• Fri, June 26, 2020 8:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Environmental Educators of North Carolina is excited to announce that we will be hosting our 2020 EENC Conference virtually. The virtual conference will take place on our originally planned dates of September 18 and 19. 

    This was not a decision we took lightly. Nearly 200 educators provided feedback through the survey we sent a couple of weeks ago. The results clearly showed that many educators were uncertain if they would be able to attend the conference in-person this year for many reasons, including personal safety, travel restrictions, and funding availability. 

    By pivoting to a virtual conference now, we can dedicate the time needed to plan a wonderful virtual experience for you! You can expect two half-days of virtual sessions and a keynote speaker. Thanks to your suggestions, we will also include lots of opportunities to network virtually. We are also planning to hold section events within a couple weeks of the conference so educators have more opportunities to get together for some fun activities, in-person and virtually. 

    Registration for the new virtual event will open mid-July, so keep an eye out for additional details. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the EENC Conference Chairs, Shannon Culpepper and Trent Stanforth at

  • Mon, June 22, 2020 8:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NAAEE is working with Professors Marc Stern (Virginia Tech) and Bob Powell (Clemson) to disseminate a survey about the needs of the field regarding the evaluation of environmental education (EE) programming. The goals are to better understand current practices, hopes, and challenges to inform the development of tools and services for the field and to promote culturally responsive evaluation as we work to build a new evaluation portal.

    If you are an EE instructor, manager, or director, we hope you will take about 15 minutes to fill out the survey and help us learn more about your thoughts on evaluation.

    You can find the survey at the following link: 

    The survey will remain open until June 30, and your responses will be kept confidential.

    Thank you so much! And we look forward to sharing the results in the future.

    Encuesta: Estimar las condiciones y las necesidades de la evaluación en EA

    NAAEE, en conjunto con Profesor Marc Stern (Virginia Tech) y Profesor Bob Powell (Universidad Clemson), busca las perspectivas de una gran variedad de profesionales sobre las necesidades con respeto a la evaluación de los programas de educación ambiental (EA). Las metas de esta encuesta son entender mejor las prácticas, las esperanzas, y los retos actuales para informar el desarrollo de servicios para la profesión y para promover la evaluación culturalmente receptiva.

    Si es un instructor, coordinador, o director de EA, queremos su opinión. Esta encuesta en el vínculo le llevará 15 minutos: 

    Sus respuestas son confidenciales. La encuesta estará disponible hasta la 30 de junio.

    Gracias! Compartiremos los resultados en el futuro.


    Judy Braus
    NAAEE Executive Director

    Note: EENC is our state's affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

  • Wed, June 17, 2020 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As a Rethink Outside partner, EENC is part of a growing effort to unify and amplify a shared narrative around time spent in nature, reshaping how people think about and prioritize the outdoors and its benefits. Coordinated by Blue Sky Funders Forum, and launched in October 2019, this shared narrative aims to tell a unifying story and engage new partners to bring the promise of healthy communities to all.

    In order to provide guidance and support to organizations seeking to elevate connections to the outdoors during COVID-19, Blue Sky has released a new Rethink Outside messaging brief. This messaging brief draws on best practices in frame-based messaging, recent studies of narrative change, and guidance from the NAACP on how to communicate effectively and respectfully during a time of crisis. It offers a roadmap for connecting the tested values and core message of the Rethink Outside shared narrative with the ever-changing public conversation. It is designed to serve as a bridge between the extraordinary focus at this moment on public health and public economies, and the conversations that must come next around how to build safer, healthier communities for all.

    This messaging is designed for you to use in communications with stakeholders regarding how your organization is evolving during COVID-19. It is intended to be a tool for your existing communications efforts, if you have need and capacity. It is not a requirement and there is no expectation it be used if it is not helpful for your organization.

    You can download the messaging brief here. Below are additional resources and opportunities to engage with Rethink Outside. 

    You can learn more at Please contact the Blue Sky team at with any questions.

  • Fri, June 12, 2020 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This morning, I found myself with tears in my eyes.  Remembering a loved one is like that.  Out of nowhere a cherished memory finds its way into your consciousness. Tears of fondness found their way into my eyes in memory of a beloved father.  And what was it you might ask that prompted this reaction in my 42 year old self, and 4 years after his death?  It was a childhood memory of Sunday mornings sitting at his feet while he read...the Mark Trail comic.  

    The Sunday comic strip by Mark Trail that my Dad would read to me typically highlighted a particular species or topic.  The comic began in 1946, and has been teaching people about the preservation of our natural resources ever since.  Various publications were also published under the Mark Trail name, including for government and nonprofit groups.  Mark Trail also won many conservation awards.  As with anything that has been around that long, there is some controversy over gender representation and out-dated science, but it is an amazing timeline of reaching the general public regarding conservation.

    Learning the history of this historical interpreter was simply a fun detour prompted by this memory.  What was most poignant to me, is the reminder that it is the off-hand, unassuming moments that often teach us so much, as children and adults alike.  Relationships, passions, and a heart for sharing, all touch those around us in meaningful ways.  In this time of “isolation”, “quarantine”, “social-distancing” and “phased reopening,” we find our circles smaller and, perhaps, more open to contemplation. 

    Most of us have had our interpretation work significantly altered in 2020.  But, we ALL have a community we continue to make a meaningful impact on.  Six months ago we may have been too hurried, or harried, to share these teachable moments with what is now our closest circle:  hiking, but also picking up trash and carrying it out, not as an organized cleanup, but just because;  exploring historical experiences of the Spanish Flu and 1918 Influenza Pandemic, not as a required school assignment, but for curiosity's sake; shadowing a sea turtle volunteer(because, well, sea turtles aren’t under a stay at home order and nesting season has begun), to learn more about turtles to share with my circle, just because I am interested and have the time; sharing a social media post about baby bats to an audience that may have been too busy to give it a look several months ago, and thus increasing awareness in a quiet, unassuming way.  

    We are interpreters.  Our execution of that passion may have been altered, but has not been eliminated.  As long as there are people on this Earth, we will be called to, and have the opportunity to, share our passions.  Chin up.  You are still making a mark. Your community, whatever that looks like right now, is waiting.   Embrace it.  Be fulfilled by it.  Enjoy it.

  • Wed, June 03, 2020 9:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We join you this week in mourning and frustration over the ongoing harm that people of color experience in our country, including the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the racism experienced by Christian Cooper while he was birding in Central Park. We recognize that they represent a small and recent sample of a much larger issue, and that there cannot be inclusive environmental education in outdoor spaces until all people feel safe in their communities. 

    Environmental education is critical for a sustainable future. It provides time in - and a connection to - the outdoors which research has shown to improve academic performance and physical, mental, and emotional health, making it just as important for our participants as it is for the planet. EENC embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to our work. It will take people of all ages and backgrounds working together to achieve our vision for a sustainable future. We believe everyone regardless of race, creed, age, sexual/gender identity, income, physical/mental ability, etc. should feel welcome in EE activities in North Carolina to reap these various benefits.  

    As part of a continuing initiative to support our members, EENC has compiled an entire online library of equity and inclusion resources - information to help all of us become better allies (if white), understand our own biases, and create more inclusive learning environments. A selection of resources can be found by clicking on the links below.

    We rededicate ourselves to listening and working toward a more equitable, anti-racist future. Will you join us? 

  • Fri, May 29, 2020 9:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thanks to our amazing donors this spring, EENC is launching a webinar series to help environmental educators continue to build skills as we all negotiate the new normal with COVID-19. Throughout the series, we hope to cover a wide range of topics. Webinars may focus on lesson plans, curricula development, technology and virtual learning, naturalist skills/knowledge, educator self-care or environmental education operations such as communications, strategic planning for your program/department, risk management, or equity and inclusion.

    We're planning to start these in June and offer webinars every week for at least 16 weeks. Recognizing that not everyone has the same set schedules, we're planning a rotating day-of-the-week strategy at 1 pm. Check out the upcoming webinars here.

    Webinar registration is free and open to anyone to attend, but is limited to 100 participants.  A recording of the webinar will be sent to attendees afterward.  It will also be posted on EENC's members-only page - so if you're an EENC member and not able to attend during the scheduled time, no need to register!

    Do you have a topic you'd like to present on?  Click here to learn more and submit your idea.

    Webinars will qualify for Criteria III and continuing education for NC DEQ EE Certificate.

  • Thu, May 14, 2020 3:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please consider completing and sharing this survey from the Children & Nature Network by May 19.

    In recent weeks, we’ve seen people around the world turn to nature for reprieve and respite from the stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve also seen temporary improvements in air quality and other environmental impacts resulting from the global pause. We are interested in understanding how participants in the broad movement to connect people to nature are thinking about changes in their attitudes and behaviors, as well as societal changes, in response to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders. We are also interested in understanding how and if people anticipate their own and others’ behavior to change long-term. We feel this information could have important implications for program and policy priorities in the months ahead. The survey is open from May 12 - 19 and results will be shared broadly.

    All responses will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. If comments are used to provide illustrative examples of survey respondents’ attitudes, care will be taken to ensure that any information that may identify the respondent is removed. This survey is a collaboration between the Children & Nature Network, University of Minnesota and many other organizations.

    EENC is sharing this as a proud member of the Children & Nature Network and affiliate of NAAEE.

  • Thu, April 30, 2020 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this time of physical distancing, we've been hearing from educators across the state about the need for community. EENC has hosted a handful of community calls in response to COVID-19, but we're hearing the demand for more!  As an organization with one staff, our capacity is limited.  Will you help fill this need?

    We are looking for help with hosting online community building.  EENC can provide an online platform and help spread the word, but we need volunteers willing to take the lead to plan, facilitate and moderate live conversations. You can pick any conversation topic that matches your interests, but online community building might look like:

    • Social events (ex: happy hour, live outdoor scavenger hunt, group trivia)
    • Focus group conversations on a specific topic (ex: summer camp , fundraising) 
    • Conversations among a particular audience (ex: managers, furloughed educators, working parents with kids at home)

    You don't have to be an expert to host any of these!  You just have to be willing to help get others talking.

    We are also looking for people to host online professional development webinars.  Needs we've heard include: graphic design, how to make a good EE video, how to set up a Google Classroom/online learning platform, and NC DEQ EE Certification Criteria II ("Outdoor Environmental Education Experiences").  

    Want to help? Contact Lauren Pyle to get involved.

  • Fri, April 17, 2020 2:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Environmental education is not cancelled! EENC is thrilled to announce that we're helping 10 educators from across our state take on EE projects to support student learning in science, art, literacy, and civic engagement.

    Congratulations to the 2020 mini-grant awardees:

    • Karen Chapman, W.D. Williams Elementary, "Pollinator Garden"
    • Sandra Dixon, Pioneer Springs Community School, "Worms at Work"
    • Jenna Hartley, NC State University, "Picking up more than just litter: empowering students as local community change agents on the topic of marine debris"
    • Tatiana Height, UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies, "Cottage Gardens Resource Center Environmental Education Summer Program"
    • Teresa Leavens, NC State University, "Intertwined Summer Science Camp"
    • Marisa Sedlak, Town of Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation, "Naturalist Packs"
    • Trent Stanforth, Johnston Community College, "Nature PlaySpace Play Day Materials"
    • Willard Watson, Blowing Rock Art & History Museum,"Environmental Art Month"
    • Wendy Wilson, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, "Nature Learning Library"
    • Mir Youngquist-Thurow, Agape Center for Environmental Education, "Water Quality Testing Replenishment"

    Our grant recipients will be working on projects now through December 1.  We'll share photos and stories as they finish. Stay tuned to see how these EENC members are promoting excellence in environmental education!

  • Wed, April 15, 2020 1:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please Share What You’re Doing!

    Are you offering virtual programming for students or educators? Doing regular live-streams? Adding new video content to your website? Make sure you’re posting it in our partner the NC Office of EE’s Resource Database with the “COVID-19 Educator Resources" tag.Tip: you can add it as a resource AND to their calendar in a single entry so you can post it in two places at once!

    Looking for online professional development while at home? Thinking about creating content but don’t want to duplicate ages/topics? Looking for resources to share in your organization’s social media, newsletters, or other communications? Find the answers you are looking for in the database.

    Spread The Word

    We’re hearing that parents and teachers are overwhelmed by lists – and they are just taking advantage of online learning opportunities as they happen across them. If you’re using Facebook Events to promote your online learning, EENC and the NC Office of EE want to help you amplify your work so it shows up on more feeds. 

    Tag EENC (@EENCfriends) and the NC Office of EE (@NorthCarolinaEE) as co-hosts for your event! Once we accept your invitation to co-host, it’ll show up on our pages and to our followers. Facebook let’s you have multiple co-hosts for events, so you can also do the same thing with your partners to help spread the word locally.

    Posting on other platforms? Use the hashtags #NCEarthDay50, #NCBackyardNature, and #NCEnviroEducators.

    Look For Opportunities

    If you’re thinking of developing content (whether for your organization or to build your portfolio during a furlough), here are some suggestions we’ve been hearing:

    • Short inspirational, fun videos that show parents how to do easy at home activities with their kids. Model how to flip a log. Live in apartment complex? Take a video of yourself sharing how you can find nature anywhere. Better yet, if you have kids, show your kids doing it! We’re hearing parents don’t need fully organized activities – they just need something quick and easy that looks like fun.
    • Online workshops for EE certification credit. There’s especially a need for online Criteria II! Contact the NC Office of EE for more details, but you can offer this by providing an instructional webinar component with outdoor “homework” to do after.
    • Share your story! How did you become an environmental educator? What have you found outside recently that inspires you? What is happening "behind the scenes" while your workplace is closed? Celebrate other amazing environmental educators in your lives by giving them shout-out's like this.
    • City Nature Challenge, April 24-27. Recruit your community to participate!

    We’ve also heard the need for continued communication between our community to help make physical distancing feel not so distant. As we add calls and online gatherings, we’ll post them on our events page here.

Environmental Educators of North Carolina

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