Welcome and introductions! | eePRO @ NAAEE

The home of environmental education professional development

Welcome and introductions!

Greetings and welcome to the YEP eePRO community! We are so excited to be a part of this new initiative inspired by many of you, and look forward to seeing how this community can help us all connect and share experiences and resources. Whether you are just starting your career, switching from another career, or otherwise identify as a young and/or emerging professional, this space is for you!

We would like to introduce ourselves as your moderators, Nina and T'Noya! But enough about us--we’d love to hear from you. Hit reply to introduce yourself!

Hello! My name is Zachary Ashbrook. I got into the Environmental Education career field after graduating from my Undergraduate University in 2017. I absolutely adore plants and definitely feel most at home in the Forest. I haven't been able to teach environmental education since the beginning of the Pandemic, but I've been trying to stay professionally active online and I'm always looking for more educational opportunities. I look forward to connecting with other young professionals!

Hi! My name is Kayla Groen, and I'm an interpretive naturalist fellow at Dunes Learning Center. I'm new to the field as of last year, right before the pandemic! My time doing virtual education has exceeded that of in-person instruction, but I am still so passionate about environmental education. I'm excited to meet other emerging professionals and share resources and opportunities!

Hey, I'm Jenna Hoover, and I first dipped my toes into EE in 2015 during an internship in college with Grades of Green. However, I still consider myself a young professional as a 26 year old :) I currently work as a Program Educator for Chino Basin Water Conservation District in Montclair, CA (right on the border of San Bernardino & Los Angeles Counties), and I'm also my church's Youth Director in partnership with the global incarnational ministry organization called Servant Partners.

In my work, I do a mix of leading field trips, coordinating student contests, and facilitating camps. One aspect of EE I want to dive deeper into is inspiring and empowering student-led civic and community action projects, particularly in the urban communities I'm a part of.

Excited to be with you all!

Hi Folks - nice to engage in this virtual group and hear about your experiences with EE! I have been specifically involved in understanding, developing and tracking the trends in Forest Education. That's a semantic way of saying I focus on EE through the eyes of the forest ecosystems. It has been a challenging year for many - especially without the ability to get outside so it has been interesting to see all the innovation in the space. I look forward to exchanging more ideas with you all.

Hi everyone! I'm Colleen Cavanaugh. I am the Teen Programs Supervisor at the Houston Zoo. My main focus is developing our education program for 13 to 17 year olds. Our program strives to develop youth into conservation leaders within their own communities giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to take action to save wildlife. I've been in the EE field since about 2013 and received my MS in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University in 2016 but after having a lot of internships and seasonal or part-time jobs, I definitely feel like I am just now starting to feel really established in EE and in my career. I'm excited to collaborate and learn more from each of you.

Hi All! My name is Rachel Pierson. I am currently an AmeriCorps member serving as the volunteer coordinator for Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in Millersville, Maryland, the headquarters for the Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. As volunteer coordinator, I manage our volunteer programs that assist with implementing K-12 environmental literacy curriculum and lessons. My role consists of recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers in addition to building program materials, community partnerships, and outreach for our programs. I am pretty new to the EE field, coming from a master's program in Vermont in natural resources. I have been looking for opportunities to become more involved in the EE network as I shift my career focus toward environmental education. I am excited and looking forward to connecting with and learning from all of you!

Hello everyone, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the YEP eePro Group! As a moderator, I look forward to connecting with fellow young professionals as we work to support one another in the EE field.

Hi Rachel! I love Echo as it was my first working experience in the environmental education field. I hope you're enjoying your time there as the current volunteer coordinator. Again, welcome to the YEP community, I'm looking forward to connecting in this space!

Hi Maya! I have heard so many wonderful things about you from your time at Echo - you certainly left a lasting impression on the staff. Thanks for reaching out to me! It is great to have the opportunity to connect with you through this space. My experience has been nothing short of enjoyable thus far, even in this unique year. Looking forward to what the rest of the year brings and getting to know you!

Hi all, my name is Matt Voss and I am set to graduate from the University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Studies this May. It's great to hear your stories about how your career has morphed during the pandemic, with lots of positions across the country doing good work. I first got into EE with a position with the National Student Leadership Conference on Sustainability teaching at Yale and the University of Washington for two summers of programs. Now trying to find a job for this summer and fall that helps me grow, especially with my interest in Climate Change and with Sustainable Cities/ Communities (just joined those two groups as well). Thank you all for engaging with this group, hope it proves to be a good network!

Hello! My name is Anna Zauner and I am serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Sitka, AK. As part of my role I have started an after school enrichment program for virtual learning students focused on environmental education. The town of Sitka is nestled in the Tongass National Forest and on Tlingit land, I have been working to incorporate culturally aware EE. I am excited to connect with you all and hope to gain valuable resources for my service from this group.

Hello Everyone!
My name is Alaina Morin and I have been in EE for the past five years. I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Missouri Environmental Education Association, one of NAAEE's State Affiliate's. With the goal of creating a larger systematic change on a daily basis, I moved my passion for sustainability from the classroom to MEEA. The Missouri Green Schools project melds both EE at the teacher level, as well as systematic change all into one amazing role! For the three years before this I taught and created EE at the St. Louis Zoo, which opened my eyes to the everyday choices that must happen for sustainability to become a lifestyle across the globe as we strive to survive. At the same time I spent two years at a Title 1 school teaching American History, while re-writing the course into a project based, inquiry, place-based EE course. This was launched district wide in the 2019-2020 school year. During my teacher preparation program at Eastern Michigan University, I was lucky enough to have two amazing Professors that focused our social emotional training on environmental justice and the historical consequences. All of these experiences have firmly grounded in me the dedication to environmental justice in our public schools every single day. I would not be happy doing anything else!