Association for Environmental & Outdoor education
AEOE strengthens environmental education in California by connecting providers, building professional expertise, and championing environmental literacy and outdoor learning.
The Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen environmental education in California by connecting providers, building professional expertise, and championing environmental literacy and outdoor learning. Founded in 1954 as one of the first associations for outdoor educators in the nation, we are now the state affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the largest network of environmental education (EE) providers in the world. Environmental education is “the education we need for the world we want.” AEOE was established to provide a space for educators to connect, establish a supportive community, and share best practices for teaching about the outdoors and the environment. We envision a world where every young person lives in a healthy community with access to meaningful learning experiences outdoors. Our efforts are focused in the following areas:
CONNECT We convene program providers to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive network of skilled practitioners
BUILD PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE We provide learning opportunities that are aligned with best practices and content relevant for our field
CHAMPION We promote high-quality environmental education among the varied programs across the state and advocate for all young people to experience meaningful learning opportunities outdoors
We believe that everyone has the right to the physical, social, emotional, and academic benefits of learning outdoors. As the professional association for environmental and outdoor education in California, AEOE provides programs and practitioners with the tools, resources, and expertise to ensure that future generations are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experiences necessary to develop lifelong connections to the natural world and the commitment to sustain it.
The logo of AEOE is the oak tree, and this symbol captures the spirit of our organization. The oak tree represents our community's efforts to cultivate the seeds of knowledge and understanding in young people; we hope that the seeds we sow will grow into positive actions for a healthy environment for all. The diversity of oak trees throughout California are highly important to its first peoples, and in many cultures acorns are considered the "staff of life."
We recognize that California is on the stolen, unceded, ancestral lands of nearly 200 tribal groups. We want to share our appreciation for the past and present stewardship of the places we call home and commit to shaping a future that is just. AEOE’s work is primarily conducted from Huchuin, in unceded Lisjan territory, in what is now known as the San Francisco East Bay Area. We acknowledge that this area is the ancestral homeland of The Confederated Villages of Lisjan (Ohlone) since time immemorial and recognize the continued persistence and resilience of culture and community despite the adverse impacts of colonialism. Ohlone people have a lasting relationship with the land; one of deep respect, agreement, and reciprocity collaborating to help maintain balance. AEOE acknowledges and supports Indigenous communities in solidarity and commitment to partnership, advocating for a more equitable and inclusive future. Please join us in recognizing and honoring the native peoples where you live and work, and commit to addressing Indigenous erasure and supporting native sovereignty and land reclamation.
We recommend the following resources to learn about land acknowledgments and connect with the native people where you live:
It’s encouraging to see how many people and organizations have embraced land acknowledgments as a first step. And, for those of us who are non-native or work for organizations that are not native-led, we must consider how we are doing the actual work of being better partners, listeners, and supporters of local tribal groups. This resource offers a number of helpful ways to move beyond land acknowledgements and take the necessary step towards acting on the commitment to center Indigenous knowledge and perspectives: https://nativegov.org/news/beyond-land-acknowledgment-guide/
Other ways to support:
Consider making an annual contribution to Indigenous groups in your area, directly supporting native sovereignty and land reclamation. If you also work or reside in Berkeley, Oakland, or nearby, join us in contributing to The Shuumi Land Tax, a voluntary financial contribution that non-Indigenous people living on the Confederated Villages of Lisjan’s territory can make to support the critical work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.
Guiding and governing documentsYou can access our most recent annual report here
What is environmental education?