All About Eileen: Getting to Know the Affiliate Network Steering Committee Chair Eileen Everett


All About Eileen: Getting to Know the Affiliate Network Steering Committee Chair Eileen Everett

As I continue to get to know the many wonderful Affiliate leaders accross North America it seemed only fitting to talk with my friend Eileen Everett who recently became Chair of the Affiliate Network Steering Committee. I wanted to share (with Eileen's permission) a few questions that I asked her recently in hope that everyone gets to know a little bit more about this incredible leader in the Affiliate Network and our field at large.

Eileen, Tell us about yourself. What are some of your hobbies, pastimes, and things not everyone might know about you? 

What I like most people to know about me is that I'm a systems thinker with an abundance mindset who believes in the power of working with others! My favorite pastime is taking care of our goat herd which is mostly made up of retired pack goats. They keep me grounded and are a never-ending source of entertainment. I just love spending time outdoors especially going hiking and roller skating!

What is your EE origins story? How did you get involved with environmental education? 
In my days of working as a wildlife biologist, I discovered that the pathway to protecting the species and landscapes I deeply love is by working with people. My best friend encouraged me to write my "dream job" description and that's when I discovered the field of EE. I then wrote a letter to a well respected organization in New Mexico that were leaders in EE and asked if they would hire me and they did! That was over 15 years ago. I also wonder if having the initials EE somehow was an indicator of my destiny.

How did you get involved with NAAEE?  

I first discovered NAAEE back when I served on EEANM's Board of Directors in the mid-2000s. I had a chance to attend an NAAEE Conference when it was in Albuquerque in 2005 and it was incredible to see the reach NAAEE had across the continent. It's so wonderful to see all of the growth with NAAEE the past few years and the great investment NAAEE has made in the Affiliate Network with you, Bruce, and with Sarah Bodor!

It has been an exciting time of growth for sure! What are you most excited about for the Affiliate Network in 2020 and beyond?
There has been so much growth in Affiliates over the last few years and it's now time to collectively define how we all want the Affiliate Network to grow and evolve. I'm particularly excited for all of the conversations I see going on around equity and how to support voices and perspectives that can really help grow the field of EE. I really love all of the new people I've seen engaging with the Affiliate Network and look forward to seeing all these emerging leaders are bringing to the field.

Why is EE important to you? 
I think the way to effect change for the world is to center on valuing people and the outdoors and I think that is the heart of EE. I deeply believe that EE is centered on systems thinking and if we keep digging into how to broaden opportunities to be more inclusive, then we will be what the world needs most right now.

Many thanks to Eileen for taking the time to share a bit about herself with me and allowing me to share it with the rest of the Affiliate Network. I hope to make this a regular monthly feature on the Affiliate blog enabling us to get to know more about the incredible EE leaders we have in the Affiliate Network. Is there an Affiliate leader you think I should talk to next month? Who are you dying to know more about? Let me know by emailing me and telling me who I should interview for next month!