More than 100 educators filled
Blue Ball Barn in Wilmington, Del., for
the first DAEE conference. Photo by Susan Yost,
Delaware State University
More than 100 formal and informal educators, representatives from local and state agencies, and master gardeners recently gathered in Wilmington, Del., to attend the first conference of the newly formed Delaware Association for Environmental Education. The conference, which was held Feb. 27 at Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, Del., celebrated the theme “A Child in the Wild,” and focused on how the No Child Left Inside and Green Schools initiatives can bring the natural world to life in the classroom and on school grounds.
The daylong conference opened with a welcome from David Small, deputy secretary of DNREC, and keynote speaker Linda Rhoads, former executive director of the Environmental Education Association of Oregon. A variety of sessions on greening schools and encouraging children to explore and learn outdoors followed, including presentations by Roy Whitaker from the Seaford School District on “Energy and Air Quality Initiatives,” and Sally Boswell from the Center for the Inland Bays and Sarah Toman Hilderbrand from Environmental Concern on “Schoolyard Habitats.” Also presenting were Pamela Vanderwende on the “Phillis Wheatley Middle School Conservation Club,” Carrie Samis from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program on the “Green Schools Program in Maryland,” Michele Jennings from Delaware Greenways on their “No Child Left Inside Initiatives,” and April McCrae from the Delaware Department of Education on “Environmental Education and DOE.”
Attendees also enjoyed more than a dozen exhibits on environmental education programs offered by a variety of state and non-profit organizations, and attending teachers were able to earn 6 clock hours through the Delaware Teacher Center.
The conference’s theme and networking opportunities highlighted the guiding principles of DAEE, which was formed with the mission to promote environmental and outdoor education in the state and to facilitate positive community impacts on the conservation and sustainability of Delaware’s resources. Now an affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), DAEE is supported by Delaware Sea Grant, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Department of Agriculture, New Castle Conservation District, and several other organizations.
For more information, visit www.daeeonline.wordpress.com.
To learn more about Delaware Sea Grant, visit www.deseagrant.org.