Nature Meditation #19 – National EE Week

What’s EE?
A new friend asked me this question a week ago. Paraphrased, here’s the answer.
Environmental education is learning and developing understanding about the world around us – the environment. This can include biology, geography, botany and other natural sciences. It includes ecology – a study of the relationships between parts of nature. It may include wildlife management – a study of the ways humans can work with nature to use wildlife in a sustainable way, so that animals don’t become extinct or endangered or harmed in any way.

Environmental Education can be a part of a formal educational program in a school, or it can be ‘nonformal’ – taught in weekend workshops or learning opportunities at nature centers as well as state and national parks.

EE is usually hands on, with the students experiencing nature as part of the learning activity. It is not ‘book learning’, it is ‘heart learning’, using both heads and hearts and all our senses. The end result is often that a bond is forged between the learner and nature.

This week is National EE Week, and there are many opportunities to learn more about this educational focus.

EE began decades ago, with those people who set aside land for national and state parks, and wildlife refuges. It began with writers like Thoreau, and poets like Emerson and Robert Frost. It began with professionals who worked in the out of doors like Pinchot and Leopold.

Then there was Earth Day, April 22, 1970. Suddenly, the world was learning more about pollution, and extinction, and how humans were affecting the world we live in.

This week is EE Week. It ends with Earth Day, on April 22. Visit  to learn all about it.

EE Week 2012 focuses on the theme, Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 20th Century Learning. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and is the current focus of national education efforts.)

This year,EE Week 2012 participants have several opportunities:
Infographic: STEM & Our Planet; Greening STEM Educator Planning Toolkits; EE+STEM Webinars; and Earth Gauge Meteorologist Videos.

There is a Photo Blog Contest. Submit photos and stories about your environmental education activities for the chance to win prizes! Also be sure to check out Project Noah’s new Global Schoolyard Bioblitz mission, created in honor of EE Week’s 2012 theme: Greening STEM with partner, National Geographic Education.

EE Week is partnering with EPA’s Office of Environmental Education to host three webinars on environmental education programs and resources during EE Week this year, as part of a new initiative called Environmental Education in Action that will showcase environmental education programs and resources. The webinar Greening STEM: Environmental Resources and Tools for Inspiring 21st Century Learning on April 19 at 4:00 p.m. EDT will showcase EE Week and other NEEF programs.


Lastly take a moment to view some new Success Stories of how schools and organizations are engaging students in STEM learning via the environment. We’ll be posting more stories as they become available. Submit your photo and story to today!


Infographic: STEM & Our Planet

Increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) knowledge and expanding STEM education and career opportunities for students is a national priority. A projected 2 million STEM-related jobs will be created by 2014, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. Jobs relating to the environment are among those expected to see the fastest growth this decade. NEEF recently developed an infographic entitled STEM & Our Planet that illustrates this compelling data.


Download the infographic at

EE+STEM Webinars

EE Week’s mission is to connect educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students’ understanding of the environment. One way that we support educators is by providing professional development opportunities, including webinars.

Our March 14 webinar, Technology Goes Wild: New Tools for Connecting Classrooms with Nature, introduced educators to Project Noah as a tool to support a schoolyard or local bioblitz, with support from National Geographic Education.

Our March 28 webinar, Field Investigations and STEM, introduced educators to field investigation tools from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Pacific Education Institute.

Both webinars were recorded and archived and are available online, along with materials presented or referred to during the webinar. A Q&A Sheet, with answers from the presenters is also available.

National Environmental Education Foundation Logo

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) provides knowledge to trusted professionals who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems. Together, we generate lasting positive change.

NEEF partners with professionals in health, education, media, business and public land management to promote daily actions for helping people protect and enjoy the environment. Through our primary programs – Classroom Earth, National Public Lands Day, National Environmental Education Week, Business and Environment, Earth Gauge and Health & Environment – we offer Americans knowledge to live by. To learn more, call (202) 833-2933 or visit

I hope that you will investigate these resources. There is so much about our world to learn, and so much to share. Be a part of EE!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s