What is EEAI?
Mission: to maintain a vital network that supports and advances environmental education throughout the state.
The Environmental Education Association of Illinois (EEAI) is a group of concerned citizens who are interested in educating people of all ages to the importance of understanding and protecting the environment.
Since its inception, EEAI has provided leadership at the local, state and national level within the environmental education community by providing and supporting professional development services to the formal and non-formal educator. As host to national, state-based and independent professional development events and curriculums such as Growing Up WILD, Project Learning Tree, and the Midwest Environmental Education Consortium, EEAI has set the professional standard to which educators have learned to depend on.
EEAI is governed by a board of directors. The state is divided into five regions, each of which is served by two representatives (three in the northeast region). The membership elects the regional directors and officers (president, president-elect, secretary, and treasurer).
Also, EEAI serves as the Illinois affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). NAAEE is the world's largest association of environmental educators, with members in North America and 55 countries worldwide. For NAAEE membership information, visit http://www.naaee.net/.
What Does EEAI Do?
How EEAI Began
The concept for EEAI was formed at the Lorado Taft Invitational Environmental Education Conference in December of 1971. The conference was attended by about 35 people known to its sponsors as being interested in environmental education. At the close of the meeting, George Travers of Commonwealth Edison made a chance remark that it was a good conference, but that after everyone leaves they will probably never meet again.
That comment set some wheels in motion. Malcolm Swan from NIU's Lorado Taft Field Campus, subsequently sent out a questionnaire to 50-60 people asking their opinions concerning the feasibility of forming a statewide environmental education organization. Malcolm received many favorable responses and he then asked Noel McInnis, Center for Curriculum Design in Evanston, to call a meeting of a dozen people at the Morton Arboretum to discuss the matter. About 30 people showed up and decided that there was interest and a need for an organization. The group decided to hold an organizational meeting on April 14 and 15, 1972 in Springfield. Several committees were formed and Malcolm Swan agreed to pull together a mailing list and to help get the word out to those who might attend.
Nearly 100 people attended the organizational meeting. Debate and discussion were spirited, and it was soon evident that some of those present wanted and environmental education organization and others an environmental action organization. After an eloquent plea from A.B. Villaneuva from Western Illinois University that the group not leave without naming someone to call the next meeting, a constitutional committee was formed which included Villanueva, Andy Clifton, Helen McClain, and Malcolm Swan. They worked through the night and came up with a constitution that was presented to the total group the next morning. It was substantially modified, amended and adopted.
The first Governing Council elected consisted of:
Noel McInnis, Center for Curriculum Design
George Travers, Commonwealth Edison
Lydia Bosley, Dett Elementary School
R.C Porteaus, of Winnetka
Hillard Morris, of Mason
Paul Nowak, of Carbondale
Virginia Stehney, Downers Grove Schools.
Additional Council Members in the first few years included:
Jack Toll, Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge
Sarah Segal, Open Lands Project
Betty Guyer, Bureau County Extension Advisor
Maurice Kellogg, Science Education Center/Western IL University
Bette Bork, Elmwood Park Junior High School
David Monk, Educational Resources in Environmental Science
Tim Allwardt, Enrico Fermi Elementary School
Steve Baima, University of IL
Steve Tuthill, Assistant Superintendent of Education Service Region Winnebago County
The organization was named “The Environmental Association of Illinois”.
EEAI History Video
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