Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update on the status of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education

The initial proposed 2009-2010 state budget included the elimination of the Office of Environmental Education. However, the final budget included funding for the office and its programs, though the office did undergo some cuts. The office’s administrative assistant position was eliminated. The budget also eliminated funding for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Library, which is housed within the office. This included the department’s librarian position. The library collection will be transferred to the State Library.

These are dire economic times and though the office is devastated by the loss of these staff members and of the library, we feel fortunate that the remaining staff and programs will stay intact. There are no words to adequately express the thanks that we owe our constituency for your support during this budget crisis. Our office was overwhelmed by the outpouring of grassroots support from environmental educators, citizens and organizations throughout the state.

A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times eloquently addressed the lack of time Americans spend getting outside. The columnist wrote, “One problem may be that the American environmental movement has focused so much on preserving nature that it has neglected to do enough to preserve a constituency for nature.” North Carolina is far from lacking a constituency for the environment. Along with the state’s diverse natural heritage, we have the strongest environmental education community in the country. Our office looks forward to continuing its work for North Carolina’s environmental educators, programs, resources and facilities. Thank you for all you have done to support the N.C. Office of Environmental Education. We feel extremely fortunate that North Carolina has such a unique and dedicated environmental education community.

Sincerely, the staff of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education:
Lisa Tolley
Rachel Smith
Sarah Yelton
Marty Wiggins
Libby Wilcox

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