Inquiring Voices 2019 Environmental Education Gathering

 In News

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!

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