Towards Community Engagement
Community – it is central to our very being. We form communities and desire community. We live in communities and we interact continually with a myriad of communities – from virtual to religious to geographic to professional. The variety of communities is complemented by the diversity of individuals and organizations dedicated to ensuring environmental quality and community well-being. We know that education is critical if we are to meet these goals. And, we know that there are many individuals and organizations working everyday developing programs designed to address these community needs. The question is – how can we do this work even better?
We think that the key is to learn from what is working and share these best practices widely. NAAEE and EECapacity have taken on the challenge of developing a set of guidelines focused on how environmental educators can work successfully to protect the environment and promote community well-being and sustainability.
These guidelines will strive to help environmental educators, and others, create more inclusive working environments that support social equity, effective partnerships, and coalition building. As with all of the previous Guidelines for Excellence publications, these guidelines will be developed through an iterative public participation process. Based on a review of the literature and with the input from our amazing advisory board, we’ve produced a draft framework/outline.
But, to move this project forward and to ensure that the guidelines are based in best practices, we need your help! We invite you to review the draft framework/outline. Your suggestions will be used as we develop future drafts – which will also be available for public review. When fully developed, we are hoping to root these guidelines in exemplary practice by including case studies, references, websites, checklists, and exercises, along with a set of themes/key characteristics for quality community engagement processes.