Adrian Ayson

Roles at NAAEE:


What began as a summer job as a park ranger in Central Park has continued into a lifelong career in environmental education. Adrian stopped counting at 39 years, which was probably a long while ago. After stints as Program Director for the New York City Park Ranger Program, and Lead EE Curriculum Developer at Gateway National Recreation Area, Adrian moved to Massachusetts where he dove into New England's rich and dynamic world of environmental education.

As Director of Education at Massachusetts Audubon, Adrian led the over-all educational strategy, long range planning, and vision for more than twenty nature centers and their school and public programs. He raised the bar for education programs statewide, emphasizing long-term impacts through continuous staff training, and building systems for robust program evaluation. As Director of Operations for the Center for Whole Communities (CWC) in Vermont, Adrian pivoted from traditional environmental education to a young organization with an acclaimed environmental leadership program. At CWC, Adrian was in the front lines of developing national programs that centered on strengthening the environmental community by weaving together conservation, environmental protection, justice, culture, economic sustainability, and community engagement. Adrian shepherded the development and piloting of Whole Measures, the nation's first values-based program evaluation and long-range planning tool. As the founder and principal of eeMatters, an environmental education and interpretive planning consulting group, Adrian led professional and community-based teams that developed strategic plans, master interpretive plans, exhibits, evaluation plans, and technology-based communication tools for clients as varied as Maine Audubon, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Trustees of Reservations, Monadnock Media, Old Sturbridge Village, and New York Botanical Gardens.

Early on, Adrian discovered that a special kind of fulfillment comes from being of service to the field of EE itself. Serving on the board of the New York City Environmental Education Advisory Council was the first of many turns with professional EE associations. Adrian played leadership roles with the Massachusetts EE Society (president), New England EE Alliance (president, executive director), and as special projects manager for the Maine EE Association. Adrian has served as a consultant for capacity building and environmental literacy initiatives with state EE associations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont. To top it off, Adrian also takes pride in having served EE on the national level, as NAAEE's Director of Technology Programs, guiding the conceptualization and initial development of online services that have evolved to become eePRO and other tools that help build capacity in EE. Adrian has also been active on the NAAEE Affiliate Network, serving on the Steering Committee and as Chair of the Professional Development Committee. Adrian is pleased as punch about having received the NAAEE Outstanding Service to EE Award for the New England region, in 2016.