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Roaring Fork Conservancy and ACES Serve on the First Colorado Environmental Education Leadership Council

Council to Advise Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources on Implementation of the Colorado Environmental Education Plan

Denver, Colo. (October 8, 2014)  The first ever Colorado Environmental Education Leadership Council, administered by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) to serve as an advisory council to Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CDNR), began work this year to support implementation of the recently adopted Colorado Environmental Education Plan (CEEP).  

“The Council is bringing together innovative, creative thought leaders from all different sectors who share a passion for advancing education and helping students learn about the environment where they live.  Their work will help ensure that all students across Colorado have access to the engaging and empowering learning experiences that environmental education can provide,” said Katie Navin, Executive Director of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.

The Colorado Environmental Education Leadership Council is currently made up of 19 members representing a broad range of industries from all regions of the state.  Locally, retired teacher Susy Ellison serves on the statewide council. Members will serve to advance the development and enhancement of environmental education networks and partnerships across the state. The purpose and role of the Council is outlined in the CEEP, with the initial task of developing Regional Councils, launching this fall, that will locally implement the mission, goals and strategies of the CEEP.

The Council

For more information on members of the inaugural Colorado Environmental Education Leadership Council, visit:  http://www.caee.org/colorado-environmental-education-leadership-council

Regional Councils
Four regional councils have been seated, representing NW, NE SW and SE Colorado. The NW Regional Council held its first meeting on late August 2014 at Walking Mountains Science School in Avon, CO.  Local representatives on the Council include Arin Trook at Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Sarah Johnson at Roaring Fork Conservancy.

“The CEEP emphasizes a strong partnership between schools, local government agencies and nonprofits to implement the objectives of the CEEP. I look forward to working with the NW Council to identify these partners and their contributions to bring the best environmental education possible to NW region schools.” Arin Trook, Education Director, ACES

“The CEEP is the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education's largest success that now outlines a coordinated strategy between PreK-12 teachers, environmental education providers, and community leaders across Colorado. At Roaring Fork Conservancy, we believe strongly in the potential of the CEEP to help us further our watershed education programs across NW Colorado by reaching out to diverse partners, schools, and other environmental education providers in the community with a similar vision.” Sarah Johnson, Education Outreach Coordinator, RFC

Sonja Macys of Yampatika in Steamboat Springs will serve as the NW CO Regional Council’s liaison with the state council. She is tasked with helping the regional council get up and running so that they can quickly develop an inventory of existing quality environmental education programming throughout the nine county region.

About the Plan
The CEEP was created through a collaboration between the CDE and the CDNR to foster the partnerships and awareness needed to promote, coordinate, and sustain standards-based environmental education across the state.  The CEEP was adopted by the Colorado State Board of Education on December 5th, 2012 with bi-partisan support.

CEEP is a coordinated strategy between PreK-12 teachers, environmental education providers, and leaders in Colorado to:

  • Restore and increase field experiences as part of the school curriculum;
  • Improve statewide access to existing environmental education programs and materials;
  • Make connections with Colorado Academic Standards and 21st Century Skills to support classroom instruction; and
  • Create opportunities for enhanced and ongoing professional development of educators.

Local Implementation 

Roaring Fork Conservancy
Since 1998, Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC) has been delivering standards based watershed education to schools throughout the Roaring Fork Watershed. RFC’s school programs meet the needs of the State of Colorado Academic Standards, the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan Recommended Actions, and the North American Association for Environmental Education Standards of Excellence. These programs are implemented in science and social studies classrooms throughout the Roaring Fork Valley reaching over 5,000 students pre-K through college students annually. All of our programs incorporate inquiry learning, hands-on activities, and relevant place-based content for students in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Three years ago, RFC began working to meet CEEP’s mission of expanding capacity and access to environmental education by expanding our multi-day, 4th grade Watershed Education program. This program began in Basalt over 10 years ago and has expanded to 4th graders in both Glenwood Springs Elementary School and Crystal River Elementary. Funding from an Excel Energy grant allowed us to pilot an eight-lesson, 6th grade watershed education unit in Carbondale Middle School. In addition, RFC began offering teacher professional development by providing training in Project WET and National Fishing in Schools Program.

RFC is proud to participate in the CEEP regional council as a way to continue building relationships with other organizations both regionally and across the state. RFC is committed to learning from these other organizations and also offering support and insights where needed. 


Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
For over 30 years prior to the establishment of the Colorado Environmental Education Plan, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) has been working to integrate state academic standards into environmental education. Working with the Aspen School District since 1982, ACES has taught full-time environmental science classes at Aspen Elementary School, blending hands-on experiential field study programs with daily classroom-based lessons.

In the past three years, ACES has worked to meet CEEP’s mission of expanding capacity and access to environmental education by replicating our successful Aspen School program in the culturally diverse Roaring Fork School District. With full-time environmental science classes at Basalt and Crystal River Elementary Schools, ACES now offers the same high-level standards-based classes to over 5,000 students each year, with several bilingual instructors and the development culturally relevant environmental education curriculum.

ACES’ participation in the CEEP regional council offers an opportunity for ACES to learn from other organizations while also offering support and experienced insights to schools, education centers and non-profits working towards developing similar standards-based educational programing.

To access CEEP, please visit: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cosocialstudies/ceep

About the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education is a partnership between environmental education providers and supporters who are working together to advance environmental literacy. The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education serves all sectors of the Colorado community by improving the collective effectiveness of environmental education. It is a neutral and objective source of information related to environmental education in Colorado, and a voice for the important role of an environmental education that balances the needs of social and environmental quality.

For more information, visit:  www.caee.org

Contacts: 
Katie Navin, Executive Director, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, (303) 273-9527

Hillary Mizia, Leadership Council Chair, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, (970) 988-9734

Sarah Johnson, CEEP Regional Council Member & Education Outreach Coordinator at Roaring Fork Conservancy, (970) 510-0697

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