White House Summit on Environmental Education Part 2


Speaker:
Well, thank you all for
that very efficient break. I hope everyone enjoyed it. And mostly I heard a lot of
people talking to each other, which is what we hope will also
be one of the outcomes of today, continued conversations. I want to introduce very
briefly the next panel, or at least particularly
the next panel moderator, Dr. Ann Bartuska. Dr. Bartuska is the Deputy Under
Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission,
involved with the USDA Forest Service, and Ann has had
experience in the U.S. Department of Agriculture
through much of her career. And I think we’ll see a number
of people like that during the course of the day,
who have spent time in the federal agencies doing many
different jobs and having a broad perspective. I mentioned when I introduced
our partner from the Department of Interior earlier today that
they’re the largest owner of the — of outdoor — the
owner of the largest outdoor classroom in the country. The Forest Service is
not too far behind. So Ann, please welcome Ann, and
thank you for your work today. (applause) Ann Bartuska:
Yes, a lovely 193
million acres of conservation education. So it’s a great opportunity. Well, it’s a real pleasure to
be here with you today and to be moderating
this panel of innovators in environmental education. And I think the discussion
has really been teed up well, both the introductory remarks,
but that last panel really got us thinking — got me
thinking sitting in the back, and just listening to some of
the ideas that are being put forward and what people are
thinking about as we move into the 21st Century, and how do
we make this environmental education real, not an official
curriculum, necessarily, but how do you connect the dots? And when I heard Marsha McNutt
talking about how she got here and why she’s here it made me
reflect on what got me excited in this topic that I would want
to be a moderator at a panel other than it’s part of my
job since we’re in research, education and economics. And part of the reason is
I was thinking about innovators in environmental education
in my own life, and I came very quickly
to two grandfathers. My one grandfather
was a butcher, but he would take us on walks in
the local woods all the time in Upstate Pennsylvania and he’d be
talking about the trees and the leaves and the worms and the
caterpillars and the soil, and just really got us
thinking about the ecosystem, even though he would have
never called it an ecosystem, but it really got me thinking
about my own life over time. And I ended up actually
I am an ecosystem ecologist by training and experience. Then I started thinking
about my other grandfather, who was a coalminer, but he
introduced us to this thing called overburden. And if you look
at the overburden, the anthracite coalmines,
it’s a lot of shale. Now we’re mining it,
then you just put it off on top of the soil. And — but he showed us that
if you crack that shale open you actually find
imprints of plants. And that was pretty
cool as a kid, and it got me started in botany,
which I am also a botanist. So just thinking about
that kind of background, they would never have called
themselves environmental educators, but you realize that
environmental education and the concept around education pops
up in all sorts of different manifestations, and it can be
made very real in a whole lot of different pathways. And so that’s part of what
our panel is here to do, is different approaches to
environmental education through both the public sector
and the private sector, and how do we really think
about the work that we do. So let me introduce you very
quickly to our panel members, and then let them start
talking, because they bring a lot of experience. In fact that is one thing
I did want to mention, is I’m not going to read
extensively on their bio, but each of them have an array
of experience not only in their current jobs, but just the
mixture of private sector and academia, NGOs, different kinds
of experiences that really get you to see the whole, the
whole array of opportunities. So going down the panel
first we have Mike Lynch, who is Managing Director for
Green Innovation at NASCAR. Definitely an innovator in a
whole different area of activity in private sector work that
is different for many of us, and although some of us
are great fans of NASCAR. But he also has a background
with Purdue University, and brings that academic thrust
to the whole focus of what NASCAR is doing and the
thinking about green innovation in that company. The second person
is Akiima Price, who is with Akiima
Price Consulting. She’s 20 years an urban
environmental educator, and is currently really a
leader in looking at innovative approaches and working with
low-income communities, a topic that actually was
touched on in the first panel. Our third panelist
is David Steel, who’s Senior Vice President
for North America Strategic Marketing with
Samsung Electronics. Dr. Steel has, is involved
in all aspects of strategic marketing for their company,
but he has also been looking at corporate social responsibility
in programs for the company, environmental initiatives,
and bringing that marketing connection to other areas
of social responsibility. Next we have Diane Wood, who
is President of the National Environmental
Education Foundation. It is a nonprofit organization
committed to advancing environmental
literacy worldwide. Many of us have worked with that
organization and I think it’s really a wonderful model for
partnerships that cut across a lot of different sectors. Prior to being with NEEF, Diane
Wood was with the World Wildlife Fund, and has that grounding in
the environmental NGO community. And then lastly on the
list is Jackie Ogden, who’s Vice President of Animal
Programs and Environmental Initiatives at
Walt Disney World. And many of us have had that
experience of seeing a really unique ecosystem, but they’ve
used that as a wonderful market — wonderful place to actually
reach out to kids and adults in environmental education. So we have five speakers, all
of — panel members who have an array of experiences, and the
central topic is “Innovators in Environmental Education.” So I’m going to start, I think
I’m going to take it the other way from Marsha did, I’m going
to start nearest to me and start with Mike Lynch from NASCAR. And Mike, we’re really excited
to have NASCAR here to talk about the work you’re doing
and the kind of the new and innovative approaches that
you’re taking from fans, suppliers, partners. Not many of us maybe think
about NASCAR as an environmental educator, but you’ve really
taken it on I think full force. So what have been the biggest
challenges as you take on this unique approach? What are the biggest challenges
to date and what are you trying to achieve with your efforts
in environmental education? Mike Lynch:
Thanks. I think, you know, we
launched this three years ago, three and a half years
ago, NASCAR Green, which putting those two words
together in the Fall of ’08, that was generally described
at times as counterintuitive, and other times more forcefully
by some of my colleagues who I worked with at Boston Consulting
Group as being an oxymoron, and good luck with that. (laughter) But it was, you know, the
counterintuitiveness of it kind of speaks, and it’s something
that we still actually are glad to talk about, because in fact
what’s happened is that it’s that counterintuitiveness that
allows you when you turn — turn it on its head in front
of 65 million people, about 27 percent of the U.S. adult population are NASCAR fans
on one level or another — you can have just massive enormous
impact on people in terms of how they think and will behave
in the world of green. Just by, because of the
fact that defenses are down, preconceptions get relaxed, and
folks actually listen to the facts about some of the things
that are, can be, frankly, just baffling in this sort of
general area of sustainability, because I don’t have to tell the
folks in this room, you know, you can speak eloquently on
a topic on sustainability or green, and end up not
getting your message through. Because in fact so much of
the material is profound, it’s complicated, it involves
interdisciplinary thinking across the STEM areas. You have to be pretty good
at math and pretty good at conceptualizing science. So that’s kind of the long
sort of rambling lead-in to the biggest thing we’ve dealt with
in this all along the way is preconception, and really
having to take a step back, reframe things in terms of
effectiveness and then also relevance because we also can
completely lose those 65 million people if we don’t do
things that they care about, and really sort of
take it from there. So it’s really been dealing
with misconception up front, and then really tackling the
programs in a very real way. And I’ll just — not
take too much time on it, but just a couple
of sort of factoids. Three years ago when we
base-lined green attitudes and behaviors in fans versus nonfans
— and you always have to kind of preface it to say, you know,
when we’re comparing fans versus nonfans we’re comparing a
sample of 65 million people who care about the sport
versus a comparison group. So it’s a big,
impactful comparison. Three and a half years ago green
attitudes and behaviors were the same, fans and
nonfans were the same. And we actually
thought going into it, maybe our fans are a little
less green than average. Let’s find out where we are. Today, NASCAR fans are 50
percent more likely than nonfans to view their household
as very green, and always looking for ways
to positively impact the environment. Avid fans are 70
percent more likely. NASCAR fans are eight times as
likely as nonfans to associate the sport with environmental
responsibility. So there you have it. We’ve really impacted
the thinking of folks, and also it’s, you
know, in collaboration with everybody in the sport. Which you can imagine, you know,
we don’t sit there and sort of tell everybody, hey, Toyota,
do this; hey, Dodge, do this. That’s not the way NASCAR works. It’s a collective. And so, you know, working with
Toyota, working with Chevy, working with Ford,
et cetera, and Dodge, and all of our official
partners, Coca-Cola, Coors Light, beer and soda
working together on a recycling program, you know, go figure. But just — (laughter) — one more just real quick
comment is in the Richmond race, a couple hours drive
down I-95 from here, it was announced this morning
that the first all-electric pace car will be run in NASCAR,
not a ceremonial car, it will be a real pace car. The electric Ford Focus will be
in front of that really powerful 850 horsepower stockcar field
in Richmond in about ten days. So, you know, it’s that kind of
thing that really kind of gets folks’ attention. But misconceptions up front,
those are the ones — I’m sure you have to deal with them, too
— those are the things we have to tackle all the time
in what we’re doing. Ann Bartuska:
Great. Thank you, Mike. Next question I’m
going to ask Akiima, and actually I’m
another Philadelphian, one of the previous panel
members growing up on the Schuylkill River and learned
a lot about in-city parks and the value that you get from
those, those areas. Akiima, you work in urban areas
and urban communities and some really challenging areas,
and I think that’s one of the communities that is the hardest
to reach just because of the physical infrastructure
frequently we’re working on. So from your standpoint, which
is a whole different world, how would you say — what does
success look like to you and what is the mark of success? Akiima Price:
You know, there’s
such a spectrum to me of what success could look
like because, you know, for a lot of these people
outdoors does not represent safety. So just seeing people sit on
their stoops sometimes can be an achievement. Getting people to build
relationships with each other could be a form of success that
later could affect that safety and/or other issues
in their community. But for the most part, I mean,
one of the things that I’ve done recently is author
this book called, “What’s Good in my Hood.” And it’s free, so I’m
not plugging anything. (laughter) But what it does is kind of
touch on what the panelists before said, it’s
like, you know, it’s giving kids a concept of
their environment, you know, environment is not a
place you go visit, environment is the living and
nonliving things that make up your immediate surroundings. And for a lot of kids who are
products of their environment, you know, it’s very evident what
their environments are when you look at the prison rates, when
you look at the dropout rates, when you look at a lot of what,
these kids are just people in poverty in general are
facing, and so that’s a direct opportunity for me, at
least, to say, okay, well, at least I get an idea of what’s
going on in your environment, you know, how can
we bring this back. And so with “What’s
Good in my Hood,” you’re looking at these
things that all of us need, which is food,
water and shelter. So no matter how rich you are,
no matter where you came from, you still need food,
you still need water, and you still need shelter. And so these kids get to go
out and investigate things and hopefully get upset, you know,
get riled up about something that’s not good. I think, you know, we definitely
focus on what is good and we also take an asset-based
approach in talking about this, because there are a lot of rich
resources in these neighborhoods that go untapped, and a lot of
valuable people that go untapped because they don’t look like
the traditional environmental educator, but these people are
hungry to learn more about their neighborhoods. They, too, want
safety; they, too, want their kids to
go to great schools. I mean, we all want the same
things, but I think some people, you know, a lot of times these
neighborhoods are approaching a deficit-based approach, and the
opportunity is missed to see, you know, how many
opportunities actually do exist. And so I guess the greatest
piece of support or greatest piece of success that I’ve seen
thus far is just, you know, when these kids spend time
in parks on their own, like one of the parks we’ve
worked at with the New York Restoration Project
is Swindler Cove, and it’s directly across the
street from a housing project, and it’s right on
the Harlem River, and it’s amazingly beautiful,
but people — it wasn’t used. And so when you see people
coming on their own, that makes all the
difference in the world, because it’s about how
you spend your fee time. And who are we to say you should
spend your free time kayaking? And also not just, we
overlook also that, you know, people of color do
spend time outdoors. They may not be kayaking,
but they may be hosting their family events. They might be walking their dog,
they might be doing something. So, you know, when we erase that
line of challenge that goes, oh, this troubling
community, you know, it’s really not that troubling. I mean, I think there’s more
trouble on the other side than there is on our side. I’ve met some people in poverty
who value things far more than people that don’t necessarily
come from poverty. And so, you know, success
is relative, I think, in this sense, and it
depends on your audience and what your outcome is. But one more thing in speaking
to what the panel said before, it’s like, you know, really
changing your outcomes. Again, prefacing the work at the
New York Restoration Project. Some of these kids, like this
one boy Deonte (phonetic), when Deonte came to us the only
way he knew how to deal with challenges was to hit. And so over the time he spent,
by him wanting to come back to our programs, by these kids
modifying their behavior because they saw this program
as incentives, you know, the biggest thing I saw was one
day Deonte had a confrontation with one of the adult leaders,
and he threw a Frisbee at her, which she was appalled at that,
but I’m thinking he didn’t put his hands on her. (laughter) That was huge, you know. And we just finished an Nature Mania (phonetic) and he came back again, and the
kids may act like they’re too cool for school when
they’re in the park, but the fact that
they came says a lot, and I think it has a lot to
do with the relationships they develop with the people during
the course of the park and us not making our final outcome
can you name those trees, it’s sort of how
you’re feeling today, and using animals to get
people to try new things. We used to do a lot of events
and I’ve worked with adjudicated youth rehabbing birds. Two examples: One kid could not
really read that well and we could not get him to come to
work on time for anything, but, you know, we realized
he didn’t see anybody modeling going to work every day. You know, we understood his,
why he was the way he was, but when he started working
with that owl he was there before we were. When he would do these
presentations and these kids would ask these questions he
would struggle to read to get information because of the pride
he felt in presenting this bird to these kids. And then the relationship that
he developed with the bird. The bird didn’t judge him. The bird didn’t care that he
had been in jail, you know. And so, you know,
it’s things like that, and then using these
animals when you go out. So we use snakes a lot, and
you get people, the first time, they’re like — we use
cockroaches or Madagascar hissing cockroaches because
cockroaches are nature and we promote that as well. But these people are so afraid
of them, but when you say, well, do you have a Facebook account? Do you have a cell phone
with a camera on it? They’ll hold it to take their
picture to go — you know. (laughter) But you can’t tell me that later
on they’re not showing, like, at least five people that
picture and who are going, wow. I held a cockroach, you know. And in working with these
animals you get the same results from people. I don’t care how old you are,
I don’t care how much money you have again. When I used to work with
these owls, the same — aah, you get that same
sense of wonder. And so I think nature is an
incredible medium to address a variety of issues,
but more importantly, to realize there’s nature
in your neighborhood. Nature is not a destination,
it’s a part of who we are. Ann Bartuska:
So now I have to do a
follow-up because you mentioned food, one
of my favorite things. (laughter) Professionally and personally. But community gardens and this
opportunity to be connecting people to nature
through food production, through urban agriculture. Are you seeing that
as a possible avenue? Akiima Price:
Absolutely. I think it’s offering a lot of
communities a chance to tie back into their original culture. You know, if you think back
to most people of color, we tilled the land,
we raised the food, but we got
disconnected from that. And so a lot of it’s in
our, in our, in who we are, and I think it’s a phenomenal
opportunity for parents to be seen as leaders in the eyes
of their kids because it’s something they can do well. It’s something positive
they can model, they can provide
for their homes. I’m seeing a lot of
agri-business happening now where people are growing food
in excess to where they can then sell food and actually
make some money, and money is obviously a
motivating factor for all of us. But I think, you know, the
community garden movement is again having a vast amount
of success from people being healthier to people having
more self-confidence, to better relationships
in families, to reconnecting to who
we are in the land. Ann Bartuska:
Great. Thank you. So moving on to our next
panelist, David Steel, obviously Samsung’s a fairly
widespread company and a lot of different places
to touch people. So how can the private
sector from your perspective, how can the private sector
be playing more of a role in environmental education and are
there some tricks to the trade, do you think, that would
be shareable in this group? David Steel:
Yes, so I think probably
most of you know Samsung for our products. So quick count, anyone
have a TV, Samsung TV? Okay, that’s a good sign. Mobile phone? Okay, I’m not going to push
it any further than that. (laughter) But you probably know, as far as
our products we’re the biggest tech company in the world
now in terms of sales. So number one in TVs,
number one in phones. And that’s, obviously,
a big manufacturing presence that we have. So the last few years
sustainability has become a much more important
element of our business, all the way from the materials
that go into our products, into the usage of our products,
and then what happens at the end of life, how do you recycle. So we see all of those as
touch points for educational initiatives. We work very closely with Energy
Star, 20 years old this year. That’s a great way of educating
folks about energy efficiency. We have a big challenge right
now in terms of recycling to get folks to understand how
to recycle e-waste in an appropriate way. So that’s a big focus. But I think where we’re netting
out for a lot of activities is how do we use our responsibility
as a technology company uniquely to get the message out about
environmental education. And starting two years ago we
launched a program called Solve for Tomorrow. And that’s a nationwide
contest for schools. We had more than
1500 enter this year, and it gives away a million
dollars of technology to schools. So, right, that
gets them excited, which school wouldn’t want up to
a million dollars of technology given the current
budget situation. But the challenge that we set
for each school is how would STEM, so not yet STEAM, not yet
e-STEAM, but how would STEM, how would STEM improve the
environment in your community. And initially schools
write an essay, and then we short list 25
schools to get a technology kit. So that’s a Samsung
camcorder, laptop, and then some software
from our partners at Adobe. And then the schools are free
to go out into their local community to bring together the
lessons from STEM subjects and look at the community locally. And the results have just
been very, very powerful. We’ve seen tremendous stories,
schools all across the country, urban areas through to
the most rural districts, where this has been a tool that
has helped students and their teachers get out
into the community. And I think all the things we
heard earlier on today about the classroom outside there in
nature, the things about STEM, the excitement of action
learning, practical projects, the power of technology,
all of these things coming together in our program. We have a great collaboration
with NEEF to get the word out to schools and teachers
about this program, but for me that sort of paradigm
of a public-private partnership could work really well where we
find NGOs that want to get out the word that represent
a very strong issue, and then companies like
ourselves that want to advocate something and that can use
our product and technology. All too often I find I’m
approached, you know, as a company by an NGO that’s
looking simply for funding. And it’s basically,
okay, Samsung, I just read about your earnings. Congratulations, can I — (laughter) — please have a part
of that for my NGO. And we’re getting much
more sophisticated. When we heard earlier about
innovative partnerships, partnerships are becoming
more sophisticated, more sort of multi-dimensional. They’re trying to address
policy needs on both sides, but they’re also trying to
leverage strengths of a company other than just money. You know, we have
tremendous reach. We sell lots of products, we
touch people every day through the products that we sell. How can we work together there? So I think a lot of areas there
where partnerships can be taken forward. Ann Bartuska:
So I’m going to actually
jump over Diane and ask Jackie that specific question,
and since we started talking about partnerships, and what
are some of the — given all the work that you’ve been
doing, what are some of the partnerships, unique
partnerships that you’ve had some experience with? Jackie Ogden:
So that’s a great question. So, first, really to follow on
David’s comments — thank you very much — to follow
on David’s comments, the Disney Company actually
does have quite a legacy with regard to the environment. So how many people here saw
“Bambi” when they were younger? Okay, some of you are too young
to have seen “Bambi,” I know. And how many of you ever saw
the “True Life Adventures”? So just a couple of you. So the first actual animal
documentaries were done by Walt Disney back, gosh, back about,
probably about 50 years ago. And so in fact the company
actually does have a great legacy with animals
and the environment. Walt Disney himself was
very passionate about it. But I think very few people
know about that legacy. And so we now are privileged to
be able to build on that legacy, and we take that very seriously. You know, much as
David said, you know, we often are approached by
people that assume that, often think that because I come
from a Fortune 100 company that people think I walk around
carrying buckets of money with me wherever I go. And unfortunately, I don’t. I really wish I did, though, it
would be really fun if I did. But I don’t. But in fact what we often are
really looking for are really the substantive partnerships. And we’ve really been blessed
to have a number of them, and do today, whether it was
originally with World Wildlife Fund, working with Judy
when she was there; certainly with National
Audubon; we worked closely with Jane Goodall’s
Roots and Shoots program. We worked with NSTA,
you know, we work with, really a large number
of environmental and conservation NGOs. And, you know, part of our real
mission is just as we’ve talked about — I don’t believe and I
don’t think anybody here really believes that we’re going to
solve the environmental problems that we have by speaking
only to the choir, and we have to speak
more broadly than that. And I think it is through some
of these innovative partnerships and through some of these really
kind of unusual organizations that we can get the word out
and can really engage people. And I think one of the things
that Disney brings to the table is that, you know, we do
reach just a couple of people. (laughter) And so, and, you know, luckily
we have this passion now to be able to reach those couple
of people with a message, and those people generally
speaking are not necessarily people that are
members of the choir. You know, it pains me
deeply to say this, but people really don’t come to
Disney’s Animal Kingdom to learn about what the threats
are to animals in Africa. I know it’s shocking,
but it’s true, they really come to visit us
because we’re a theme park in Central Florida and part
of Walt Disney World. And, you know, we’re, one of
the huge partners that we’re associated with also brings with
it some of that same benefit, and that’s the Association
of Zoos and Aquariums. We are accredited by — Disney’s
Animal Kingdom and the Seas at Walt Disney World are
accredited by the ACA, and zoos and aquariums reach
collectively — accredited zoos and aquariums reach collectively
180 million people each year. So that’s a lot. That’s just a tiny little
environmental education organization, right? And although, you know, I think
that probably they seem like a more logical environmental
educational organization than Disney does, they also
bring with it, you know, some of the same challenges. Because in fact — it’s not
really a challenge, I guess, it’s a benefit — that a lot of
people visit their local zoo and aquarium not again to learn
about what’s going on with the global amphibian crisis, but
instead is to have a safe, fun experience with
their families. And so again, zoos and aquariums
reach that broader audience. So I think that by engaging
some of these groups that are, that do have that broader reach,
I think we have great potential. And some of the things that
we’re doing through Disney, certainly at our theme parks,
it’s very much at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Seas,
very much a core part of our mission to inspire people
to care for wildlife and wild places. And as our previous
panel mentioned, not just to build awareness, but
really our goal is to inspire conservation action
as much as we can. And so we do that through the
different experiences that we provide within our theme parks,
and now I’m happy to say that beyond the parks that you would
sort of think of that might have these messages, we now have a
commitment from a company-wide perspective to really work to
inspire kids and families to connect them to nature. And so that really is
our core focus right now. So we’re right in the middle
right now of really trying to determine what that’s going to
look like in all of our parks and resorts around the world,
which is very, very exciting. And then from a company-wide
perspective we’re also taking that very seriously. Judy alluded to this past
weekend where we had this incredible celebration where
we brought together a number of organizations that are already
doing a great job in this connecting kids and nature,
kids to nature area, and were able to provide
nice awards to them. So I guess this weekend we
did carry a few buckets of money around. That was very fun. And didn’t just carry them,
shared them, so that’s very fun. But we also as part of the
celebration brought together over a hundred youth from
all around the world that are already doing an incredible
job of helping to protect the planet. And so we anticipate doing
more of those things. Another thing that we were able
to — that we were able to do — has anybody seen any of
the Disney nature films? Okay, at least a few more hands
than “True Life Adventures.” That’s very good. So Disney nature films are
our newest form of animal documentary, it’s really the
carrying on the mission of “True Life Adventures.” And, you know, one of the things
— so these are wonderful, wonderful films,
beautiful photography, the latest film “Chimpanzee”
is coming out on Friday. Has a nice conservation
message associated with it. But the other thing to know
about these films is that we also have developed educational
curricula that go with these films that are all tied
to the national standard. So really trying to take it to
the next level and being really substantive. The other thing that I should
mention is that we’ve developed a youth activation program
that’s called “Friends for Change” that also includes a
school-based program for fifth through seventh graders,
primarily based in North America here. I know some of you are actively
involved with that program. And then the Friends for Change
Program in general has really worked to activate youth, not
just North America but also France and parts
of South America. And to date we’ve reached, over
five million kids have gone online to pledge to make
different environmental actions. So, you know, I think it truly
is through programs like that that are sort of different,
but also really through, really through the partnerships
that we can all develop where I think we really can
effect some change. Ann Bartuska:
Which is a perfect
lead-in to Diane, a question for you, which
is about partnerships, and that’s what your
foundation really does so well. The whole ideas of both
public and private, your opportunities to facilitate
public-private partnerships, you’ve been hearing
a lot of examples. So talk a little bit about how
you’ve approached it and the successes that you’ve seen and
maybe the leverage points that you think would be
great as opportunities. Diane Wood:
Sure, thank you. And I realize as I’m looking
out here that I probably owe my job to many of you. (laughter) But I’m sitting out here. The National Environmental
Education Foundation, some of you may know,
was created by Congress, so we — with the intent that
we would advance environmental literacy, and several of you are
part of the architecture behind the creation of
our Foundation, and our partner agency is the EPA. And that part of what we do
is facilitate public-private partnerships to advance
environmental literacy, and do that in collaboration
with EPA and with many of you. So I’d love to highlight a
couple of what we have found are sort of key ingredients
for what makes a really good public-private
partnership, but Judy, I didn’t catch you in the
break, I’d love a Cindy Lauper quote that would fit with
this just right. I’m impressed. I’m very impressed. (laughter) Also a quick plug, like Akiima
for something free: This is National Environmental
Education Week, it’s free. Please sign on. It is a week that’s intended
to highlight the richness and potential of environment-related
education nationwide, formal and nonformal, and it’s
all intended to lead up to the big crescendo,
which is Earth Day. Sean, you’re looking very calm
for someone who’s about to head into a big day soon. Back to the question on
public-private partnerships. I was listening this
morning to the first panel, and sort of going through my
head with a little checklist and thinking what could I, what
could I highlight that I perhaps actually checked off. I hope many of the
points that were made, and one I’m thinking of is a
program called Be Water Wise. It’s a pilot program that our
Foundation has put forward. And it’s pilot testing the
potential for what is called project-based learning, which
is in this case looking at the whole issue of water, and was
brought up about the importance of real world situations. So it’s a program that’s
focusing on water challenges. It started in Miami,
moved to Atlanta, and now is local here in D.C. And the public part of this
public-private partnership, Be Water Wise, is really working
with EPA on the federal level, and then in each city
working with the mayors, school superintendents,
departments of environment, the public water departments,
water and sewer authorities, and working to expose
young people K through 12, often in overlooked schools
or under-resourced schools in helping them to understand that
they have the potential to learn about a real world issue
in their local community, in this case water, water
management, water scarcity, and to be part of the solution. It brings a civics
piece in as well. So it brings learning
and it brings civics, it exposes kids to
water, and it’s all, all the information is based
on the standards of each state. So the Sunshine
standards in Florida, the school standards for
Atlanta, and the same in D.C. But the private element
that I wanted to focus on, in addition to those of us, the
nonprofit side of the private element, is a particular
partner — I was thinking I have partnerships with
Samsung, with Disney. I, NEEF has, and with Toyota,
and so I don’t show any favoritism I thought I would
focus on a different partner, which is a company called
Johnson Controls, Incorporated. I think it’s
represented here today. And what it highlights is the
partnership that we have with Johnson Controls, a global
company that’s really helping with energy efficiency,
operational efficiency for buildings, was a willingness
on the part of that company to step forward and give pro
bono technical advice. And I think as David
and Jackie were saying, it’s not always the check. Believe me, a nice blank check
to do what we love doing would be fabulous, and there’s no one
in here that wouldn’t want that. But that’s not always
the core element of a really good partnership. It’s the relationship. And it’s finding the conversions
between what you’re trying to accomplish in your mission,
and what the private company is trying to accomplish, and seeing
where you can actually match something — missing, missing
components that each of you could bring together. And in the case of
Johnson Controls, they brought engineers into the
room and had engineers who were willing to devote their
Saturdays to coming in to train school teachers and school
custodians on how to track water and how to look at where
it comes into the building, how it goes out of the
building, what’s happening to it on the grounds. Our organization
could not do that. But without that ground truth
data and engineers who were willing to come into the
room and work with the school teachers, and insist on the
presence of custodians at the same time, where the
knowledge was about the water, that’s what gave the kids a
chance to work with real data. And that’s also what gave the
program credibility for the water and sewer departments
to feel comfortable giving the utility bills to the schools
and making them available. And then it was the opportunity
for the kids, bringing STEM in, to look at the data under the
guidance of the training from these engineers, to monitor 12
months worth of water bills, and put math in there,
put science in there, have engineers they were
meeting with in there, and then the crescendo of this,
the ending of this whole program was allowing the kids
to present to City Hall. In the case of Miami,
it was with the mayor, former mayor of Miami,
and the Miami-Dade School Superintendent; in Atlanta, it
was the City Council President and the full City Council;
and in Washington, D.C. it’s involving the
D.C. School Chancellor and the City Council. And there is, each of us has
talked about something that brings a tear to an eye or
something that moves us to do what we’re doing. And when you have kids who in
many cases haven’t really been regarded as maybe being able
to get engaged in the science, technology,
engineering and math, and they step forward and they
make a presentation to the mayor or the school superintendent and
they’re talking about real data and real water issues, and
they’re saying in my community, if I could put an aerator
in I could save XYZ. Or if we could fix what’s
happened in the cafeteria we could do this. And if we could have a rain
garden, we could do that. These kids walk out of that
experience in City Hall an inch taller, every
single one of them. And in the case of
Atlanta, for example, the City Council President just
looked at all those kids after their presentations and
said this is wateriffic, you’re coming to
my Council meeting. Brought all the kids
into the City Council, made them stand up. They were looked at by everyone,
and praised and congratulated. And you see that power of
the private sector bringing this pro bono support,
technology, engineering, and then the collaboration of
the public sector and the other nonprofits along with the
ones that we work with. So just an anecdote
that clearly moved me, and a way to make a difference,
and I hope checked off a couple of those boxes that you were
all talking about this morning. Ann Bartuska:
Great. So we actually have a little
bit less than five minutes left, with a lot of good
input from everyone. So I’ll just ask one question
that everybody can weigh in on, and that is if there’s one
thing that you would like this community to hear, and given
who you have in the audience, but also watching possibly live,
we don’t know who’s out there, but I know there’s
some tweeting going on. What is it we should hear? What’s that one message in less
than a minute that you would really want us to take
away from this event. And I’ll start with — Akiima Price:
I would like to thank the Office of Environmental
Education not only having this event, but we recently, well,
Cornell University won the National Environmental Education
Training Program Grant, and we’re running this
program called EE Capacity. And what that’s allowing me to
do as one of the primary folks on that team is evolve this
new practice called Community Environmental Education. And what I’m doing is I’m going
out to ten different cities between January and June, and
collecting the perspective of people on how to connect
environmental outcomes with quality of life issues for
people that they’re serving. Because depending on
what your outcomes are, like if it’s ten trees, then at
the end of the day you can check that off, but if you don’t have
people caring for those trees or understanding the point
behind those trees, it really doesn’t matter. And so what’s happening with
this work is, you know, one, we’re getting people that
haven’t met before in the same room, like in picking,
strategically picking cities like Chester, Pennsylvania,
where, you know, we held this roundtable in a
church basement and only one environmental
educator was present, but the flyer clearly called
for environmental educators. So for these people to feel like
they fit in a conversation about environmental education
without, you know, the formal training
was exciting for me. But to get these people
to really, you know, we talk about issues that affect
wellness in their neighborhoods, and you’ve got issues again:
Safety, access to food, basic needs being met,
and things of that nature. And not expecting environmental
educators to be social workers, but instead to have the capacity
to build relationships with people who provide social
services and/or do asset mapping activities where you consider
who all your stakeholders are in your neighborhoods. Those businesses, those
carry-outs that want those people’s money, they’re
a stakeholder in that neighborhood. They may not be a stakeholder
in the people’s health, but, you know, they’re somebody that
these people give their money to that you can go to
and possibly, you know, looking at all of the challenges
that people have to running their programs in terms of
money, but in-kind services. You know, and in my experience
as a consultant — and actually I wanted to just
shout out real quick, Margaret Kelly back in 1991
created a program called the Career Conservation
Development Program. She’s currently the Chief of
Interpretation for the National Park Service, but in 1991
she had the vision to start a program through SCA that exposed
women and people of color to careers in conservation. And from that I got to be
a National Park Ranger at Lake Meade National
Recreation area in 1993. And so just the perspective that
it’s had on my life is amazing. But I didn’t consider myself an
environmental educator all this time, because I thought
environment was trees and grass. And so once I was able to
consider environment as the living and nonliving things that
make up your surroundings — I say that again — you
know, I realized we’re all environmental educators. We all have the power to
break down information about, you know, the things around us. And so with this community
environmental education movement I think it’s really an
opportunity to, you know, we’re trying to create a new
platform for your traditional environmental educators and your
nontraditional environmental educators to come together,
and we’re hoping that from this platform more, you know,
innovative practices will evolve. Because there are a lot of
people out there doing a lot of good stuff. And, you know, when
you have little, you tend to get real
creative with your work and you do a lot more. So there’s a lot of people who
are doing a lot with a little. So imagine if we could draw the
attention to it and actually could get some resources and
hold hands with folks that they have not traditionally
held hands with. I mean, I echo what was
said on the first panel, I’m very hopeful about this,
and I think that environmental education can be very key
to education reform as well, because you’re going to start
affecting how the kids feel about themselves and how they
feel about their environment. Which could directly affect
their attitudes and their behavior because it’s
based on how they feel. Ann Bartuska:
Thank you. Akiima Price:
And not what somebody
told them to feel. Ann Bartuska:
So I’ve also been given
the signal it is time to cut this off, but I
hadn’t given an opportunity. So one sentence. You get one sentence. (laughter) So Diane. Diane Wood:
Yep. Operationalize inclusivity. I think that we, we’re all on
the same side of the fence, and when you hear numbers
like NASCAR with 65 million, you hear your millions, if
we could all coordinate, mobilize that kind of
representation of the American public, I think we
can make a big change. Ann Bartuska:
Okay. Jackie. Jackie Ogden:
So first I just want
to thank everybody, all the organizers for this,
because it truly is incredible that we’re all
gathered together, and it’s really a
privilege and honor. But my one sentence is
absolutely telling real world stories, but telling
stories that involve hope. Ann Bartuska:
Thank you. David Steel:
One sentence with a
lot of comments. Make it fun. Make it interesting. Get the kids out there. Try to build in technology. Try to build in the real world. But most of all, make
it fun and interesting. Ann Bartuska:
Okay. And Mike. Mike Lynch:
I’d say to the folks in
this room being leaders in your field, and I
mean this genuinely, if you have any ideas for
working with us on something that could drive education,
whether it’s regional or national, call me. I’d love to talk
about it with you. Ann Bartuska:
Great. Well, thank you all for your
comments and the attentiveness of the audience.

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