Midwest Environmental Education Conference
July 26-29, 2021, Luther College
Exploring Community: Land, Water, People
How can we re-imagine our definition of “community” to include all land, water, and people? How do we support, enhance, and create vibrant, sustainable, resilient, healthy communities for all? Explore these questions and more at the 2021 Midwest Environmental Education Conference! Visit the conference website for the most recent information and updates.
Watch for a Call for Presenters to be released soon. Land, Water, and People will serve as the overarching conference tracks.
The Midwest EE Conference (MEEC) Planning Committee is hard at work, but we can always use more hands and minds. If you are interested in helping bring MEEC 2021 to life, please contact Workshop Chair Lilly Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iowa PBS Phenomena Project
In 2019, Iowa PBS was awarded an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) grant to advance the wIowa Science Phenomena website. As part of that grant, Iowa PBS is working with Iowa naturalists, conservationists and environmental science educators to develop informational resources about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) phenomena best practices for conservation and environmental education professionals. This work began in May 2020 and includes representatives from ICEC, Iowa Association of Naturalists (IAN), Iowa DNR, and several county conservation boards. This work will continue through September with the goal to share these resources at the IAN Conference in November. For questions related to this topic please contact Tiffany Morgan at email@example.com.
Winter Workshop 2021 Update
For 2021, ICEC’s annual Winter Workshop will transition to a virtual “Winter Speaker Series” with a focus on understanding and exploring systemic racism and injustice and how it manifests itself in environmental and conservation work and education. If you’re interested in working on this project, please contact ICEC!
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ExCom Call for Nominations Soon
Share your passion and leadership on ICEC ExCom! The call for nominations will go out in September. Learn more about ICEC and the Executive Committee on our website.
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Resources from the North American Association for Environmental Education
Below are new and important resources from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). ICEC is a state affiliate of NAAEE.
- eeGuidance for Reopening Schools - Key for conservation / environmental educators are the recommendations for schools and districts to leverage the opportunities inherent in environmental and outdoor education programs and staff. Be thinking (if you haven't already) about how you and your students can utilize nearby natural or outdoor spaces and how your organization can partner with nearby teachers and classrooms. Download the document.
- Practitioners Guide to Assessing Connections to Nature - This guide should be a great tool for each of us to evaluate our current and future programs. Learn more about this guide.
- Nature-based Preschools in the US: 2020 Snapshot - Click to read more about the growth of nature preschools and kindergartens in the United States.
- Natural Start Alliance, a part of the North American Association for Environmental Education, recently announced that their Nature-Based Preschool Outdoor Guidebook available for purchase through Acorn Naturalists and Amazon. The guidebook provides a complete overview of how nature-based programs provide education that's safe, effective, and inclusive. Learn more about the guidebook.
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Items for the Times
- Nature must be accessible to all - Article from the National Recreation and Parks Association website.
- Food for thought - “Racism as an Environmental Issue, Nature as a Healing Force”
- Playing while Black - This video from Clemson University briefly highlights what black and brown children face when simply trying to play, to recreate. Corliss Outley, PhD and Harrison P Pinckney IV, PhD, are featured in this video. In 2018 they co-authored an important paper, Playing While Black.
- Virtual School Activities - The Virtual School Activities website is a collection of sites to live webcams, virtual tours/trips, and other miscellaneous fun educational sites.
- Check out Virtual Nature School - both online and on YouTube for early childhood education professionals working with children up to six-years-old and their older siblings!
- Great American Outdoors Act - Both the US Senate and House have passed this major piece of conservation legislation. The Act will provide funds for expanding and maintaining both remote wilderness areas and urban playgrounds. Key to this legislation is providing $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF has been seriously underfunded in recent years and was all but eliminated. LWCF funds improve amenities in public areas and is a way to add acreage. In addition the Act provides money for infrastructure improvements for national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. The Great American Outdoors Act was presented to the President on July 24 and was signed into law August 4, 2020.
- ICEC organization member, Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, received a Bayer Fund grant to support central Iowa teacher professional development training.
- National Public Lands Day 2020 - This annual event on September 26, 2020 will have more ways to participate.
- Senior Corps - The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is releasing the Fiscal Year 2021 Senior Corps RSVP Competition Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Application deadline is September 1, 2020.
- Chronolog Citizen Science Project - Interested in citizen science? Check out the Chronolog Project! Environmental educators set up photo stations where visitors can take photos of specific ecosystems to create a crowdsourced time lapse. This data helps land stewards document changes in the landscape, and the time lapses also serve as a tool to educate the community. If you’re interested in learning more or setting up a time lapse at your park, preserve, or nature center, contact Chronolog at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their website.
- Soil Science Society of America - check out their July blog on soil and insects!
- Resources from Project Learning Tree
Growing Up WILD - Reconnecting Children with Nature
September 12, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon
Springbrook State Park, Guthrie Center, Iowa
This workshop leads you out the door and provides hands on activities and resource materials to help you lead your own nature explorations. Growing Up WILD activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity.
Open to all Early Childhood Educators working with children age 3-7
September 4 to guarantee books.
No cost, funding provided by Guthrie County Extension. Registrants will receive a Growing Up WILD guide.
Please email Guthrie County Extension to register - xGuthrie@iastate.edu
Held rain or shine; dress for the weather as we will be going outside.
CDA Content Area 2—Steps to advance children’s physical and intellectual