EE Capacity Project

In 2011, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) received a large five-year grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to bring together educators and community leaders from diverse programs to expand the state’s capacity to deliver high quality environmental education to broader audiences.  NAAEE designed a grant program to increase the capabilities of NAAEE’s state affiliates and promote them as leaders in state EE.  PAEE is the state affiliate for Pennsylvania. 

Diversity is Our Goal

The focus of EE Capacity is to promote diversity in educators (both formal and non-formal) and audiences to broaden environmental education opportunities in Pennsylvania. Our approach to diversity is to embrace and include independent and distinct backgrounds and experiences of individuals and communities to work together to cultivate connections to the environment leading to personal and environmental prosperity.

EE Capacity Projects

Project 1.  ‘Embracing Your Environment’ Series for Childcare Providers
Leader – Will Tolliver, Associate for Educational Projects, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC)
Project 2.  A Stormwater Rain Barrel and Rain Garden Implementation Demonstration Project
Leader – Robert Hughes, Executive Director, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR)
Project 3.  Sharing Experience for Growing Environmental Education Opportunity
Leader – Camila Rivera-Tinsley, Manager of School Programs, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Project 4.  PSAYDN’s Project Accelerate Mapping Project
Leader – Laura Saccento, Director of Pennsylvania After School Youth Development Network (PASYDN)
Project  5.  Survey of Environmental Education Professional Development
Leader – Ruth Roperti with Will Taylor, Director of Jennings State Park Environmental Education Center


Program Timeline


PAEE board members begin exploring ways to support programming for diverse audiences and promote diversity though pictures, articles and authors on the website and in the PAEE Journal.  Diversity includes the ethnicity, age, gender, interests, background, nationality, heritage and employment of program participants.


PAEE board members participate in a variety of EE Capacity trainings, meetings, networking events, workshops, and with the EE Capacity Committee at annual NAAEE conferences.


The 2011 PAEE Conference focused on diversity.  Dudley Edmonson, nature photographer and author of “Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places” was the keynote speaker.  PAEE also provided support for Mr. Edmonson to visit and work with students from two Pittsburgh Public Schools.  


PAEE selected to receive an EE Capacity grant to support programs serving diverse audiences.  11 people or organizations representing traditional and non-traditional educators from across PA agree to be part of Pennsylvania’s EE Capacity Community of Learners.


PAEE and Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) jointly receive EE Capacity grant and send representatives to the annual NAAEE conference to participate in an EE Capacity diversity training.


The Community of Learners draft a diversity statement and hold monthly in person meetings, conference calls and webinars to develop a strategic plan to promote work with underserved audiences and grow the Community of Learners.