A Message from Executive Director Judy Braus, December 2021




Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends:

Last week, our board met in person for the first time in two years. It was uplifting to be in the company of colleagues and friends who believe so deeply in the capacity of education to create a more sustainable and equitable world. During our time together, NAAEE Chair Mary Ford referenced a New York Times article on “collective effervescence” by organizational psychologist Adam Grant. As Grant describes, the term refers to the synchrony you feel “when you slide into rhythm with strangers on a dance floor, colleagues in a brainstorming session, cousins at a religious service, or teammates on a soccer field.”

EE, I believe, is a source of collective effervescence. Whether we’re together to experience the flight of an osprey, witness the flash of a shooting star, or collaborate on solutions to community issues, a shared experience makes all the difference. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we’ll return to an in-person conference for the Natural Start in July 2022 in Cincinnati and the annual NAAEE conference and research symposium in fall 2022 in Tucson. As we do, we will remain committed to taking every precaution we can to keep one another safe. I can’t wait to see you there!

After all, we accomplished so much together in 2021—NAAEE’s 50th anniversary year—and have much to celebrate, including:

  • Online gatherings of more than 2,500 professionals for the NAAEE Annual Conference, Research Symposium, and Nature-Based Early Learning Conference
  • 30 amazing EE rising stars that joined the ranks of our distinguished 30 Under 30
  • 35 CEE-Change Fellows continued to explore critical connections between EE and civic engagement
  • A new partnership with Samsung to advance timely and exciting innovations in education nationwide
  • The debut of ee360+, designed to build on our work with ee360 and provide professional development opportunities for educators, with the terrific support and collaboration of partners at EPA
  • A center-stage focus on climate change education in our program and policy outreach activities
  • Our first-ever GEEP Asia-Pacific Regional EE Forum, which convened more than 550 professionals from 68 countries! (Registration is free and recorded sessions are available through April 2022.)

This is just a sampling of what our collective efforts have sparked in 2021. Your membership and support make these milestones possible, so as you make your year-end giving decisions, I hope you’ll consider a special gift to NAAEE in honor of our 50th anniversary.

Thank you for being a valued part of the NAAEE family—whether you’re a member, partner, and sponsor—and for all you do to make the world a better place through the power of education.

Have a happy, healthy, and effervescent New Year!

Judy Braus
Executive Director