education in the Commonwealth. She initiated many important programs that continue to exist and thrive today.

During Eller’s watch, the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC) put into place many new initiatives including the development of the state’s Environmental Education Master Plan and Environmental Literacy Survey, the Green and Healthy Schools initiative, Kentucky’s Environmental Literacy Plan, and the Professional Environmental Educator Certification (PEEC) course. The PEEC program is accredited by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and serves as a model for all state and provincial affiliate organizations of NAAEE in North America.

Eller was also influential in the development of the Kentucky University Partnership for Environmental Education (KUPEE) which was written into the state’s Environmental Education Master Plan. Following grant funding secured by Joe Baust in the early 2000’s, Eller also facilitated a series of retreats and meetings to establish the mission and purpose of the Centers for Environmental Education at each of the state universities. Once the centers were established, KEEC continued to provide funding and support for their initiatives.

One of Eller’s great strengths as the Director of the KEEC was her ability to collaborate with a wide variety of interest groups and individuals to meet the recommendations of Kentucky’s Environmental Education Master Plan, both formally and informally. She even hosted informal environmental education retreat weekends at her personal cabin in North Carolina for fellow educators to relax, reflect and renew.

Eller was able to accomplish the goals of KEEC with a limited budget and limited personnel. Her early background was focused on social science which propelled her interest toward policies that foster not only environmental stewardship but environmental justice, equity and inclusion. In Eller’s retirement she has fostered these goals through her political involvement. Throughout her career and retirement, she has been and continues to be a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother.

Eller, along with the five other award recipients from around the state, were recognized at KAEE’s 45th Annual Conference during outdoor regional meet-ups and on September 23rd, during the virtual conference opening.

“It is an honor to have this opportunity to share the exceptional achievements of our award winners and the work they are doing to educate and provide a better future for all Kentuckians,” said KAEE Executive Director Ashley Hoffman.

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