Check out these important supporters of Environmental Education
in the state of IL!
Want to see your logo and company name here? Join EEAI as an organizational member
or sponsor an event.
EEAI is a proud partner in Rethink Outside, a campaign founded by Blue Sky Funders Forum.
"Rethink Outside is a call to action for all who believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors, because when people connect with nature we all benefit. Together, we can unify and amplify the growing movement to lift up the benefits of time spent outdoors as a basic human right. In doing so, we can reshape the prevailing public narratives around time spent in nature and engage new partners and allies. "
Take the pledge today!
Is your business interested in supporting environmental education? Consider joining us on 1% For The Planet!
Connect with us on social media!
Search the web with GoodSearch.com and each time you do a search, GoodSearch will donate to EEAI!
EEAI is the proud state partner for:
EEAI is proud to serve as the Illinois affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education. The Affiliate Network promotes collaboration for maximum effectiveness and efficiency and a unified voice for Environmental Education across North America and beyond.
In 1972 a group of committed and concerned citizens -- both conservationists and teachers -- founded the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. Since that time, members of EEAI have provided leadership on this front at the national, state and community levels. The strength of EEAI comes from the involvement of its members. Their participation in state and regional events raises the profile of environmental education and challenges decision-makers to give environmental literacy higher priority.
Project Learning Tree E-Units Training Courses
The Environmental Education Association of Illinois is hosting online Project Learning Tree educator training using PLT e-units accompanied by online professional development.
The e-units are organized by grade-level strand and offer hands-on activities to engage students; interactive connections to academic standards including NGSS, Common Core and C3 Framework for Social Studies; as well as flexible curriculum integration—use activities as stand-alone investigations or move through the e-unit from beginning to end.
Project Learning Tree e-units include:
Registration is $10 for EEAI members (per each e-unit) or $20 for nonmembers (per each e-unit).
5 ISBE PD credits are available per e-unit. ISBE PD credit is offered free of charge for EEAI members and $5 for nonmembers ($5 fee applies for each individual e-unit if registrants elect to participate in more than one).
eeGuidance for Reopening Schools
We are very excited to be a part of finding ways for environmental education to be a part of reopening schools in Illinois. The newly launched eeGuidance for Reopening Schools was developed by state EE organizations and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The guidelines provide practical strategies for schools to use outdoor learning and environmental education as a tool to safely reopen schools this fall.
Read the Press Release to learn more.
EEAI will be working to gather a comprehensive list of virtual programming opportunties and other resources that non-formal facilities have to offer for their local schools. This information will be shared on our COVID-19 Educator Resources Page.
Growing Up WILD - Online Opportunity
Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills. Growing Up WILD is appropriate for youth ages 3-7.
This online course will introduce the educator participant to the pedagogy behind Growing Up WILD, to the layout of the guide, and to several activities. A final course assignment will ask participants to respond to an activity of their choice and conduct a peer review.
Online course format (estimated 10 hours for course completion)
Register by June 15
Course will run throughout the Summer 2020. Participants will be contacted about specific course dates and instruction deadlines.
Earth Force Illinois
Interested in project-based learning? What a great new program to implement at a camp or eco-club? Want to increase sustainability at your school? LOOK NO FURTHER!
In 2020 EEAI will be launching a new statewide partnership with Earth Force to bring this project-based, environmental education, civic action focused curriculum program to educators all throughout Illinois.
Learn all about this incredible program - EARTH FORCE
Educators in Illinois will have access to -
Welcome Our New Board Members!
This spring EEAI is thrilled to be welcoming 5 new members to the EEAI Board of Directors. Serving as Regional Directors all over the state these 5 women will play a vital role in advancing environmental literacy in Illinois. And we are honored that they are giving their time and talents to our organization.
Learn a little bit about each of them!
Name: Mariah Myers
Where you work/what you do: Environmental Educator at Sugar Grove Nature Center near McLean.
New EEAI Board Position: Co-Director East Central Region
Why did you want to join the Board? I wanted to join the EEAI Board to network and build connections with fellow educators and to help give back to the EE community by being a resource for other educators and their organizations within my region and the state of Illinois.
What do you hope to contribute to the Board or bring to the EEAI Membership? I hope to help build my region’s membership numbers and to be a resource for our members by supporting them through events, fundraisers, professional development opportunities, and as a fellow colleague in environmental education.
What do you love most about environmental education? My favorite thing about environmental education is helping others to build connections with nature. I love seeing those connections in action, like when a child learns something new and passes their knew knowledge on with excitement and enthusiasm to others, helping them to build connections too.
What's your favorite natural spot in your region of IL and what do you like to
there? Sugar Grove Nature Center is at the top of my list and being new to the East Central Region, I am really looking forward to finding new places to explore.These days, I enjoy hiking at Carpenter Park (near Springfield) with my cameras and a bird guide in tow.
Name: Janet Dahlberg
Where you work/what you do: Byron Forest Preserve, Assistant Superintendent of Education
New EEAI Board Position: Northwest Regional Director
Why did you want to join the Board? I love the people and the organization!
What do you hope to contribute to the Board or bring to the EEAI Membership? Graphic design and promotional skills, energy, and enthusiasm
What do you love most about environmental education? It is so important in this day and age, not just for our future but for our present--we all need nature in our lives.
What's your favorite natural spot in your region of IL and what do you like to there? Barrick Oaks Homestead Preserve--a wetland/creek/prairie/oak savanna--it has it all! There is an amazing amount of wildlife there, and I have always loved water.
Name: Rebecca Pruim
Where you work/what you do: St. Raphael Catholic School/Middle School Science and Math Teacher.
New EEAI Board Position: Northeast Regional Director
Why did you want to join the Board? To put it simply, I wanted to join the EEAI board to make a difference. I am excited to work with a passionate group of individuals to continue to develop best environmental education practices throughout the state.
What do you hope to contribute to the Board or bring to the EEAI Membership?Through my service with EEAI, I plan to strengthen the network between classroom educators and non-formal educators so we can reach more students and their families in order to promote a deeper understanding about protecting our environment.
What do you love most about environmental education? I love environmental education because it teaches individuals to use critical thinking skills to explore environmental issues based on knowledge, awareness, and understanding. This approach is much different than advocating for a particular viewpoint as it encourages each participant to be passionately active in moving their own mindset forward. Environmental education helps us all develop a deeper appreciation of nature, which leads to more responsible decision making.
What's your favorite natural spot in your region of IL and what do you like to there? In my region, saganashkee slough is my favorite natural spot. My husband and I can often be found on the slough with our kayaks reminiscing about the day or week while watching the sunset.
Name: Lara Sviatko
Where you work/what you do:I am a part time naturalist at Stillman Nature Center. And I am a part time teacher/interpreter at the College of Lake County.
New EEAI Board Position: New regional director for Northeast Region
Why did you want to join the Board? As I was finishing a masters in biology from Miami of Ohio this spring, I wanted some way to contribute what I learned and pass it along.
I hope to use the skills and knowledge I have acquired as a teacher and as a naturalist to take EEAI to a broader audience.
What do you love most about environmental education? There is so much to love about environmental education it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. At Stillman and Lincoln marsh (my previous job) doing pond study with kids and watching them find an organism they have never seen before. When I get to watch that connection being made and knowing it will stay with them. It is incredibly satisfying. I also love it when kids make connections between things, like food webs or adaptations.
What's your favorite natural spot in your region of IL and what do you like to do there? My favorite natural spot in Illinois is Cuba marsh. I like to walk, bike, or just go with my camera and see what wildlife I can spot. It refreshes my mind and my spirit.
Name: Teresa Vaughn
Where you work/what you do: Director and Co-Founder of the Land for Learning Institute. Although I perform alot of administrative duties, I still get to be in the field facilitating all types of environmental education and recreation activities such as canoeing, hiking, team building, wetland explorations, and river expeditions.
New EEAI Board Position: Co-Director in the Southern Region
Why did you want to join the Board? Getting back onto the board is an inspiring opportunity to be part of a network of like minded people dedicated to expanding EE throughout the state. I love the diversity of formal and non-formal educators and naturalists promoting EE from different angels and perspectives.
What do you hope to contribute to the Board or bring to the EEAI membership? My hope is to help strengthen the connection between classroom teachers and their curriculum to the the hands-on experiences of EE, especially down here in the southernmost part of Illinois. I also aim to find ways to utilize the resources of other organizations to support the mission of EEAI.
What do you love most about environmental education? I love that Environmental Education is more than just one subject or concept. It's a field that guides us in how to think about the world around us, and builds upon our understanding to then take action--not just environmental action but positive actions to help society. What's not to love?!
What's your favorite natural spot in your region of IL and what do you like to do there? So many beautiful places in southern Illniois! Right now, as the spring moves into summer I love spending time in the rocky creeks that flow through the forests with their lush vegetation and waterfalls (Panthers Den, Little Grassy Lake, Little Grand Canyon).
EE in Illinois News to Note
Earth Force Environmental Action Conference - COMING TO CHICAGO!
Join Earth Force in this three-day workshop to learn the Community Action and Problem Solving Process, a powerful tool to facilitate and integrate student-led action into your environmental education.
The Field Museum has been partnering with Earth Force and offering these materials to educators for over 20 years! EEAI would love to see some organizations and individuals from downstate get certified to teach these programs.
Find out all the details about this workshop here.
Go HERE to learn more Earth Force.
SkyDay Project - Rusty Patch Bumblebee NGSS Unit
SkyDay NGSS unit on the plight of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee ready for teacher review this month! Did you know that until very recently this wonderful little pollinator used to roam all over our gardens, parks and prairies but is now on the endangered species list? Did you know the RPBB has become so scarce it is now only likely to be present in 0.1% of its historical range? How on earth did this happen? What are the pressures on the life cycle of this crucial member of our ecosystem? Most importantly, why should you care?In this unit students will examine the latest science and draw their own conclusions. They will discover why bees like RPBB are vitally important pollinators of wild plants and agricultural crops worldwide and then they’ll be shown easy ways to get outside and take actions to help these vital friends!
Want to be part of our Teacher Focus Group and Pilot Program?
If you are an Illinois middle school or high school science teacher and would like to learn more about joining our April teacher focus group and Fall pilot program for the RPBB unit, please check out the details here and let us know if you would like to take part.
Natural Start Alliance - NEW RESOURCE!
Nature-Based Preschool Professional Practice Guidebook
The Natural Start Alliance is proud to share a new kind of resource, one designed to unite diverse models of nature-based education—from outdoor schools to forest kindergartens to nature-based preschools—and become a platform for the sustained growth of standard-bearing programs. The Nature-Based Preschool Professional Practice Guidebook represents the combined expertise of professionals across the field of nature-based education, and describes how nature-based educators offer programs that are safe, effective, and inclusive.
Interested in being trained on this new resource? Reach out to us and we will work with Natural Start Alliance to bring a workshop to your area of Illinois!
PBS Series - Nature Cat - Illinois Based!
Have you seen the online series called Nature Cat? It is a cartoon about a cat that loves being outside and has all kinds of funny, educational adventures with a whole slew of characters! The production company and original makers of the program are all based right here in Illinois. And the characters have been voiced by some pretty famous Saturday Night Live comedians. There is some very fun educational content that can help inspire young kids to get outside. Check it out!
PBS - Nature Cat