WASHINGTON (PRWEB) April 23, 2018
The National Environmental Education Association (NEEF)—the nation’s top source for environmental education—today kicks off the 14th annual Environmental Education Week (EE Week 2018), to celebrates the many ways we connect with the environment. Throughout this week, NEEF will highlight how educators, students, government agencies, businesses, communities, nonprofit organizations, and others are fostering environmental learning and stewardship of our essential resources: land, air, and water.
We all know that turning off lights when we leave the room, washing our clothes in cold water, and tossing our newspapers and cans in the recycling bucket is good for the environment. But how do these actions help and can these individual activities really make a difference? That’s the connection NEEF is working to help people make.
“Research shows that the more people understand about our connection to the environment—its impact on us and, in turn, our impact on it—the more likely they are to not only take positive actions on behalf of the environment, but also share that knowledge with others,” explains Carlos Alcazar, NEEF’s board chair.
Across the country, thousands of people participate in environmental education every day. Schools teach students to be environmental learners from the start through STEM curriculum and programs like Hands on the Land. Beyond the classroom, environmental education and engagement is becoming a mainstay for nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies, and even sports leagues. The National Hockey League (NHL®) recently partnered with NEEF to encourage hockey fans everywhere to Play it Forward by taking environmental actions to ensure the sport of hockey thrives now and for future generations. The NHL worked with NEEF to create this infographic with tips fans can use to adopt some of the League’s sustainability strategies.
Throughout EE Week 2018, NEEF will showcase the variety of ways people and organizations participate in environmental education every day. To cap off the week, NEEF is joining the National Aquarium, the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks on April 28 for a a BioBlitz. The event is part of the City Nature Challenge, a global citizen science project organized by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences set to take place that weekend in more than 60 cities throughout the globe. In Baltimore, environmental learners young and old will head to a park in the Gwynns Falls neighborhood and identify as many species as possible as they work together to count the plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms in the urban park. Experts will be on hand to describe the different species and how they work together to impact the ecosystem and our own health.
“People sometimes ask why an aquarium is hosting an event in a park,” says National Aquarium Field Conservation Director Laura Bankey, explaining that participants in previous BioBlitz efforts have identified more than 425 species in the city, including many that had never been identified inside the city the pieces of the ecosystem are related—from plants that ensure we have clean air to breathe to the turtles we find living in the streams.”
BioBlitzes are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to engage with and learn about their environment. They also showcase the way technology can support environmental learning. BioBlitz participants often pull out their cell phones and use the iNaturalist app to identify and track the different species they find. The app helps people record and share their observations, and learn more about the species by connecting with hundreds of thousands of other citizen scientists who are also using the app.
“New technology brings amazing opportunities to help us learn about our natural environment, explore the role the environment plays in our daily lives, and share what we learn with others,” says Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship of EE Week corporate sponsor Samsung Electronics America. “By encouraging people to celebrate and expand these connections, EE Week is increasing the number of people dedicated to taking well-informed action on behalf of the environment.”
Some companies are finding educating employees about their impact on the environment while engaging them in projects focused on protecting the environment is also good for the bottom line. NEEF recently asked corporate thought leaders to share best practices and measure the top drivers of sustainability engagement. Among the findings, nearly 90 percent of employees engaged in their company’s sustainability work say it enhances their job satisfaction and overall feelings about the company.
“The stakes are high and getting higher, but the more people know about their environment, the more capacity and will they have to address these challenges,” explains Alcazar, noting that EE Week 2018 will feature the stories of individuals, nonprofit organizations, companies, agencies, and communities that are carrying out EE every day. “By sharing these stories and other resources, NEEF is raising awareness of the benefits of EE programs large and small and encouraging people of all walks of life to learn more, do more, and share more.”
NEEF helps people understand their impact on the environment by offering practical information about how to be good environmental stewards and why it is important for each one of us to step up and make a difference in ways that work best for us and work within our busy lives. NEEF’s vision is that by 2022, 300 million Americans will actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the wellbeing of the earth and its people. To accomplish that vision, NEEF works to reach people where they are, inspire them to learn about their relationship to the environment, and, in turn, increase environmental engagement. To learn more, please visit NEEFUSA.org.
For information about environmental education in action in your area, please contact
Robert Sendrey at 202-833-2933.