As most of us get the chance to take a break and reflect on what we’re thankful for this year, I want to take a moment to thank our incredible network of environmental educators for the work you do to make the world a better place. As the recent tragic fires in California have shown, your work is more important than ever. Just a year ago Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, causing us to cancel our conference for the first time in its history. Our partners at Para la Naturaleza tell us that the rebuilding process will take years. But rebuilding is also an opportunity to make our communities more resilient. From California to the Caribbean, and all across the planet, we can come back smarter and stronger. And environmental
education is vitally important in that process.
I also want to thank so many of you who helped make our conference in Spokane so successful. More than 1,300 people gathered to share ideas through engaging keynotes, workshops, special events, and so much more. We had a record number of young people attending, hundreds of first-time attendees, and participants from more than 30 countries, including our Global Environmental Education Partnership advisors. It was also great to have our EE Community Fellows, 30 Under 30 Honorees, Affiliates, Young Reporters for the Environment, the Environmental
Professionals of Color, and so many other groups coming together to learn, share, and grow.
For those of you who missed the conference, here’s a short video that highlights what happened during the week, and we’ve posted the keynote addresses on our YouTube Channel. We’ve also launched a pledge to build support for the work we’re doing in environmental education around
the world. Go to ActNowforEE.org to sign the pledge and join a global community in support of environmental education.
We were so grateful to have Therel Santos, Education Director at Para la Naturaleza, in Spokane to share with us, first hand, how the island is doing a year out from the hurricane. We are so impressed and inspired by the hard work of Therel and so many others who are making a huge difference. So today I am taking time to be thankful for colleagues like Therel and all the people I get to work with—on our staff, board, and council, in our many networks, and in our partner organizations.
And thank you for what you do every day. It’s comforting, especially when we’re bombarded by such tough news, to know that so many smart, talented, and passionate people are working together to create a more equitable and sustainable future. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and enjoy time with your family and friends.
NAAEE Executive Director