Inquiring Voices 2019 Environmental Education Gathering
30 educators from across the Columbia Basin and beyond gathered at beautiful Whatshan Lake Retreat on September 20-22 for CBEEN’s annual Inquiring Voices Environmental Education Gathering. The goal of this annual event is to bring together educators to form a rich learning community meet to share, support, and collaborate with one another. Some of the themes that emerged included:
- Gender dynamics in EE
- School gardens/natural areass
- Taking climate action in schools/classrooms
- Early years EE
- Coyote mentoring
- Authentic First Nation education
Alexis Barret from Golden shared that “this was an amazing weekend and I came home buzzing with ideas to share and implement. This community is a wealth of information and ideas, and is paving the way for all teachers to implement outdoor learning and environmental education into their practice.” Laurie Neeve from Kimberley reflected “September is a crazy time of year for all of us in the teacher world, however this opportunity is mysteriously well timed. The workshop allowed me to work through burning questions I have been thinking about over the past few weeks, months or year. I have returned home with new perspectives, resources, ideas and most importantly, connections with other educators from around the Columbia Basin.”
This gathering was made possible as a result of our supporters including the Arrow Lakes EEPSA Local Chapter, Arrow Lakes School District, Columbia Basin Trust, Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, Columbia Power Corporation, Classrooms to Communities Network Society and Wildsight.
Some things that participants took away included:
- Practical ideas for maintaining and promoting our school garden with other teachers and community members
- Networking, connecting with partners and like-minded folks, learning new ideas for teaching
- Sense of community & Inclusiveness
- I got a better understanding of what CBEEN is and how this network can be used to support educators. We are really lucky to have this in this area!
- Diversity of ways to engage youth and older folks (teachers, administrators, parents, public) with environmental topics through creativity and fun
- Building momentum around Climate Change Actions in schools and in institutions
- That I am not alone, and there are great resources in the people of our Basin!
Some commitments made by educators who attended included:
- Host a Green Energy expo in the spring
- Keep in touch with the teachers in my region
- Do my research on electric car, insulating my house better, and looking into solar panels
- Focus on “who’s not here” and make sure to include more variety of people in my groups, circles, perspectives, conversations, etc.
- Make Oregon grape root medicine
- Works with local youth climate activists to show them what is possible when it comes to advocating to formally acknowledge climate change
- Foster interactions between work and people in the Columbia Basin and Okanagan Basin
- Implementing waste reduction strategies in our school
- Set up a network of environmental educators in my area
- Bring inspiration from the gathering to my own work and community!