Kimi Waite

Roles at NAAEE:

CEE-Change Fellow

Educator & Ph.D. Candidate
NAAEE CEE Change Fellow

Kimi (she/her), educator and Ph.D. student and 2019 30 Under 30 alum, brings a wealth of experience as a K–12 educator to the Fellowship. Her professional practice lies in the intersections of social justice education, social studies, environmental literacy, and climate change education. She is on the Board of Directors of NAAEE’s state affiliate, the California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. Kimi serves on the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Books Selection Committee, and is the 2021 California Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. Kimi is also a Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis with The OpEd Project and The Yale Program for Climate Change Communication. 

Kimi is a global educator and has taught in South Los Angeles, South Korea, and Guyana. As a former expat and the daughter of a flight attendant, she’s traveled to over 80 countries and all seven continents. Her explorations have shown her the value of collaboration across disciplines and professions. 

EcoBlitz Expansion and Scaling

What is EcoBlitz?
EcoBlitz was developed in 2019 and is an interdisciplinary environmental education & community science program created by a team of California-based NGS Explorers and NG Certified Educators. I am the current team leader, as well as a co-developer and a co-creator of EcoBlitz. Using tools such as iNaturalist and Marine Debris Tracker, K-12 students explore and document plant and animal biodiversity like biologists and trash and plastics like anthropologists. Students learn about communities through the lenses of geographic education, environmental education, and social justice. They develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of National Geographic Explorers while working with other students and classes to create more socially just and sustainable local and global communities. EcoBlitz has been conducted twice in 2019, and has reached almost 2,000 students throughout California.

The Project
As a result of the pandemic, we are transforming to a virtual model and we are expanding our pre-existing toolkits to create a comprehensive professional development program for educators, and eventually, expand our training guides and toolkits for participating NGS Explorers. EcoBlitz is supported by The National Geographic Society. In our expansion, I am leading the creation of a scalable and decentralized program model that can be community and culturally responsive, equitable, and functions on a community asset model framework with a transformative paradigm. Our partner organization is our state NAAEE affiliate, the California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE).


September 1, 2021 to June 1, 2022

Create a sustainable pathway and beta-model for teacher participation and professional learning for EcoBlitz that can eventually be scaled to other states through partnering with NAAEE state affiliates and local teachers colleges.

These are the corresponding action steps:

  1. Partner with San Joaquin Teachers College to establish a pathway for earning Professional Learning Units (PLUs)
  2. Create an EcoBlitz course syllabus worth 1-2 PLUs and engage in two rounds of feedback cycles
  3. Create an online asynchronous course that coincides with the syllabus
  4. Advertise and generate interest through various channels such as NAAEE, AEOE, National Geographic Education etc.
  5. Have teachers in California sign up for the course
  6. Host 1-2 live Q and A sessions
  7. Analyze uploaded participation data from EcoBlitz
  8. Refine beta-model if necessary
  9. Reach out to NAAEE affiliates to expand.