This October, Pamela and I had the pleasure of attending the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) 43rd annual conference in Ottawa. The NAAEE works to expand and connect the field of environmental education, through network-building, capacity-building, and by inspiring innovative practices.

The theme of this year’s conference was was “Environmental Education: Building Momentum for the Next Chapter” and was held over five days, including a research symposium, workshops, field trips, poster sessions, symposia, keynotes and presentations.

Inside Education’s session proposal was accepted to the Leadership and Professional Development Strand and we were thrilled to present to a group of over 30 practitioners on the Friday morning of the conference, with the theme of “Environmental Leadership through Critical Thinking.” Our session emphasized the difference between being a critic and being a critical thinker, and showcased Inside Education’s approach to environmental and natural resources education through our award-winning teacher professional development and youth education summit programs.

Through visual storytelling, we wove together years of photos and feedback from such programs to put the audience members in the shoes of one of our teacher or student participants. It was fantastic to be able to share some of the impacts that Inside Education’s focus on multiple perspectives has had in terms of developing critical thinking and inspiring environmental leadership amongst students and teachers we work with. The conference delegates at our session were from a wide variety of geographical and professional backgrounds and they had really thoughtful and interesting questions for us!

Pamela and I were delighted and honoured to be in attendance to NAAEE Awards Luncheon to accept Inside Education’s award for Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization at the Regional Level. It was extremely inspiring to hear of the contributions other award recipients and delegates of the conference were making to the field of environmental education!

Here are some photos that highlight some of the experience!

Beautiful fall colours in Ottawa – the conference was just steps from Parliament Hill!

Convention Centre
The LEED Gold Ottawa Convention Centre had some inspiring spaces for learning and connecting.

Museum of History

Reception & Silent Auction Event at the amazing Canadian Museum of History. There were some incredible totem poles in the grand hall!

Proud to accept Inside Education’s award alongside the other winners.

The hardware!

We’ve had just over a week to reflect on the experience and we are happy to share some of the following insights:

  • It was really interesting to connect with other organizations, see what they are doing, and share ideas.
  • We were proud to attend as ambassadors of Inside Education and share our unique and innovative way of approaching environmental education. Delegates were very keen to learn more about our critical thinking approach.
  • There was a real sense of community and collaboration amongst delegates throughout the conference. We observed many common questions and challenges among diverse organizations, and a lot of sharing of solutions.
  • We left feeling inspired, with a full tool box of ideas and strategies we are eager to try out!
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