2019 Conference

promotion graphic split into three sections: top left with conference date and location; top right is a dinosaur skeleton from the museum, bottom section has the outside of the museum and there is the EENC logo along the left side of the flyer.

Make Us!

SEPTEMBER 19 - September 21, 2019

Schiele Museum of
Natural History,
Gastonia, NC

Jump to a section:

Registration     Schedule     Conference Maps     Registration Fees      Lodging     Keynote     Research Symposium

Sponsor the Conference

Want to support the 2019 conference?  Consider becoming a conference sponsor!  We have a variety of sponsorship opportunities available for this year's conference  Review the open opportunities, the sponsorship levels, and the perks for each in our sponsorship packet.

Check out our recent sponsors on our Sponsors and Donors page!

Conference Overview

Join us for the 2019 Environmental Educators of North Carolina conference at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC from Thursday, September 19th to Saturday, September 21th.  Enjoy a conference full of professional development, networking, learning, and field experiences that will help you expand your knowledge of EE and resources in NC and beyond!

Conference Theme

This year's conference theme, MemorEEs Make Us, invites you to think back on the things you've learned, the people you've worked with, and the experiences you've had.  We hope you'll remember your EE adventure to date fondly - and make new memories with us at the Schiele Museum this year!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Carolyn's headshot. Smiling young black woman with dreads. photo is in black & white.

Dr. Carolyn Finney is a storyteller, author and a cultural geographer. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action.

Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors was released in 2014 (UNC Press). Carolyn is currently working on a number of projects including a new book (creative non-fiction) that explores identity, race, lived experience and the construction of a black environmental imaginary, and a performance piece about John Muir (The N Word: Nature Revisited).

Registration Rates

The 2019 conference rates are as follows.  Discounts are available if you register by July 22 and to EENC members.

Registration closes August 31.

Full Conference

Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday

Early Bird Non-member: $230
Early Bird Member: $210
Non-member: $250
Member: $230

Commuter Rate

Includes breakfast and lunch both Friday and Saturday

Early Bird Non-member: $170
Early bird Member: $150
Non-member: $190
Member: $170

Friday Only

Includes breakfast and lunch on Friday

Early Bird Non-member: $100
Early Bird Member: $90
Non-member: $110
Member: $100

Saturday Only

Includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday

Early Bird Non-member: $100
Early Bird Member: $90
Non-member: $110
Member: $100


Friday Dinner Only: $75
Thursday Night Networking Social: $15

Conference Schedule

The preliminary conference schedule and a list of presentation titles that will be offered Friday and Saturday are available on the Conference Schedule page.  More details will be added as they are finalized.

Note that the 2019 conference includes a full day of presentations on both Friday and Saturday!

Conference Venue Maps

The majority of the conference apart from the workshops (Hilton Garden Inn) and the Thursday night social (Canvendish Brewing) will take place at the Schiele Museum.  Maps are available for the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the overflow parking areas.  You may print your own, pick a map up at the registration desk, or find it in your program if you requested one. 

Workshops and Field Trips


Workshops will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn at 444 Cox Road, Gastonia.

Methods of Teaching Environmental Education
Wednesday 5:30-8:30pm and Thursday 9:00am to 5:00pm
$15 (includes lunch)

The focus of this 10 hour workshop is to prepare participants from a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences in both the formal and non-formal sectors to use exemplary Environmental Education teaching methods. This is a required workshop for all NC Environmental Education Certification candidates. Lunch is provided on Thursday but please bring your own dinner for the Wednesday evening.

Don’t Waste It! An Educator Guide to Solid Waste, Recycling, Reduction, and Composting
Thursday, 9:00am-5:00pm
$25 (includes lunch)

Don’t Waste It! is a new educator guide to waste management. The guide includes 10 lessons covering five themes: municipal solid waste, recycling, plastics, composting, and landfills. Don’t Waste It! is for formal or non-formal educators with lessons that can be used for pre-K to 12th graders, and adult audiences. Plus, this workshop will provide a base of knowledge needed to teach each lesson. All attendees will receive a copy of the guide and materials to complete a couple lessons. Lunch is provided.

Full Day Field Trips

US National Whitewater Center Thursday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
$58 (includes admission, lunch, and transportation to and from the Whitewater Center)

Come out for a full day of fun at the Whitewater Center! You will begin the day with a two hour Team Building program, where you will work to complete different low ropes obstacle courses. These team building activities and ice breakers will offer you unique networking opportunities with fellow EENC participants and may be easily modified to bring back to your facility. For the rest of the day, you will have the opportunity to continue to strengthen your new connections by playing on a variety of activities including zip lines, ropes courses, rock climbing, and stand-up paddle boarding. ***Note: This field trip does not include access to whitewater rafting, Deep Water Solo climbing, or our two biggest zip lines. A USNWC catered lunch and transportation to and from Whitewater Center is included.

Food System Tour- Finding Fertile Ground: EE and Agritourism
Thursday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
$22 (includes lunch and transportion)

How can I get my students to understand the relationship between humans and the natural world? How can I make learning relevant to my students? Many educators find themselves asking these questions and more in their quest to connect students to the environment. Finding ways to engage students with their local food system can provide a fertile ground for addressing these questions. Join us on a tour through Gaston County's countryside to explore unique places where agriculture meets environmental education. Swap ideas with fellow educators as we discuss the importance of local farms and foods to environmental education, and how to incorporate similar experiences into your own lessons.

Half Day Field Trips

Crowder’s Mountain State Park
Thursday, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
$12 (includes lunch)

Join Ranger Kelly Cooke at Crowder’s Mountain State Park to learn about the unique geology of the area. Explore the secluded Boulder’s Access on a 2 mile hike, while discovering the natural and cultural history of the region. The hike will finish with a picnic lunch among new friends.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
1:30 pm - 5:00 PM
$12 (includes admission to the Garden)

Spend an afternoon with Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden! Start your experience with a 1-hour guided tour which will have you meandering through spectacular gardens and a conservatory dedicated to tropical plants and orchids. All the while, enjoy the Garden’s glass exhibit, Grandiflora: Gamrath Glass at the Garden featuring larger than life Venus flytraps, orchids and pitcher plants by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath. Then, join our experienced education/horticulture staff in our perennial gardens to seek and collect seeds from the Garden’s best summer performers. Early fall is a great time to propagate! Finish up your afternoon by unwinding in our Visitor’s Pavilion Garden Store or by taking in the sights from a terrace rocking chair.

Service Project

Boys & Girl's Club of Greater Gaston
Thursday, 1:30-5:00pm

Engage with Gastonia through an afternoon with the Boys & Girl's Club of Greater Gaston! Take the opportunity to be a smiling face to children who need it, and connect with our host community. We will be showing love to boys and girls by helping them through their afternoon homework.

Conference Lodging


We have a block of rooms reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 444 Cox Rd, Gastonia, NC 28054.  Rooms start at $99 per night for two queens or a single king bed.  Make your reservation online or call (704) 810-1111 to make your reservations by August 21 to receive this rate.


We know many of you are budget conscious, so the following options offer cheaper alternatives to staying in the hotel!

Kings Mountain State Park (26 Minutes from The Schiele)

Each camping site at this site is packed gravel and includes individual water and electrical hookups. Several sites accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. The campground is convenient to restroom facilities with hot showers. While tent campers may use the main camping area, the park offers a designated tent site area which includes central water.

To make a camping reservation or view current rates, call 1-866-345-PARK or visit the reservations page. Rates are approximately $25 per night and reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights.

McDowell Nature Preserve (32 Minutes from The Schiele)

The main campground at McDowell has 56 campsites ranging from full RV hookup to Primitive sites. Additional amenities include bathhouse, laundry facilities, and playground. Group camping is also available at Copperh​ead Island just a few miles up the road. 

Campsites must be reserved at least 48 hours in advance online or by calling 980-314-2267(CAMP) between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. 9:00 a.m.-3:30pm Sunday. Reservations must be paid in full at the time of booking via cash or credit card (Visa and Master Card). A campsite will cost approximately $30 per night depending on the specific accommodation.

Research Symposium

One of the features of our conference is our Research Symposium, in which EE researchers present their research.   This year's Symposium will once again highlight both posters and talks.  Please join us to learn more about the state of EE research in North Carolina!

Auctions and Raffle

We will once again hold silent and live auctions at the 2019 conference!  You can donate gently used items of broad interest and/or usefulness to naturalists and environmental educators by bringing them to the conference.  Please indicate on the registration form that you would like to make a donation of items so that you'll receive further instructions from the Resource Co-chairs prior to the start of the conference.  The silent auction will take place on Friday and the live auction will take place (in a new and improved shorter format!) Friday evening after the keynote speaker.

This year we will also hold a raffle on Saturday so that Saturday only attendees can join in on the fun!  Look for more information soon as we finalize details.

All proceeds from the auctions support the Scholarship Fund and allow anyone, regardless of their income level, to attend the conference.

Environmental Educators of North Carolina

150 Highland Sq Dr #1034 | Hendersonville, NC 28792

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