KAEE is excited to announce a new summer eeOpenSpace program—one that YOU can make your own!
The program allows our members and wider audience to host their own virtual Open Space or round table conversation around a topic of their choosing. What sparks your interest most these days? What would you like to chat about with others in our community? What ways would you like to connect during this unprecedented time? If you're looking for a couple of ideas, we’re happy to offer a few:
We anticipate that these calls are likely to truly be engaging conversations, not formal presentations. If you’d like to lead a session, please do! We’ll be here to help you set up the time, online space, and more.
Ready to get started? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea for a topic or activity, a few times and dates that would work best for you, and any other details you’d like to share. And, of course, let us know if you have any questions!
With its mission to “provide wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources,” Project WILD is an interdisciplinary EE program that helps participants develop an awareness, appreciation, and understanding of wildlife and habitat. Introduced in 1983, it has reached more than 100 million youth through more than 1.5 million educators and is one of the largest wildlife education programs in the world. Project WILD is administered by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
Project WILD curriculum is developed by scientists and those in natural resource management, reviewed and field-tested by educators, and aligned with national educational standards. And, to that last point, the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education has partnered with AFWA to document how more than sixty Project WILD activities containing science content (and all from the fourth edition of the Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide) correlate with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
KAEE Education Director Brittany Wray, longtime member and recently retired Eastern Kentucky University professor Melinda Wilder, and retired fourth-grade Madison County teacher Vivian Bowles have spent the past few months diligently reviewing the activities and developing a companion document detailing each activity’s correlation to the three dimensions of science: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science & Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts. These correlations also provide educators with the Performance Expectation each activity supports.
In addition, the KAEE team is also creating each activity’s “guiding question,” or brief suggestion relating to a phenomenon (or phenomena) that helps educators connect phenomena at the beginning of their students’ learning experience, thereby increasing its relevance for students and helping guide students' inquiry and learning.
“In Kentucky, our facilitators train more educators in Project WILD than any other program we host,” Brittany says. “The Project WILD curriculum is an excellent tool for nonformal educators and formal educators alike. We are thrilled to partner with them in making Project WILD even more applicable to the formal educator with the development of these correlations. Teachers and students are held to high standards, and Project WILD can provide amazing experiences that lead students to a deeper understanding of the three-dimensional nature of science through wildlife.”
Learn more about Project WILD and how you can become trained in the curriculum here!
By Leigh Cocanougher
Join us—virtually!—this September! The 2020 Kentucky Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference will be held online this year, allowing for expanded creativity, recorded sessions (so you can attend ALL of them instead of being forced to choose between offerings), virtual happy hours, and a tremendous amount of EE information and fun!
We know that for many of our members and friends KAEE’s annual conference is like “a big family reunion” and an in-person event not to be missed, and the decision to transition to a virtual event for 2020 was bittersweet. Our board of directors and staff had numerous conversations about options for hosting the conference, and in the end, we all decided that moving to an online format for this year was the best way to keep everyone—the individual participants and our communities at large—healthy and safe.
And there are countless perks to the new format: recorded sessions that participants can watch anytime; opportunities to incorporate creative technology into sessions; reduced registration costs; virtual meetups for special interest groups; regional outdoor activities tied to conference themes; virtual happy hours; and more.
Call for Proposals
The call for proposals is open, and given our plans to transition to an online format, we have extended the deadline to submit a proposal to June 7. To submit a proposal for a virtual session, complete the form here.
This year's theme is "Community Engagement: Building Sustainable Communities through the Power of Environmental Education.” Conference strands for 2020 include Education (EE Curriculum Programs, K-12 Education, Adult & Family Education, STEM, Green & Health Schools, etc.), Partnerships & Innovation (Community Partnerships, New & Innovative Projects, etc.), Civic Action (Community Service Projects, Service Learning, Green Schools Community Projects, etc.), and Capacity Building (Outreach, Fundraising, Communications, Messaging, Branding, Technology, etc.)
Conference registration, with a reduced cost and sliding scale for participation, will open this July. For more details, visit the 2020 KAEE Conference webpage.
Tomorrow is #kygives20, and so many of our members and friends are among the 246 organizations joining together with Kentuckians for a powerful day of action!
The eighth annual Kentucky Gives Day is hosted by Kentucky Nonprofit Network and benefits 501 c(3) charities and organizations in the fields of human services, health care, children, the arts, humanitarian aid, animal welfare, the environment, and more.
Lasting 24 hours, the event allows participating organizations—many of whom are, like our members, the “boots on the ground” in their fields of work—to raise funds that, now more than ever, are greatly needed and appreciated.
“COVID-19 has changed so much, but it can’t change Kentucky’s giving spirit,” said Danielle Clore, CEO of Kentucky Nonprofit Network. “Kentuckians are needed to rally for a powerful day of action on May 12 to support the causes that help keep our communities healthy and thriving. Together we can keep Kentucky strong."
Learn about all the participating organizations and make your donations at kygives.org/.
Like educators all around the world, Emily Webb has recently developed numerous virtual lessons to keep her students engaged and learning while they are at home. Co-director and lead teacher at Lexington Friends Preschool, Emily recently incorporated environmental education into her distance learning curriculum with a unit about seed dispersal.
“I asked the children to make a seed dispersal apparatus to see how far they could make a single dandelion seed travel,” she said. And the ideas her students showed her were outstanding. With his parents’ permission, Emily shared with us a video of kindergarten student George Bell and his “throw blow” machine. “This family helped incorporate all aspects of STEM learning for their child,” Emily said. “The new, sudden role of homeschooling their child, a new skill for so many parents, was pulled off really well!”
Other lessons in the EE unit included counting the number of seeds on the head of a dandelion, watching a couple of short videos on different ways seeds travel, and a comprehension activity using Eric Carle's book "A Tiny Seed.”
“I love seeing pictures of the children's work at home,” Emily says. “Several of them will send videos or post videos of themselves doing the activities in their yards, in their pajamas, with their siblings. They seem relaxed and happy, and I am encouraged knowing these activities give them meaningful and creative ways to spend time with their families.”
Because for students in preschool and kindergarten so much of the learning is experiential, Emily said, “a big part of the experience is learning with their peers,” which has been brought to a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “So I've suggested parents use virtual meeting platforms so the kids can do the activities together.”
Emily feels that her kindergarten students participating in the daily online videos are “enjoying the content, sparking discussion at home, and extending the activities.” Even knowing this, though, she does miss “the energy and spirit the children bring to the lessons” while in school together. “When I’m doing a lesson to an empty room or computer screen, I can imagine what the kids at home are saying/how they are reacting,” she said. “Usually their questions and enthusiasm are what drives the curriculum, so it definitely feels like a big piece of the puzzle is missing right now!”
Though Emily and her fellow teachers in Kentucky and around the globe are eager to return to the classroom, all of them are inspiring us and others in their innovative, adaptable lesson plans and virtual activities. They remain our heroes, during this time and for evermore.
By Leigh Cocanougher
KAEE is one of the country’s oldest associations supporting environmental education. We comprise people from all walks of life, coming together to support EE.