WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) was selected to lead a five-year cooperative agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) through the National Environmental Education Training Program. This work, beginning in 2017, will bring together a collection of stellar partners, including Antioch University, the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Earth Force, the NAAEE Affiliate Network, Project Learning Tree, Stanford University and the University of Oregon, as well as five federal agencies: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. The highly-competitive cooperative agreement is awarded every five years by U.S. EPA's Office of Environmental Education to provide and deliver environmental education (EE) training and long-term support to educators across the country.
As environmental challenges mount and educators in every sector are increasingly called to help Americans of all ages understand the changing world around us, it's more important than ever to strengthen the field of environmental education. For more than four decades, NAAEE has served as the professional association, champion and backbone organization for environmental education, working with a diverse group of educators in North America and beyond to create a brighter future. NAAEE has set the standard for the field of environmental education and for supporting educators working in all sectors of society, from schools and universities to businesses, community centers, nature centers, zoos and aquariums and other institutions. ee360 will result in a cadre of diverse professionals that will ultimately ensure that we are able to create an environmentally literate and engaged public that is building resilient communities and working to create a healthier, more sustainable future for us all.
"With this agreement, NAAEE and our partner, U.S. EPA, as well as our distinguished consortium members, will be able to provide training, resources and opportunities over the next five years to grow, strengthen and diversity the field of environmental education," said Judy Braus, NAAEE's Executive Director. "We think ee360 will be a huge step forward in unifying the field and creating more innovative ways to include EE in all aspects of society. It's all about using the power of education to create a more sustainable future."
With a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the ee360 proposal strives to ensure that at least 30 percent of participants in every activity are people of color and many initiatives having a much higher percentage. Braus emphasized that this goal was essential, as the field strives to reflect the changing demographics in our country: "It's not only a moral imperative, but a business imperative. Everyone needs to be part of the discussions and everyone needs to have access to high-quality environmental education. We look forward to working with the Center for Diversity and Environment, and other partners, to help ensure that leaders in our field have the training and skills to work with people from all backgrounds."
The program will also help strengthen existing networks and work to engage younger audiences through technology and entertainment, including a new podcast that is being developed and hosted by NAAEE's Deputy Director, Christiane Maertens, featuring engaging interviews with EE professionals, and profiles of pioneering programs around the world.
"NAAEE is uniquely positioned to lead ee360. It already serves as a linchpin for the field and is bringing together some of the most progressive and passionate EE organizations to do this work," said Pepe Marcos-Iga, NAAEE Board Chair and Chief Operating Officer, Western National Parks Association. "Together with EPA and our partners, we look forward to helping bring more innovation to our work, with a focus on professional development and long-term support to strengthen the entire field of environmental education."
The North American Association for Environmental Education is a pioneering membership organization dedicated to accelerating environmental literacy and civic engagement through the power of education. NAAEE supports a network of more than 20,000 educators, researchers, and organizational members working in environmental education in more than 30 countries through direct membership and 53 regional affiliate organizations. Through community networks, publications, signature programs, and eeNEWS and eeJOBS, NAAEE provides programming and resources for professionals working in all areas of the field. For more information, visit www.naaee.org and www.naaee.org/eePRO.
SOURCE North American Association for Environmental Education