Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday EE Week Update: Cultural Diversity in EE

The Office of Environmental Education had the opportunity to do an EE Week guest blog on Outdoor Afro, a Web site operated by speaker and consultant Rue Mapp. According to Rue, it is a “community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, gardening, skiing — and more!”

There are many individuals and organizations just like Rue that are working to make the environmental education and outdoor recreation communities more culturally diverse. EE Week is a good time to reflect on ways to do the same in North Carolina. Here are some available resources and materials:

The North American Association for Environmental Education’s Diversity Council works to increase cultural diversity in EE.

Black Issues Forum, produced by UNC-TV, has the program “Blacks Going Green” available on their Web site (scroll down to episode 2314). It features Yasmin Fozard, a former Environmental Educators of North Carolina Board Member.

National environmental education curricula, including Project WET, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild and Food Land and People have at least part of their materials available in Spanish, as do many other EE resources. Some EE Centers also offer outreach programs that travel to underserved areas, and some can provide programs in Spanish.

The N.C. Division of Forest Resources Outreach Program works to raise awareness of the management assistance and other offered programs and services to minority landowners and does conservation education as well. As a matter of fact, Minority Landowner Magazine is based in North Carolina and is published by a former N.C. DFR employee.

Finally, the Environmental Education & Training Partnership has a great article, Making EE Relevant for Culturally Diverse Groups , that features the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center, an environmental education center in southeast Raleigh. At the end of the article is a great resource section with links to organizations, articles and research on EE, the environment and cultural diversity.

These are just a few resources that are out there. Please let the office know what you are doing and any other resources you use!

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