Betsy Wilkening (Education Coordinator, Tucson Program, Arizona Project WET) and LoriAnne Barnett (Education Coordinator; USA National Phenology Network at UArizona) attended the NAAEE 2018 Pre-Conference Train-the-Trainer Workshop for delivering best-practice content to our communities using the Community Engagement Resource, Number 6 in the broader NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence Series. This set of Guidelines focuses on community wellness and is designed to help environmental educators create inclusive environments that support effective partnerships and collaborations. Five Key Characteristics of sound Community Programs include:
- Developing content that is community centered
- Ensuring that your program is built on sound environmental education principles
- Being collaborative and inclusive and thoughtful in your design
- Outcomes are designed to be oriented toward capacity building and civic action
- Adhering to a long-term investment in change
Many programs across our state, including those currently offered by Arizona Project WET, the USA-NPN’s Nature’s Notebook Local Phenology Leader Program, and the Arizona Master Naturalist Program have these characteristics already built into their foundation. The Guidelines for Excellence are also foundational to our Arizona Association for Environmental Education Certification Programs.
Both Betsy and LoriAnne will be developing Community Engagement workshops open to participation by others in the very near future. They are members of the NAAEE Guidelines Trainers Bureau, along with Lisa Herrmann from the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation in Phoenix. The Trainers are planning a series of workshops around the state in 2019, including sharing information at the planned 2019 AAEE Annual Conference (date September, TBD). There is a Guidelines for Excellence Workshop Scheduled in Yuma on February 9th, 2019 at the Colorado River State Historic Park. We will also be adding options for participation in Tucson, Phoenix, and Prescott soon, so stay tuned for more information. Details will appear on our eeWorkshops page as they become available. We hope you’ll join us!