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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

EENC Annual Conference in Gastonia

Celebration of Statewide Environmental Educators

The 2019 Environmental Educators of North Carolina’s (EENC) annual conference will be held at the Schiele Museum of Natural History, in Gastonia, North Carolina, from September 19 to 21. The theme is MemorEEs Make US, celebrating the formative experiences that inspired past attendees to become teachers and focusing on strategies to help cultivate memorable learning experiences to inspire the next generation.

Especially suited for teachers, informal educators, park rangers and other conservationists, scout leaders, museum and zoo employees, school garden coordinators and other community leaders, the conference will feature field trips and workshops, concurrent sessions―focusing on lesson plans, environmental education resources and success stories from educators―professional networking, a night at the museum and keynote speaker Dr. Carolyn Finney, storyteller, cultural geographer and author of Black Faces, White Spaces.

Finney’s work develops greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenges media on their representation of differences and increases awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak on environmental issues and determines policies and actions.

The EENC’s mission includes building connections; providing professional development and training to promote excellence for North Carolina’s environmental educators that inspire the creation of an environmentally literate citizenry and empowering learners to make decisions for a sustainable future; fostering networking opportunities; and demonstrating high-quality environmental education programs and materials. EENC welcomes persons of all races, ages, creeds and sexual orientations as they believe everyone can help increase the environmental literacy of our state’s citizens.

The EENC grew from the desire of environmental educators across North Carolina to meet and share their experiences, aspirations and tools. Launched in 1990, the nonprofit now represents a network of hundreds of outstanding environmental educators, individuals and organizations that work together including in section events across the state to accomplish its goals and continues to seek new related opportunities.

As the state affiliate for the North American Association of Environmental Education, EENC works with other affiliates throughout the state, collaborating with state offices and agencies, nonprofits and businesses, bringing them together for shared events, advocacy and initiatives.

The organization also conducts an annual awards program and provides mini-grants for professional development, teaching materials, workshop expenses and classroom support.

EENC was chosen Affiliate of the Year in 1998 by the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), largely for developing North Carolina’s environmental education certification program with the state Office of Environmental Education, and earned the award again in 2014 for hosting the 40th annual NAAEE conference and leading the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance. In 2018, the organization hired its first staff including an executive director to expand its effort through partnerships, outreach, fundraising and new programming including a mini-grant, Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education workshops, facilitator support, and diversity, equity and inclusion training for educators.

Environmental education is a learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action.


For more information or to register for the full conference or any one day, call 984-999-1702, email [email protected] or visit


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