Association for Environmental & Outdoor education
Our mission is to advance the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California
mission & values
Our Mission To advance the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California.
Our Vision We envision a world where every young person lives in a healthy community with access to meaningful learning experiences outdoors.
We work to center equity for a just and sustainable future for all
Just like environmental and outdoor educators have a responsibility to establish learning environments that are inclusive and welcoming for all learners, at AEOE we strive to create a community of environmental champions where everyone belongs. This work is critical to our mission and vision. If we truly believe that our planet needs environmental education (EE), and that every young person has the right to meaningful learning experiences outdoors, it will take ALL of us working in partnership to make that happen. As an organization, if we want to grow in our reach and capacity, we must be self-critical and thoughtful about ways we can do better to represent and serve the field of EE in our state. This includes the recognition of harmful practices and narratives perpetuated by white-led organizations and upheld by many of the early leaders of the modern conservation and environmental education movement. In order to achieve our mission and vision we must address systemic barriers across our field, promote cultural relevancy as a necessary component of high-quality EE, and acknowledge the interconnectedness of lived experiences of the members of our community and the participants they serve.
We believe that everyone has the right to the physical, social, emotional, and academic benefits of learning outdoors. Access to nature and EE must not be a matter of privilege, and yet many communities experience barriers to environmental and outdoor learning. EE can and should help to break down these barriers and ensure that everyone feels comfortable, safe, and welcome outside. We believe that EE is most effective when delivered in a culturally relevant manner that provides memorable lived experiences and promotes environmental literacy. Through connection and understanding of the natural world, individuals are more inclined to address challenging environmental issues. Cultural responsiveness and environmental literacy are intimately connected and more diverse voices and perspectives lead to greater ideas and solutions for the challenges of our times.
AEOE is listening, learning, and taking action to become more equitable and inclusive in order to support the transformation of the EE field in our state and beyond. We respect the individuality of each member of our community, and we are committed to establishing working and learning environments that are free of any kind of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexuality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, politics, veteran status, or any other aspect of identity. We are working to increase the diversity of our staff, board, volunteers, members, and supporters, and fostering an inclusive network of EE providers across the state. We aim to provide learning opportunities and resources that will support our members and partners on their journeys toward becoming more equitable, inclusive, just, and diverse.
We recognize that this vital work is never finished. Our efforts will continue to evolve as we engage in dialogue and reflection. If you have feedback or would like to join us in centering equity within our organization, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actions undertaken by AEOE in 2021 to advance equity and inclusion within our work:
Approved by AEOE Board March 2022