2016 Year End Message from Judy Braus




Message from the Executive Director


Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
--Muhammad Ali

Do one thing every day that scares you.
--Mary Schmich

Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters:

As we close out the year, I want to thank all of the members of the NAAEE family and beyond who are working to create change for a more positive future. I am so honored to be part of such a dedicated network that is so warm, welcoming, and committed to change.

I wanted to also give a big thank you to all of you who have contributed to our year-end appeal. If you haven’t had a chance to give, remember that any amount, no matter how small, can help support the work we do to advance environmental education—from advocating on your behalf to building a stronger network that can help create healthier communities and more empowered global citizens. 

We will be kicking off the New Year by launching our new website, which we hope will be a great step forward in helping you find resources and ideas to help with your work. In January, when you visit naaee.org, you will find a new design, new search features, and a new professional development sub-site called eePRO, which is part of EECapacity. Thanks to all of you who have tested the site, given us feedback, and provided ideas about how to make this new hub dynamic, useful, creative, and fun. We will be conducting a webinar on January 28th for anyone who wants a walk through the new site to see what it can offer. And thanks to everyone who has stepped up to lead a discussion group. (More on that in January.) Throughout 2016, we will be fixing any bugs and adding new features, and hope you will work with us to create an exciting hub that helps us all connect better and improve networking, practice, and impact.

Although the issues we face are daunting, thousands of bright spots shining through in every corner of the world give me hope. I just returned from a meeting at Disney, with zoo and aquarium professionals, social movement experts, educators, communicators, evaluation specialists, and more—looking at how to save endangered species through public engagement, including education. What people are already doing is remarkable, exciting, and hopeful. But the clear message was the need to do more and work smarter and better together. As so many said, we need to work with unlikely allies, lose the ego, share data and ideas, think bigger, and collaborate to achieve greatest impact. And we need to create opportunities for new thinking and do a better job of balancing the message of urgency with hope.

As I look ahead to 2016, I’m excited by the role that NAAEE and our Affiliate Network can play, with your help, to tackle our challenges and help more people take part in a journey toward change. And I look forward to more discussion about how we can have more impact.

Have a merry, magical holiday, enjoy your friends and family, do something kind to help those in need in your community and beyond, and take time for yourself. And a good colleague and friend at Disney reminded me that we need to keep pushing ourselves to step out of our comfort zone to get the most impact. So when you think about your New Year’s resolutions, think about tackling something that will push you to try new things and create meaningful impact—and then wait for the magic to happen.

With thanks to all of you,

Judy Braus
NAAEE Executive Director

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
--Neale Donald Walsch