Why is environmental education necessary?

On Friday, November 11, 2016 during the Environmental Literacy Summit, over 50 participants from around the Land of Enchantment answered the question “Why is environmental education necessary?” Here are their responses:


To help our population embrace our relationship to our biotic community.

We won’t protect what we don’t know about.

To save the planet and all its Earthlings.

You can’t appreciate what you don’t understand, knowledge inspires change.

EE helps grow a generation of people who are informed and can advocate for the environment. It keeps environmental issues all in hostile environments.

To inform and engage the next generation of conservationists.

Our world is in trouble environmentally and it is necessary to educate those who will make decisions about our future. Not just educate – more importantly connect them to the environment.

To connect children to their environments, their homes.

To empower children and young people to become stewards of their environments/homes.

EE is necessary for the continued preservation and conservation of the environment.

For future clean food, clean air, water, and soil.

To understand the world around us and the systems that keep it functioning. And find our identity within it.

EE is necessary for the health of all of us and our environment! We need EE to continue the love of nature in our life.

EEANM makes us “stronger together” and provides info and inspiration for those who are discovering they care.

Foster environmental stewardship in youth.


To build knowledgeable and passionate earth citizens.

To raise children who care about the environment and want to protect it and love it and see it grow. To create a community who cares about our Earth and environments and its people.

EE is important for bonding with an ever changing environment.

For families of all kinds. Humans/animals and others.

For helping get knowledge and have fun.

To connect people to where they live and to the larger, global ecology of the earth.

EE is necessary because it requires us to consciously interact with the organisms and processes around us.

Interconnection of life and planet requires EE for sustainability.

Because environmental literacy is necessary to make good decisions about our quality of life now and for our children. And it brings happiness.

Environmental education…it’s necessary because there’s no better inspiration than our WILD earth.

Because the health and well-being of our world depends on environmentally literate citizens, policymakers, and organizations.

To promote passion for stewardship of our environment and allow for all generations to come to enjoy the environment.

EE is necessary because it promotes responsible citizenship in a variety of ways, including an understanding of the natural world.

Because if we don’t teach EE, students won’t know how to protect the environment that gives us all life. They won’t appreciate the web of life that connects them to the natural world and keeps them healthy, happy, productive.

To develop an awareness, connection, and stewardship of the local environment in our community.

We need to connect to the natural world for our health, security, economy – for our future. We must know in order to connect.

…because environmental education inspires curiosity and I want to live in a world of inspired and curious citizens.

EE is necessary because future generations will live here too. They need to learn from what we’ve done – both right and wrong.

To inspire people to care for the land and protect it for all species.

Knowledge. Quality of life.

Because of the next Secretary of the Interior and Climate Change Denial.

Environmental education is necessary because it teaches us about ourselves. It reminds us that nature and people are not separate, we ARE nature and nature is US.

EE is necessary because we should all be informed and aware of the impacts of our decisions.

Because Trump is now President.

EE is necessary because we should all be informed and award of the impacts of our decisions.

We need to care for our environment – this is the only planet we’ve got!

Health (personal, physical, mental, emotional). Planet.

To help people learn to make informed decisions about our world. Earth is life…the rest is just details.



EE Certification Candidates and Advisors Answer FAQs

ee-cert-qa-graphicEEANM hosted a live Q&A on Facebook October 17-21. Our advisors, candidates, and newly certified educators shared their thoughts about EE Certification. We’ve pulled the questions and their answers together in this blog post. If you’re considering an application or just want to learn more, we invite you to read their discussion. Continue Reading →

Kathryn Venzor Awarded for Outstanding Service to EE

Kathryn VenzorEEANM is very pleased to announce that Kathryn Venzor, Education Curator at the Albuquerque BioPark, is the winner of the 2016 Outstanding Service to EE!

Kathryn has served on EEANM’s Board of Directors since 2013 and stepped into the role of Board President in 2014. She has contributed a great deal to EE in New Mexico and there is no one more deserving of this honor. Continue Reading →

2016 Environmental Literacy Summit – 11/11/16

Making Environmental Education Relevant and Necessary in Today’s Education

Taking a look back over the history of Environmental Education (EE), join us on
Friday, November 11, 2016 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
for the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico’s annual meeting along with an opportunity to explore the following:

– Status of the Environmental Literacy Plan
– Environmental Education Certification
– Cultivating Diversity within Our Community
– Opportunities for Collaboration and Collective Impact
– How do we measure our impact?

Whether you are a classroom teacher, non-formal educator, or a community member interested in environmental education, please share your voice as we explore ways for the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico to better support you and our EE community!

When: Friday, November 11, 2016 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Rio Grande Nature Center State Park Education Building (please don’t forget $3 for parking)
Who: Classroom teachers, non-formal educators, interested community members
Why: Because our voice is stronger and more powerful if we work together!

Call for Nominations for the Dr. Richard W. Becker Award for Excellence in EE

Award Overview and Criteria:

This award will recognize and honor annually an outstanding individual that has influenced students through the field of environmental education or service learning in New Mexico. The individual selected as the recipient of this award will have excelled in one or more of the following goals:

Advanced environmental literacy.
Advanced or engaged an audience in environmental stewardship, including service learning.
Engaged an audience through connections to the natural world leading to action in conservation or environmental stewardship.
Advanced environmental education or a program through collaboration.
Nominations are due October 31, 2016. The winner will be announced at our annual meeting during the Environmental Literacy Summit on November 11, 2016 at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park (http://eeanm.org/2016-environmental-literacy-summit-111116/).



Member Feature: Joe Garcia

Joe Garcia sees connections everywhere. Constantly observing nature and learning from even the youngest teachers, he is a font of wisdom in and out of the garden.

This month, our featured members are also the pilot candidates in our EE Certification Program. Applications are now open for our 2016-17 class of certified environmental educators. Read more and apply here.
Joe Garcia

Joe with the turkey call he received when he won the 2015 Becker Award.

Joe is all about the big picture. Since he began his teaching career in the 1990’s, he has been striving to teach his students about the holistic relationships between the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Joe came to the La Plazita Institute as student volunteer, and has been on the staff for 11 years. He works with students in “all different situations across the spectrum of learning,” from preschool to adults.

He is the Farm Education Director and oversees a cherished program called Garden Wisdom. He encourages his students to examine ancestral wisdom from all cultures in order to learn from the Earth and apply it to their lives. Continue Reading →

Member Feature: Tammy Maitland

For Tammy Maitland, classroom teaching didn’t quite fit. Something was missing. Her move into environmental education combined her passions in a satisfying career shift.

This month, our featured members are also the pilot candidates in our EE Certification Program. Applications are now open for our 2016-17 class of certified environmental educators. Read more and apply here.

Tammy-MaitlandTammy grew up playing near the ocean and in the woods of Massachusetts. A self-described “mountain person,” she was drawn to the allure of a teacher intern program in Santa Fe. When her career as a 4th grade classroom teacher left her wanting more, she decided to combine her interest in social causes, love of the outdoors, and teaching skills for a new pursuit in environmental education.

Tammy is passionate about getting students outdoors for first-hand experience. “This is the best way to appreciate the environment and to care for it,” she says. As a child, her family instilled those values in her. She is motivated to create those same outdoor opportunities for her audiences, knowing that not every child would get them otherwise. Continue Reading →

Member Feature: Rink Somerday

Rink fell in love with the outdoors as a child in Girl Scouts. As an adult, her work connects thousands of children to nature every year.

This month, our featured members are also the pilot candidates in our EE Certification Program. Applications are now open for our 2016-17 class of certified environmental educators. Read more and apply here.

Rink-SomerdayRink first discovered EE 20 years ago when her boss at the Colorado Division of Wildlife involved her with Project Wild.

She quickly found herself immersed in the field, working with Project Wet, Project Learning Tree, serving on the board for Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and much more. Now, she works as the Program Coordinator for the Asombro Institute for Science Education, where she has been for 13 years.

In her current role, Rink has taught over 10,000 3rd graders in the Experience Science program. With that many participants, it’s hard to remember every student, but one student definitely remembered Rink! Continue Reading →

Member Feature: Eileen Everett

Like many in our field, Eileen Everett often finds herself explaining she doesn’t just take kids hiking for a living.

This month, our featured members are also the pilot candidates in our EE Certification Program. Applications are now open for our 2016-17 class of certified environmental educators. Read more and apply here.

Eileen-with-dogEnvironmental education involves so much more than wearing boots and a backpack and hitting the trail.

Eileen’s goal: New Mexico’s EE Certification Program will raise awareness of the diverse and complex facets of our work as well as the competencies required to succeed.

As the director of EEANM and the voice representing all members, Eileen’s investment in EE Certification is multi-layered, but her major role is as an advocate.

She hopes that EE Certification will be the standard for employers who seek to hire the most competent educators. She envisions a future in which certified environmental educators have an edge when applying for jobs and can demand better compensation for their work. Her dreams include a strengthened legitimacy and appreciation for environmental education. Continue Reading →