EE Capacity is working with states to help build capacity by connecting a new cadre of urban and diverse EE professionals with established environmental educators. EE Capacity is funded by a generous grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Lead partners include NAAEE and Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab.
In year 2, Oregon was selected as a grant recipient and State Consortia. We worked with EE Capacity to build our capacity and engaged more than 20 educators from urban community, environmental stewardship, and environmental justice organizations, as well as zoos, community gardens, nature centers, schools, parks, and other organizations who committed to participating in an intensive series of workshops and online learning opportunities for a period of one year or longer.
Through our EE Capacity project, our diverse group developed shared values and next steps to promote diversity and inclusiveness within the field. They valued:
- Building bridges with other community partners
- Emphasizing leadership development and relationship building
- Creating new and different models to measure societal “success”
- Promoting the practice of EE that is driven by real community issues and needs
- Making programs locally relevant and culturally appropriate
- Integrating the local environment as part of all curriculum, supported through pedagogy, policy, and service
Next steps included:
- An extended evaluation project, including a set of recommendations from leaders about integrating EE in diverse communities
- Creating an inclusive Regional Leadership Model (see below)
- Partnering with Center for Diversity and the Environment to create a cadre of change agents (see below)
- Keeping the discussion going amongst the group
These leaders have completed a 9 month path of exploring equity, diversity & inclusion and building their capacity to catalyze a multicultural revolution in the environmental movement! And now, they are dedicated to developing a community action service project around community development and anti-displacement. They are staying connected, listening, researching, and evaluating next steps. We are thrilled with the work they have done and will continue to do. Big thanks to Metro Nature in Neighborhoods, Spirit Mountain Community Fund & Gray Family Foundation for generously supporting E42 EE and to the Center for Diversity and Environment for making this work possible.