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Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy

Working Group

We are building support from the ground up. The Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group works from the bottom up by supporting promoting systems change at the school leadership, school district and town level. Because local leaders make school spending and program decisions, the policy decisions that are made at this level are likely to be immediate and durable over time, and with broad supportive for advocates statewide, local advocacy can have real ripple effects throughout the state. The Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy task force is oriented toward advocating for equitable access for all Maine youth to outdoor learning support and programming at the local level.

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This working group focuses on implementing systemic change at a local level, and has developed a 6-stage plan to develop a strategy for its ongoing work to build a structure to generate local support for outdoor learning. During the “inform” phase, the group has shared and examined various network models of local advocacy, which participants are currently reflecting on and analyzing. As the Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group moves into the “design” phase, we will develop a model that works for Maine and the nature-based education sector, which it will then pilot, improve, and expand. Meanwhile, we are developing emergent versatile tools and supports for advocates based in real-life Maine outdoor learning successes to share the benefits of outdoor learning with those who may not experience it directly. We are working on developing a training to help local advocates feel prepared and capable.

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Community members and leaders know their needs the best and are their own best advocates. Working with a diverse team to develop community-centered advocacy processes is core to our approach to build local advocacy strategies and supports that work today and into the future.

Do you want to effect change in your own community?
Are you a local leader who cares about outdoor learning?
Do you want to build a network of local leaders and community members to advocate for outdoor learning opportunities for all Maine youth?
Current Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group participants:
Name
Affiliation
Samar Ahmed
Maine Environmental Education Association
Stefan Jackson
Natural Difference, LLC
Pious Ali
Portland Empowered/Portland City Council
Laura Newman
Learning by Nature for ME
Jonathan LaBonte
Maine TREE Foundation
Emma Scudder
Opportunity Alliance/Head Start
Seal Rossignol
Center for an Ecology-Based Economy
Warren Whitney
Maine Coast Heritage Trust/Maine Land Trust Network
Tamara Lee Pinard
The Nature Conservancy
Ruth Kermish-Allen
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Patti Bailie
University of Maine Farmington
Linda Woodard
Maine Audubon
Olivia Griset
Maine Environmental Education Association
Amara Ifeji
Maine Environmental Education Association

For inquiries about the Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy Working Group, contact co-chairs Olivia Griset and Jonathan LaBonte.

For general inquiries, contact network manager Nathan Broaddus.

Like the Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group, the Climate Education Advocacy working group is focused on building strength statewide and impacting decision-makers to make decisions that benefit all Maine youth. The Climate Education Advocacy group focuses on state-level politices, and both groups are working toward training participants and networks on advocacy.