The Environmental Literacy Community of Practice (ELCoP) is a convening of practitioners and supporters of environmental education to collectively develop solutions that foster an environmentally literate population in Arizona. Anyone who supports and promotes environmental education and people’s connection to nature is invited and encouraged to contribute experience, knowledge and/or resources toward concrete solutions that are developed collaboratively.
Why Form a Community of Practice?
Arizona has a rich diversity of people, agencies, businesses and organizations that are working to connect populations of children and adults with learning experiences that encourage outdoor time, develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and foster strong connections between Arizonans and their human and non-human communities. The experiences being offered fall on a spectrum from self-directed outdoor play to academic, standards-based classroom programs with a focus on environmental learning. All share the common interest of supporting healthy, vibrant, active and empowered people.
While each of these entities is “moving the needle” in their own way, they each face similar challenges of lack of access, resources, and information; misperceptions about the intent of environmental learning; and a variety of real and perceived barriers experienced by potential learners. A community of practice provides a structure through which all of these entities can combine knowledge, experiences and resources to address these challenges with real solutions. The ELCoP is a way to take collective action!
Who Can Participate?
Anyone who supports and promotes environmental education and peoples’ connection to nature. The ELCoP welcomes diverse perspectives and approaches. Any work that creates positive connections between people and their natural environment makes a relevant contribution to environmental literacy and has an important voice.
What is the CoP Working On?
AAEE’s Environmental Literacy Community of Practice (ELCoP) recently held the 2018 Arizona Environmental Literacy Summit with participants representing a diverse group of EE practitioners and supporters. At this summit we considered AAEE’s strategic goals, survey responses from our recent survey of Arizona environmental educators and our own knowledge and experiences to determine priorities for the ELCoP over the next three years.
Based on the results of our summit discussions, the ELCoP Steering Committee makes these broad recommendations for current priorities to help us “move the needle” for environmental literacy:
- Build a strong network of EE providers in Arizona with a clear understanding of who practices EE and what their needs are.
- Expand AAEE’s resource database to represent the diversity of resources and providers available in the state.
- Develop and implement a broad and consistent message about the value of EE to grow support from all stakeholders in Arizona.
To move forward on these broad priorities over the next few years, AAEE has established four new working groups: EE PK-12 , EE Advocacy working group, EE Stakeholders and EE Early Childhood. Additionally, AAEE’s standing committees will be including these priorities in their work plans.
How Do I Get Involved?
You can support environmental literacy in Arizona and the Community of Practice by joining one of our working groups or standing committees. For more information and to download the full report of recommendations from the 2018 Environmental Literacy Summit click the button below.