State of Outdoor and Environmental Learning
in the Southwest
A partnership between the USDA Forest Service’s Southwestern Region, Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE), and Environmental Education of New Mexico (EENM) that involves shared values of community, interdependence, and care for present and future generations led to the development of the State of Outdoor and Environmental Learning (SOEL): A Landscape Analysis of Opportunities in the Southwest. SOEL is a regional inventory of outdoor and environmental learning initiatives, curricula, and programs in the Southwestern region. SOEL includes programs, resources, and initiatives in conservation, experiential, environmental, nature-based, outdoor, and place-based learning that support the many valuable ways children can engage in the outdoors and environmental education.
The SOEL is a tool for 1) decision makers to use for data-driven decision making for resourcing environmental and outdoor learning, 2) organizations to seek partners and collaboration, and 3) educators (formal and informal) and families to become familiar with opportunities near them.
The SOEL includes 1) an inventory of outdoor and environmental learning opportunities, initiatives, curricula, and programs throughout Arizona and New Mexico, 2) a data visualization tool to interpret the data and 3) resources for using the inventory.
The data from the SOEL can guide the development of new and existing programs, by identifying gaps and targeting where additional support and investment can have the greatest impact. Program providers and organizations can better understand the audiences we collectively serve to determine where there are underrepresented communities.
The SOEL can help you find data-driven solutions for providing more meaningful and equitable outdoor and environmental learning experiences. Explore SOEL to identify opportunities such as: (1) how to connect with others already engaged in outdoor and environmental learning; (2) ways to enhance public-private partnerships, especially important given the abundance of non-profit organizations providing outdoor and environmental education; and (3) how to adapt programs in response to unanticipated situations such as Covid-19.
If you live and work in New Mexico please fill out the form to add your programs to SOEL: New Mexico SOEL Program Submission Form.
Thank you to the McCune Charitable Foundation and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge for their generous support in the development of the 2017/2018 K-12th grade environmental education program inventory. The new SOEL is built upon this previous inventory.