Teaching OUTSIDE the Box

 “One way or another, the choice will be made by our generation, but it will affect life on earth for all generations to come”- Lester Brown

This past weekend I was able to attend the annual Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) Teaching OUTSIDE the Box conference.

The great keynote speaker, Violeta Garcia, STEM Education Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Education, opening the conference.

The great keynote speaker, Violeta Garcia, STEM Education Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Education, opening the conference.

The mission of environmental education is one that can truly make a difference on our Earth.  Generation by generation, cities are becoming more widespread and encroaching upon what is left of our natural space. The movement to encourage people to reconnect with the outside world, and not only reconnect, but to also have a knowledgeable understanding of the complex processes which comprise every being’s existence is difficult, yet beautiful.  An interesting aspect of the discussions within the conference involved the intersection of STEM education with environmental education.  Overall, there seems to be more of a need to incorporate the actual processes of science into environmental education (i.e. an easy way to describe the processes of the water and/or carbon cycle in terms of plants).  The conference was not only enlightening, but it was invaluable exposure to the field of environmental education and future paths which my life may decide to take.  Here is a list of the sessions I was able to attend:

-How to Jump the Jargon: Getting Creative about Communicating Hard Science

-The Other side of STEM – Engaging Urban Youth in the Practice of Environmental Stewardship

-Indigenous and Multicultural Perspectives on Environmental Education

-(R)evolutionary Storytelling: Cultivating Ecological Citizenship

-Getting Hired: Building Your EE Credentials

My favorite session(s) were the ones discussing diversity and inclusiveness within environmental education.  While the intentions are honorable, we so often think there is one framework that works for everyone and their ability to understand, learn, and connect to nature.  With a desire to learn more about cultural differences to a natural world connection, I feel this issue could work itself out over time.  It was a great weekend and I look forward to implementing the knowledge and exposure I received at this conference to continue my pursuit in the field of natural resources!

carascarrunz
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