Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lasting Legacies – Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence in Environmental Education

More than 150 educators from across the state turned out for the Environmental Educators of North Carolina’s 25th anniversary conference this year at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain. EENC, a non-profit organization that supports professional development in the field of environmental education, holds this annual networking opportunity to encourage educators to learn more about new programs and practices in the field.

The event featured a pre-conference evening with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, who provided audience members with a glimpse into his new book, Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. Louv reflected on his connections to North Carolina such as meeting North Carolina native and theologian Thomas Berry and told some intriguing stories of encounters between people and animals for a new book he is writing.

Conference speakers included Pepe Chavez, Southeastern Regional Coordinator for the National Association for Interpretation, and Judy Braus, President of the North American Association for Environmental Education.

The conference offered participants more than 45 sessions that focused on best practices, building content knowledge, career paths, lessons learned and current research.

Friday featured professional development workshops and field experiences including excursions to Chimney Rock State Park, Mt. Mitchell State Park, the WNC Nature Center and a Bio-Tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Michelle Pearce, EENC President and School and Public Programs Coordinator with The North Carolina Arboretum, was pleased with the number of educators who turned out representing a wide diversity of organizations and agencies across the state. “The theme for this year's conference was Lasting Legacies and we really wanted the focus to be on keeping our connections strong, between each other as friends and professionals, other like-minded agencies and our love for environmental education.”

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars because next year’s conference will be held September 29 through October 1 at Agape Center for Environmental Education in Fuquay-Varina. For more information about EENC, visit their website at

For more photos from the conference, visit EENC's Facebook page

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