2020 Annual Conference

Nurtured by Nature – November 5-7, 2020

Conference Program

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WAEE is committed to the health, well-being and safety of all our members, friends and partner organizations.  In facing the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the conference committee decided to create a fun, engaging virtual conference in 2020.  We are planning to host our 2021 fall conference in Green Bay in early November next year. 

While it’s difficult to give up our valuable in-person experience, we hope that a virtual format will open WAEE up to new participants and expand our community in Wisconsin. Who do you know that always wanted to come to a WAEE gathering? Now is the time to invite them!

Our annual conference is our major fundraiser each year.  We are currently seeking sponsors. You can enter sponsorship suggestions into the survey or contact us at admin@waee.org

We can’t wait to see you (virtually) in November.

Conference Theme: “Nurtured by Nature”

Time in nature supports our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. As environmental educators, we share those benefits in our diverse communities. This year, WAEE celebrates human connection to the natural world and works to expand our vision towards resilience and well-being.

Conference Strands:

1.)  Get into the Great Outdoors – Virtually

2.)  Environmental Justice through EE

Time in nature is not equally accessible to everyone in our communities, and the history of racism, sexism, classism and ableism has meant that environmental problems impact some people more directly than others. Share how your programs and staff are working to address this disparity and create a future where environmental and social responsibility drive individual and institutional choices.

3.)  Connecting to the Land and Each Other

Time in nature supports affiliation with the land and fosters strong bonds between participants. Share how you and your programs create, enhance and sustain these connections through activities, programs, and your site.

4.)  Resilient Systems in EE

Environmental education programs have adapted to many challenges in the past year, from changing program delivery and content to administration, fundraising and marketing. This strand helps EE practitioners learn from and support each other as we bounce back from these challenges. Share how you and your program adapted to COVID-19 or other challenges, or host a discussion for specific types of programs like nature centers, early childhood or K-12 programs

Keynote/Featured Speakers

WAEE 2020 Keynote: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Saturday November 7th, 2-3pm

Dr. Kimmerer is a mother, plant ecologist, writer and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and the ecology of mosses. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students, and to create new models for integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture. She is engaged in programs which introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge.

Dr. Kimmerer will be introduced by Gidigaa-bizhiw (Jerry Jondreau, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community).

To hear from Dr. Kimmerer,

TED talk TEDx Sitka: Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest

Featured Speaker: Trebbe Johnson

Author, Radical Joy for Hard Times

Saturday November 7th, 9:15-10:00 am

Trebbe Johnson is the author of Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places, The World Is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved, and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. She has written many articles that explore the relationship between people, nature, and myth.Trebbe is also the founder and director of Radical Joy for Hard Times, a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. A lifelong adventurer in inner and outer worlds, Trebbe speaks four languages; has camped alone in the Arctic; studied classical Indian dance; and worked as an artist’s model, a street sweeper in an English village, and an award-winning multimedia producer.

Read Trebbe Johnson’s work in Orion Magazine.

Featured Speaker:  Dr. Leah Prussia

Associate Professor of Social Work, College of St. Scholastica

Friday, November 6th, 9:15-10:00am

Leah Prussia is a self-described “tree hugging dirt worshiper.” She has worked with diverse populations throughout her years as a social worker and clinician to assist each person to find and actualize their definition of health and wellness. Dr. Prussia blends teachings from Nature, Peter Levine’s Somatic Experience work, Relational-Cultural Theory, and Cognitive-Behavioral approaches to address the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of individuals. Her background includes extensive knowledge and practice in mental health services, substance abuse, trauma, program administration, and grassroots advocacy.

Featured Speaker: Crystal Gail Welcome

Experiential educator specializing in restorative adventures

Thursday, November 5, 6:00-6:45pm

Crystal Gail Welcome is an experiential educator, author, story teller, activist, and Black outdoor leader. She chooses to speak out against racial injustice in the United States by hiking and giving voice to her experiences. Crystal emphasizes the need for social and environmental justice, and explains how discrepancies in both have led to a gap between BIPOC and nature. She also explores how sharing one’s experiences while in nature can create a unique space for healing from trauma or other negative life experiences. Crystal Gail leads by example, and has inspired other BIPOC people to foster a positive relationship with the natural world.

Read about Crystal’s trek across the North country.

Schedule at a Glance