Association for Environmental & Outdoor education


  • 27 Aug 2020 2:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear environmental and outdoor education community,

    We hope you and your families are safe. With more than 550 fires burning throughout the state of California, and air quality forcing us inside when we wish to seek solace in the natural world, the challenges can feel overwhelming. Our hearts are heavy as we see images of treasured forests burning, learn about lives and homes lost, and hear about historic parks and landmarks being destroyed by the blazes. We know that many of your program sites are near or in direct danger and we are watching closely and hoping for your safety. 

    Climate change has been named publicly in most leading news sources as a primary cause in the current devastation. We are reminded that our work as environmental and outdoor educators is vital. And our community is more important than ever. 

    We are grateful for you, our network of dedicated educators and program providers across the state. While many of us will not be returning to programming as usual this fall, we know you are still working to help young people connect to the natural world in whatever you can, whether that be through delivering virtual programs, offering small family programs, or as classroom teachers doing your best to support your students through a screen. Know that we continue to advocate for outdoor learning as part of the plan to reopen schools, and are here for you to provide support. Please reach out if there are ways we can help you or your organizations. 

    Take care,

    Your friends at AEOE

    Check out our new website!

    AEOE has a new website! Visit us at While it has a brand new look and feel, most of the content was transferred over from our previous site. Please let us know if you are having trouble finding anything. One hiccup is that you will have to create a new password when you first log in. We appreciate your understanding and hope that this new site will better allow us to communicate with you. 

    One adjustment that we’ve made is to rename our “institutional membership” category as “organizational membership.” This better reflects you, our members, as the term “institute” is not as widely used these days as it once was. One additional bonus of being an organizational member is that your site will be featured on a rotating basis on our home page!

    Upcoming events

    Fall webinar series AEOE is hosting a fall webinar series on a range of topics! They should be live and open for registration next week on our programs and events page. Topics include early childhood education, social and emotional learning, mental health, and sustainability at home. Join us for one, or all! And don’t miss the free virtual campfire on Saturday, December 12th! This fun event will include an open-mic style program combined with interactive games and conversations. 

    AEOE will not be holding a fall conference this year due to COVID-19, but we hope to have strong representation from California at NAAEE’s virtual conference held October 13-16. Registration will be opening soon! We remain hopeful that we will be able to come together in person in the spring.

    EECP AEOE launches inaugural pilot of California’s EE certification program! This fall, approximately 30 participants will join the first cohort of candidates for EE certification. The applicants have experience within a range of EE program settings, including residential outdoor science school, community-based programs, government agencies, nature centers, K-12 classrooms, and nature-based preschool. Each candidate will be conducting a final action project in their community, which we look forward to sharing with you next spring!

    Recommended resources & learning opportunities

    From Youth Outside and Lawrence Hall of Science: “Racial Equity in Outdoor Science and Environmental Education: Re-Establishing the Field with Intention” | COVID-19 has been devastating to environmental education, but leaders are seeking to rebuild and transform the field with racial equity and justice as its guiding principles. This is a must-read for white-led organizations, with important lessons for all of us. 

    Best practices in online programming

    Are you interested in designing or improving your online programming? To date, we know very little about the best approaches to enhance student learning outcomes in online EE programs. You are invited to participate in an evidence-based learning network focused on EE distance learning, which would provide you with feedback about your online programs and a chance to collaborate with others on program design and improvement. Learn more here.

    Supporting our community through these challenging times

    For those of you who are un(der)employed, our hearts are with you. We all know how important outdoor and environmental education is for young people, and for their (and your sake) we hope that more in-person experiences will be available soon. If you are looking for work, please be sure to check our job board for current postings.

  • 16 Jul 2020 7:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear environmental and outdoor education community,

    We hope you are taking good care. It has been a challenging time for many of us. At AEOE, we've been working to connect with our partners and friends, working to support environmental and outdoor education providers across the state. Please read on for updates and opportunities to advance the field together.

    Be well, everyone.

    Your friends at AEOE

    Environmental Educator Certification Program: Apply Today!

    We are thrilled to announce that AEOE’s Environmental Educator Certification Program (EECP) is launching this fall! This year-long program (September - June) will be conducted primarily online and consist of work done both independently and collaboratively. The program is designed for educators who have some teaching experience and are ready to take their career to the next level. Through participating in the certification program, you will increase your knowledge and skills, expand your professional network, enhance your resume, and make important connections across the state. We aim to have a cohort of candidates that will reflect the diversity of California's students. To that end, we strongly encourage people who identify as BIPOC and/or from other communities that have historically been marginalized within the field of EE to apply. We hope you will consider applying to be a part of our pilot cohort.

    Promoting EE and Outdoor Learning in Plans to Reopen Schools

    AEOE has been working hard to promote environmental education and outdoor learning as integral to reopening schools in California. The newly launched eeGuidance for Reopening Schools was developed by state EE organizations and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The guidelines provide practical strategies for schools to use outdoor learning and environmental education as a tool to safely reopen schools this fall. The eeGuidelines for California can be accessed here

    Feel free to share with your networks and promote the eeGuidelines with your local school personnel. We imagine this could be a good starting point or messaging that could strengthen your attempts to partner with local schools to provide virtual programming or in-person learning in counties where it is safe to do so. For our formal education community, this might help you to work with you administration to commit to engaging your nonformal education partners in supporting your students.

    Resources & Engagement Opportunities

    Our friends at BEETLES and BaySci are hosting a virtual open space conference:

    Informal/Formal Partnerships to Survive the Impacts of COVID-19, Promote Equity, and Keep Science & Environmental Literacy Alive

    July 28th-29th, 2020 10:00am-1:00pm PST

    More details at:

    This conference is free to attend.

    Note: in the spirit of open space, the content of the conference is determined by attendees. All attendees are invited to hold discussions on the topics of their choosing.

    Youth Outdoor Equity Leadership funding opportunity from Children & Nature Network

    Mini-grants of $500 will be awarded to young leaders ages 18 to 30. Examples of projects could include: online outdoor education sessions; creating gardens that employ young people and provide fresh food; providing outdoor gear to remove barriers to outdoor recreation; legislative action training to advance policies that increase equitable access to nature. All young leaders are encouraged to apply. The deadline is July 31st. Priority consideration will be given to those who have participated in C&NN’s Legacy Camps and Fresh Tracks trainings, and young leaders from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, other People of Color, those who identify as LGBTQ, and those with disabilities. APPLY HERE TODAY

    Practitioner Guide to Assessing Connection to Nature Now Available!

    Are you interested in measuring and understanding a population’s connection to nature? Do you want to know if your program has influenced your participants’ connection to nature? The Practitioner Guide to Assessing Connection to Nature is a 63-page guide, including 11 tools and approaches that you can use to assess connection to nature, and it includes copies of those tools for easy access. The guide is also designed to help you choose the right tool for your needs, whether you work with young children, teenagers, or adults. Download or purchase a copy of the guide here.

  • 3 Jun 2020 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear environmental and outdoor educators,

    On Friday, I felt immense gratitude for being able to come together as a community during our first ever virtual statewide conference. The day of learning and connection was AWESOME, and filled my cup in so many ways. Yet it was also shadowed by grief and anger and frustration. Our world is on fire. In addition to the hardships presented through COVID-19, the headlines are once again filled with violence and brutality towards brown and black people. In many cases, folks who are trying to enjoy the outdoors, be active and healthy.

    As outdoor and environmental educators, we lead with our hearts. Compassion is our strength. Caring is our calling. And if one falls, we all fall.

    At AEOE, our vision is for every young person to live in a healthy community with access to meaningful learning experiences outdoors. We work to create the future that we want to see in the world. If we are working to make our field more inclusive, we can't ignore systemic and institutional racism. And if there was ever a time to speak out and to speak up against racism and white supremacy, this is it.

    Personally, my family is committing to directly supporting these organizations:

    And there are many others who are doing important work that could also use your support. Follow them. Amplify them. Fund them if you are able. 

    I am a white woman. My children are white. I grapple with this privilege every day. Sometimes I feel proud of my ability to stand tall. Truthfully, sometimes I step in it. But it is my job to keep trying, to keep striving for the world I want to see. Committing to anti-racism is a lifelong process. I don’t always get it right. But I am committed to showing up, for using my privilege to work to dismantle systems of injustice. For my friends. For yours. For my children, and for yours. For our future together on this beautiful planet we call home. 

    I will stand with you. I hope you will stand with me.  

    With love,

    Estrella Risinger

    AEOE Executive Director


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