This July, the Board of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education approved the organization’s new Strategic Plan, a plan that focuses on one overarching question: “What would it take for us to truly achieve our vision?”
“Embarking on a new strategic plan has come at an opportune time for KAEE,” writes KAEE Executive Director in the plan’s Executive Summary. “Throughout the past few years we have made great strides to strengthen the organization and move toward becoming a thriving, resilient nonprofit. With this significant growth has come the chance to reflect and focus on ways we can better meet the needs of our education community and succeed in achieving our mission.”
The mission? To “increase environmental knowledge and community engagement in Kentucky through the power of environmental education.”
And the vision? “A sustainable world where environmental and social responsibility drive individual and institutional choices.”
The newly adopted Strategic Plan explains that “environmental education (EE) provides the skills necessary for people of all ages to make intelligent, informed decisions about the environment and how they can take care of it. EE builds human capacity, influences attitudes, and can lead to action. Most importantly, it can help people make informed decisions about the environment that lead to lifelong stewardship and a more sustainable society.”
With this definition and the new mission and vision in mind, the plan lays out goals and strategies in key areas including “Advancing Environmental Literacy,” “Building Our Audience,” and “Cultivating Collective Impact.”
With clearly defined desired outcomes, the plan includes strategies for success in all three areas. KAEE will continue—and strive to broaden—the work the organization has long been doing in the realm of promoting professional development and best practices in EE. They will with great intentionality work to increase public support for and investment in the field of EE, reach broader audiences, and better tell the story not only of what they are doing but why EE is so crucial for the future of Kentucky. And they will determinedly strive to bring people together to create a stronger and more inclusive EE movement.
“Taking a systems-thinking approach to this work has helped us understand that we have a huge opportunity to increase our impact,” Hoffman explains. “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.”
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.