Environmental Education: Collaborating Across the State
(Rob Stull is the Outreach Coordinator for the Outdoor Education Center.)
The West Virginia Environmental Education Association (WVEEA) works to connect and unite environmental professionals,
teachers, informal educators, professors, and interested others in order to collaborate on projects, discuss and disperse information, share research, and strengthen the environmental community in West Virginia. In addition to building strong networks within West Virginia’s boundaries, WVEEA connects West Virginia educators to the global community of environmental education through affiliation with the North American Association for Environmental Education.
According to WVEEA, Environmental Education (EE) increases public awareness and knowledge of ecological issues and challenges. EE enables people to gain an understanding of the physical world around them and how their individual actions affect the environment on local and global scales. EE fosters the skills one can use to weigh differing sides of an issue and become prepared to make informed decisions about consequential actions and lifestyles. EE also gives individuals a deeper knowledge and understanding of the environment, inspiring them to take personal responsibility for its preservation and restoration. 1
The Outdoor Education Center has been heavily involved with the development of WVEEA since its inception in 2006. Along with many other dedicated individuals and resource providers, OEC staff were successful with assisting in the development of WVEEA’s annual conferences. On March 25 and 26, WVEEA once again hosted another quality conference. This year’s theme was Engage, Excite and Explore —steering conference participants to many great sessions including Growing Up Wild, Mapmaking with Children, The Body Farm, and Alternative Energy in Education.
Of the nearly 100 attendees, many had tremendous things to say about the event. This year’s conference was hosted by Canaan Valley Institute and proved to be a perfect, natural setting for environmental educators to gather. Several attendees commented on the diversity of sessions, the natural beauty of the location and the quality of the keynote speaker—David Sobel, Director of the Center for Place Based Education at Antioch University.
For more information about the West Virginia Environmental Education Association, please visit their website at http://www.wveea.org