What Is EECapacity?
How do we strengthen the field of environmental education in a world where more and more people live in cities? How can environmental education contribute to environmental health and the well-being of all communities, including those impacted by poverty and by floods, drought, and other stresses and disasters related to climate change and other factors?
The Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education Project – EECapacity – provides opportunities for professionals and volunteers to join in discussions about our environment and our communities, share success stories of where environmental education has made a difference, and learn about successful practices from across the globe. We believe that by providing these opportunities for individuals working in environmental education, youth and community development, resource management, and related fields, we will be able to build on and expand the critical role environmental education plays in fostering healthy environments and communities.
Funded by a generous grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EECapacity creates multiple opportunities for people to come together to learn, share, and grow. Our community of learners includes professionals working in nature centers; leaders in community gardening, “friends of parks” organizations, and other “civic ecology” practices; zoo, aquarium, museum, and botanic garden educators; teachers and university faculty; and individuals working in community and faith-based organizations, larger non-profits, government, and business. What binds us together is our commitment to helping all people—from preschoolers to senior citizens, those living in rural areas, suburbs, and densely populated inner cities, as well as recently returned military veterans and their families, those jobless and those employed, and so many others – experience and steward nature, and work together to create a more sustainable future.
EECapacity provides a platform for growing the field of environmental education, building on the great work of the past few decades and promoting the efforts of community environmental educators, working to protect the environment and improve community wellness. An important part of EECapacity is looking at the research of what works. A major part of the research component is housed in Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab, which will document how diverse groups of educators, given opportunities to share practices and ideas, develop innovative environmental education practices. In addition, NAAEE and other partners are working on how to develop a research to practice component that will help environmental education professionals everywhere understand how research supports practice.
Through workshops, online courses and professional learning communities, sharing resources, online networking sites, and other strategies, EECapacity is providing the tools for a diversity of committed individuals to become effective environmental educators and community leaders. We invite you to join in these activities and to help us support the millions of people across North America who are working to improve environmental quality and create healthier communities.