Organization Highlight: Maine Environmental Education Association

girl with clip board

Working at the intersection of environmental education, policy, advocacy and youth engagement

MEEA serves as the state affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education.  Because we are part of this vibrant international network we can bring back to Maine the latest resources, research-based best practices, and support for environmental educators in our state.

An Interview with Olivia Griset, Executive Director of MEEA

Where in Maine can individuals find MEEA resources and who are they for?

MEEA provides statewide resources for Maine students and educators.

What topics do your resources cover?

Environmental education, Environmental Equity and Justice, Outdoor Learning, Community Based Environmental Learning, Environmental education policy and advocacy, Environmental Education Evaluation, Place-based education, nature-based education PreK-adult!

What kind of resources do you offer to Maine students?

We host a youth-led statewide network for environmental justice and leadership called the Maine Environmental Changemakers Network. This network supports individuals from 15-30 who are passionate about leading forward environmental action in their schools and committees. We offer training for youth and facilitate a book club, commnity calls and help connect youth with the external opportunities, mentors and training they need to advance their work.

MEEA collaborates with Campaign Earth on JustME for JustUS (JMJU).  JMJU is a statewide youth-led network that connects youth from rural Maine communities and marginalized communities who are passionate about climate justice with the training to help support civic engagement at the school, town, state and federal level.  At JMJU We offer regional listening sessions, trainings, school and campus visits, and youth-led strategy development. Our goal is to shift power and mobilize Maine youth to be critical players in building a just and sustainable Maine.

JMJU

Our next by youth for youth training "How to Build Political Power" is Wednesday, February 24th from 5-6 pm all are welcome to join!

What resources does MEEA provide for educators/adults?

Educators

We provide resources and training for educators. We host a statewide conference every spring bringing together educators in the classroom and in community organizations to share their work with each other. Our conference this year is April 7-8 and we offer a pay what you can registration, so all can attend. 

Everyone

We host a monthly call for the environmental sector about equity and inclusion. It's the last Tuesday of the month from 3-4:30 and all are welcome. We have powerful conversations and are deeply committed to supporting systems change in our sector to a more just and equitable future.

2017 changemakers

"At the Maine Environmental Education Association, we connect educators with resources to support and advance their work in outdoor learning, environmental education and equity in environmental education."

What resources or events will your organization be offering in the future that you want more people to know about?

Our annual conference is coming up April 7-8! Everyone should join in--you will get access to about 30 workshops presented by and for Maine environmental and outdoor learning folks. It's a pay what you can cost so all can join. Please join our monthly equity calls!

We will continue to offer trainings and will be hosting and co-hosting many workshops for educators and youth/young professionals in 2021. With our Teach ME Outside collaborative project, we will be launching a new website in April at the MEEA conference that will house data, online outdoor learning training materials and a statewide directory of organizations that offer outdoor learning searchable by county and by topical areas.

With the Maine Math and Science Alliance, we will be running an environmental education research symposium in May. We will also be hosting a statewide climate education summit. This directory will help folks connect with community partners.

We will be opening a small grant program this spring for teachers to apply for funding to buy supplies they need to advance environmental and outdoor learning in their schools. Our website has a job posting board and many resources!

How has COVID-19 changed the way you reach your audience(s)? Has it been positive or negative for your organization?

We are doing more virtual offerings, We have done many community conversations where folks share what worked for them from schools and nonprofits all across the state, we advocated for more funding to support outdoor learning and launched a statewide grant program for teachers to get supplies to help get their kids outside. We shifted work in our youth network to mutual aid as many of our youth lost their jobs last spring. We have also collaborated on this project, Community Learning for ME as a way to make sure folks have access to resources they need in COVID.

NEGEF

What do you love about your organization?

I love that MEEA is small but mighty and that we center our work in equity. We are really focused on making sure that folks affected in the decisions we make are part of the decision-making process and that we are really always thinking about how we can take down barriers to make our work more accessible and inclusive to everyone. I love our brilliant staff and board and all the amazing folks in our network! You could not work with more passionate folks than people who care deeply about Maine and making sure folks have the knowledge and motivation to work to build healthier Maine communities, both for humans and for nonhuman living creatures! Educators are amazing people and we get to work with educators of all ages from youth to retired folks who are contributing so much to Maine!

What do you wish more people knew about your organization and the work you do?

Environmental Education happens in all sorts of places in community, many folks do not consider themselves environmental educators because maybe they don't have a degree or they work in food justice, public health or other sectors outside of traditional environmental spaces but that is all part of environmental education! We are really here to support you in your efforts to help build a Maine where every single person feels connected to place and understands that their health and well-being is tied to the health and well-being of our land and waters. If you are doing work that connects to this you can and should join our amazing and vibrant network! We want to meet you and support you!!!

Also, we do a lot of behind-the-scenes advocacy and policy work and research work--this helps ensure funding for federal grant programs that many Maine organizations apply to. This work is super important but sometimes folks don't know we are the ones doing this linkage work between the national field and what is happening here in Maine.

How has CL4ME helped Maine Environmental Education Association?

CL4ME has created a wonderful platform to share our work with folks from across the state, we have loved being part of the interdisciplinary design team for this project. We have built trusting relationships with many organizations across the state who are committed to supporting equity in rural education. We have also really benefited from the thought leadership and conversations around reimagining education in Maine.

Current Maine Environmental Education Association Resources

Click on resources to see the date and time.  Duplicates indicate multiple dates and times available!

Maine Climate Education Summit (June 7 - 10, 15 - 17th)

  • Maine Environmental Education Association

Maine Environmental Education Association Educator Resources

  • Maine Environmental Education Association

Outdoor Learning Quick Reference Guide

  • Maine Environmental Education Association

Workshop Video: Inspiring Science Learning - Finding Opportunity for Individualized Student Learning

  • Maine Environmental Education Association
  • Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park