AAEE Board Member, Ellen Bashor, to Implement Innovative Educational Program in Arizona


Arizona, August 17, 2018—Thirty-two outstanding Fellows from around the world have been selected by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) in cooperation with U.S. EPA to help address community environmental and social issues around the world. Ellen Bashor, of Prescott, AZ, joins a diverse group of talented educators and conservationists who are using the power of education to help tackle tough issues in their communities and striving to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

The fellowship program is a part of the National Environmental Education Training Program established by the U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, a national professional development program that has been building the professional capacity of educators since 1992. NAAEE, in cooperation with U.S. EPA, leads a consortium of nonprofit, higher education, and federal partners in the latest phase of the program, called ee360. The consortium works together to provide professional development opportunities for educators and strengthen the field of environmental education. The program also focuses on building leadership skills and providing high-quality resources for the field.

This class of 32 Fellows represents 14 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and four countries: India, Nepal, New Zealand, and China. Support for the international Fellows was made possible through a generous grant from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. The goals of the fellowship are to bring talented and passionate community leaders together to hone their community leadership skills (including strategic communications, fundraising, evaluation, strategic planning, and more) and build a professional learning community that Fellows can tap into as they develop a local community action project. All Fellows are using education to address an environmental threat and improve community well-being.

“I’m blown away by this group of leaders. They are inspiring, passionate, skilled, and committed change makers! As the world continues to grapple with the right strategies to address environmental threats, we can’t forget that community education and action are some of the most effective tools in our toolbox,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education. “The wonderful exchange of ideas, experiences, stories, and resources, as well as the lasting bonds that were built during their time together at the leadership workshop, have given these fellows an invaluable boost to their projects, scaling the impact of their work to a new level.” “It’s amazing to see that Ellen Bashor’s work in the Arizona Environmental Education community and beyond has made a positive impact and that those efforts are recognized by NAAEE and ee360,” said LoriAnne Barnett, Arizona Association for Environmental Education’s President. “We’re excited to leverage what Ellen Bashor, a member of our Board of Directors, gains through this fellowship to continue to cultivate an environmentally literate community in Arizona, empowering all sectors to improve the collective effectiveness of environmental education.”

Fellows were selected based on four key criteria: experience in environmental education, commitment to community development, engagement in community partnerships, and creation of innovative solutions. These Fellows are working on projects ranging from getting young people engaged in ecologically sound farming practices to building community resilience, promoting citizen science programs to tackling water quality, showcasing the links between sanitation, health, and the environment, and using virtual reality to promote caring about marine issues.  

As part of the eighteen-month program, Fellows benefit from:

  • An intensive five-day leadership and professional development workshop held in July 2018
  • Engaging webinars throughout the duration of the program
  • Access to mini-grant funds to support innovative community action projects
  • Mentoring and networking opportunities, including access to NAAEE’s eePRO professional development site
  • Scholarships to attend the 2018 NAAEE Annual International Conference, a gathering of more than 1,000 environmental education leaders from around the world

To learn more about Ellen Bashor and her planned community action project, visit http://www.naaee.org/ee360fellowship.

About Arizona Association for Environmental Education

As one of the 56 Affiliates within the Affiliate Network of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) supports formal and informal educators providing programming and content to a wide variety of citizens of all ages. As an Affiliate of NAAEE, we host a variety of networking and professional learning opportunities in state, as well as collaborate with other NAAEE Affiliates to host events at the annual NAAEE conference as well as webinars, online discussions, and blogs. AAEE strives to provide professional development opportunities, such as the Environmental Education Certification Program, across the state of Arizona.

About ee360

An ambitious multi-year initiative, ee360 connects and promotes innovative leaders dedicated to advancing environmental literacy for everyone, everywhere. Led by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), ee360 is made possible through funding and support from US EPA and seven partner organizations representing universities and nonprofits across the country, and five federal agencies. Through this partnership, ee360 brings together more than four decades of expertise to grow, strengthen, and diversify the environmental education field. Visit ee360.org to learn more.

Arizona Association for Environmental Education Supports #RedForEd

The Arizona Association for Environmental Education stands with #RedforEd.

We stand with the Arizona teachers who are struggling with inadequate wages, inadequate funding for supplies, and inadequate buildings to teach in. We stand with the children whose educational experiences are diminished due to this lack of funding, despite the inspiring compassion and generosity their teachers bring to the classroom each day. As an organization dedicated to the field of formal and non-formal environmental education, which promotes best practices in all we do, we know that providing children with the quality of education they deserve, indoors and out is inhibited by limited monetary and legislative support.

Currently, the state of Arizona is ranked among the bottom of the states for public school funding and equitable distribution of that funding. We have teacher shortages, students without school supplies, cut field trips, outdated textbooks with inaccurate information being utilized, underpaid or absent support staff positions, and so much more. These issues affect not only those in public education but the communities as well. The United Nations defines Sustainable Development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Currently, we have funding issues that not only do not meet the needs of present students, but make it more difficult for our teachers to give future generations of Arizonans the knowledge, efficacy, and agency to meet their own needs. This situation is not sustainable, and the Arizona Association for Environmental Education stands with #RedforEd to advocate for change.

Right now, as environmental educators, we’re turning our green color   #RedforEd in solidarity with all Arizona educators, their students, their students’ families, and all the communities out there. AAEE envisions a future where education, environmental education, and those involved receive the resources they need to succeed!

#GreenforRed #RedforEd

South Mountain Environmental Education Center: Building Community to Build Environmental Stewards!

In February 2016, the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC) reopened the South Mountain Environmental Education Center in partnership with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. Our joint mission is to offer environmental education to South Phoenix communities and visitors to South Mountain Park.

While celebrating the biological diversity of one of the largest municipal parks in the nation is an important aspect of our work, good environmental education also honors and celebrates the cultural history that has shaped the park and the people that live in the surrounding communities today. In this spirit, ACNC has been focusing on building relationships to help us understand the values, needs and interests of the people of South Phoenix and the great organizations that have been doing work locally for many more years than we have.

With support from local funders and the Flinn Foundation we’ve been hosting networking events to meet community members and seeking out partnerships with local organizations to help strengthen our collective impact. To support our friends at the Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain as they launch their first summer camp in the new center, ACNC and South Mountain Park staff teamed together to provide a half-day training for brand-new summer camp instructors about the natural history of the Sonoran Desert, techniques for engaging youth and how to be safe in the hot desert.

Our work together helps ensure that youth are receiving high quality environmental education experiences while we celebrate the strengths of each organization.

Why I EE…

National EE Week is April 23 – 29 and to celebrate we’d thought we’d take a moment to reflect on our work and celebrate everyone that is part of the EE community.

Traditionally environmental educators have been thought of as non-formal educators that facilitate programs and formal educators that use environmental lessons in their classrooms. These individuals are fantastic environmental educators AND so are the many people that work for the environment in many other ways.  Musicians, artists, journalists, biologists, activists, religious leaders are just a few of the types of people that engage others in developing skills, understanding and passion to address local and global challenges. These people, like non-formal and formal educators, inform, inspire and influence attitudes.

Why do we do EE?

Because people have an incredible impact on the Earth and we are also the only ones with the power to make it a positive one. EE helps develop critical thinking skills, sense of place, problem solving and empowerment.  We do EE because we care. We do EE because we want to help others think beyond themselves and care for future generations of people, plants and animals.

There are so many reasons that EE is critical today and every individual that approaches learning or engagement with the intent to empower, inspire and inform about the environment is an environmental educator.

Why do you EE? Tell us why and be part of the conversation online by using the hashtag #whyiee.

Thank you for all that you do and keep inspiring others!

Happy National EE Week!


100 Years in the Making: Wilderness & Education

This past month, the National Park Service celebrated their 100th birthday. This 100th year marks their continued effort to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”

In addition to the many programs that the National Park Service offers for preservation projects and community outreach, their education programs have also been widely acclaimed as well. With programs like Every Kid in a Park and others offered for educators such as professional development, field experiences, and distance learning, the opportunities for environmental education is vast.

The National Park Service offers some of the most effective environmental education programs and materials in the county, with many offering the ability for educators to get students into the wilderness and learn not just in a classroom, but in nature itself.

Other programs like Distance Learning provide the opportunity to interact with National Park Service Rangers and learn more about various national parks throughout the country. In addition to all of these options, the park service also offers in-class materials that can be used to strengthen curriculum and offer a variety of options for educators.

With the mission of the Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) being to improve the quality, scope, and effectiveness of environmental education in Arizona, the National Park Service is one of the most helpful and valuable assets, to not only organizations like ours, but educators throughout Arizona.

Which Arizona National Parks have you visited over the last year? How many National Parks have you visited in your lifetime?

To learn more about the National Park Service’s 100th birthday and their educational programs, visit https://www.nps.gov/teachers/index.htm. #FindYourPark