Nature Deficit Disorder, Get Outside they say…. Sometimes this is so much easier to say than to do. As an educator in this field, I understand how hard this is. Seems simple though doesn’t it?
Last year my coworkers and I decided to do just that – get back outside. We realized that each one of us has something unique that we find amazing about our natural world. My love is birds and nature photography, another coworker loves reptiles and amphibians, and the third loves to watch how everything interacts. We were able to take a day, a Professional Development Day, to get back out there and remind ourselves why we got into this field in the first place. We started early, visited some nearby parks and streams, tracked some turtles, looked for snakes, found over 7 species of salamanders (including a mudpuppy and a hellbender), and identified over 40 different species of birds. I am looking forward to getting an early opportunity for another day, actually a weekend, to meet up with colleagues from all over the state (as well as my coworkers) to learn more about the environment we live in, how to share it with others, and be surrounded by others that share the passion that we all have for Environmental Education.
This year’s annual Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) conference will be held March 14-16 at Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA (near Ligonier). There will also be some Thursday workshops for those of us that can make it out early. I am very proud to say that my coworker, April Claus, will be the Friday night keynote speaker, sharing some local positive accomplishments and Steven Van Matre, International Chair the Institute Earth Education will speaking on Saturday night. He will also be leading a Thursday pre conference workshop. The National Aviary will be there on Friday with an amazing bird demonstration. If you attend the morning Game Commission workshop on Saturday, you are invited to attend their afternoon field study, a trip into the woods to find a bear den! Act 48 credits are also available. Register and get more information by visiting www.paee.net.
Can’t make it to the conference? Try something new, visit a new place, and take the time to reconnect! PAEE has been able to revisit their website that was used as a gathering place for outdoor events and environmental information. Take a look at www.eeresources.net (or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/eeresources) to find a new outing or event you would like to try or support. You can also submit your organizations’ events and job openings on the web site to help others fulfill their need to “Get Outside”.