2020 Kickoff Convening

We are grateful for the sincere, honest and hopeful engagement of everyone who joined us in February! 49 individuals from 43 organizations met to kick off the Nature Based Education Consortium's work in 2020. We shared about our needs and aspirations for the Consortium's work, and shared new ideas for how to amplify our collective impact. Read below for notes and summaries of the event.

Participants came wearing many different hats! A wide range of sectors were represented, though there were certainly some prevailing themes in who was at the table.

Here's what participants had to say 

Participants told us about their priorities for the work of the Consortium. In individual and organizational reflections, attendees shared about how they think NBEC could help them achieve their goals and looked forward to the changes they hope to see occurring as a result of our collective work. This graph summarizes the common themes in attendees' hopes and aspirations.

What excites you about the potential of this network?

"The idea of AMPLIFYING the collective work of the stakeholders here & using it as leverage for SYSTEMIC change."

"I LOVE collaboration - I think we are always better as a group than trying to stay above water alone - The diversity of work in Maine excites me and connection is vital"

What change could you see resulting from NBEC work?

"More schools seeing time outside as crucial to their mission. Encourage adventure and teach self-reliance and community resilience."

"Curriculum Integration & Policy and funding for equitable access to the outdoors throughout all grades that is based on the fabulous natural resources we have in Maine."

"The reduction of providers being isolated in their work and an increase in participants of nature-based ed."

"I want to see both a mandate/expectation and funding/support so that getting kids outdoors isn't an extra thing that some teachers take on and others don't. Maybe funding for community partners to hire education staff to be this support."

"It seems like the most quantifiable, large scale changes will happen via public institutions - schools, parks, libraries - with legislative + financial support. On a less quantifiable note, I would love to see a shift in what is considered "normal" in favor of more time spent in/with/connected to nature by students, teachers, families..."

How do your interests and/or role align with the work of NBEC?

"As a school administrator who wants all students engaged with nature and community, I'm eager to address/remove barriers."

"They align, but it's hard to work my way out of the daily challenges of funding and running a small non-profit - and think at a high level vision/policy level."

"I want to help connect young Mainers not just to nature-based learning opportunities, but show them they can have a viable career rooted in nature... and possibly help train them in those technical skills."

How could NBEC help you achieve your goals?

"Any work to better communicate about and advocate for outdoor learning will benefit us all - if NBEC can closely coordinate with those of us focused on birth - preK, all the better!"

"Developing connections -> develop resource list per region/county that can be accessed by various stakeholders in order to make work more holistic"

"Through collective advocacy, ensuring long-term, sustainable funding for nature-based activities in preK-12 schools (for us specifically, school gardens)".

" Helping public/parents understand the value of these experiences and ensure students are academically and emotionally prepared"

How to get involved

As the convening wrapped up, participants were invited to join the network by taking on some specific roles. If you didn't make it to the Kickoff Convening, you can still get involved! Just click the button below to join the effort.