AAEE Celebrates Earth Day!

The year is 1970. Over 500,000 copies of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring have been sold in over 24 countries, civic engagement is on the rise, and awareness of the connection between environmental and human health has entered dinner table conversations in homes across America. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, announces a plan for a “national teach-in on the environment,” and the idea for Earth Day is born. April 22, 1970, and over 20 million Americans take to the parks, auditoriums, and town halls to join the national conversation about how to address the growing concerns. Earth Day unified voters from all parties and walks of life, legislators came together and signed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into law, and the nation united for the health of the planet and generations to come.

Forty-eight years later, in honor of these national commitments and in pursuit of our organization’s vision, AAEE joined millions across the globe coming together to celebrate the Earth and engage in these same conversations, collaborating with communities to reconnect with and protect our natural resources. For Earth Day, the AAEE co-sponsored the Kid’s Earth Day Celebration in the heart of downtown of Prescott, Arizona. With a focus on Nelson’s original “teach-in” concepts, the kid’s area was dedicated to learning through exploration & fun.

Over 280 children from the Tri-City Area surrounding Prescott attended the event with their families, indicating well over 200 seeds planted, faces painted with local critters, natural bird feeders made, nature objects explored, healthy snacks consumed, environmental scavenger hunts completed, and so much more! AAEE also gave away free nature-based kids’ books to any young Earth Day explorers stopping by our table. 

Like all of AAEE’s work, this event was made possible by collaboration with formal and non-formal environmental education organizations of Arizona and the efforts of dedicated volunteers. This year, we united with four other programs: Educational Expeditions, the Center for Nature and Place-based Early Childhood Education, Yavapai Cooperative Extension SNAP-Ed, and the Prescott Community Gardens, to collaboratively create an interdisciplinary and exciting space for kids. Environmental Education students from Prescott College designed and prepared many of the activities as well. Big thanks to those 15 student-volunteers that showed up armed with green bandanas, 60 paint brushes and gallons of paint, 1 guitar, 2 pirate costumes, 200 pine cones, pounds of peanut butter, a wild assortment of nature objects, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, collaboratively creating a day filled with enough Earth celebration to inspire us all year long. Nelson’s dream for a “national teach-in” with communities coming together united by environmental education lives on. 

Experiential Interpretive Design – A New Perspective on Interpretation

Since my first AAEE meeting in the 1980s at Pima College, I have appreciated the networking this organization has offered members. Now after forty years of focusing on environmental and earth education I am returning to the field of interpretation and visitor services. With my two other Interpreteers, Bill Reynolds of Canada and Lars Wohler of Germany, we are starting Experiential Interpretive Design (EID) to work with big and small museums, parks and nature centers, zoos, aquariums and historic sites. Places we call preservation, collection and historic recognition sites. We deeply love these places in all there many iterations and are profoundly concerned they are losing their relevance.

EID wants to work with sites to tie together each building, path, hallway, project, exhibit and interpretive offering so every experience reinforces meaning and creates memories for the visitors. We want to coach staff members to become on-site Experiential Interpretive Designers through workshops, training, and discussions on our website and blog. We are not interested in just being consultants who come and go. We invite you to visit us at www.eidcoaching.com, or contact me directly at mike.mayer@eidcoaching.com, if this adventure interests you or your site. Thanks again AAEE for this opportunity share and Happy 2018 to everyone, and don’t forget — spend some time outdoors today.

Feedback Sought on Global EE Priorities

The Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) is seeking feedback on a proposed plan for advancing environmental education (EE) over the next decade and beyond.

A draft global “call for action” has been crafted by environmental leaders from around the world, but it needs input from EE professionals around the world to help shape our collective agenda. GEEP has identified 10 possible actions for the future, but they want to know what you think the priorities should be, and what actions we need to take in the next decade and beyond to move our work forward.

Take a few minutes to visit ActNowforEE.org and read the draft Call for Action. Then fill out a brief survey and encourage educators in your networks to participate, too.

GEEP is a partnership between the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and NAAEE.

Feedback is being accepted through Earth Day, April 22, 2018.

Learn more about Act Now for EE. 

Take the survey and help shape priorities for the field of Environmental Education.