We’re so proud to announce that our very own Education Director, Margaret Boeger has been appointed as chairperson for the Sonoma Environmental Education Collaborative (SEEC), a regional consortium of environmental education professionals from over 35 local organizations, agencies, networks, and school districts. SEEC’s mission is to create vibrant, innovative collaborations that increase environmental literacy in Sonoma County’s community and Pepperwood will continue in its role as the collaborative’s fiscal sponsor.
As a collaborative, SEEC fulfills its mission by identifying and addressing regional needs for environmental education beyond the scope of individual organizations. Our work identifies gaps in existing resources and activities, considers how existing resources can be better leveraged to achieve common goals, and seeks new resources for collaborative projects that enhance existing infrastructure and programs. Part of our work is to provide professional development opportunities to the community, thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Sonoma County. This year our focus during these workshops centered on adapting environmental education to virtual platforms and integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into our organizational curricula.
Virtual Teaching and Best Practices Speakers
In the spring and fall we heard from local experts on best practices using virtual teaching techniques in the field, including the proper field equipment for virtual programming, tips to engage students on Zoom (using different virtual platforms to play interactive games, etc.); how to be a compelling educator in the field (voice, actions, live animals), and other best practices and techniques to keep students’ attention. Our speakers included: Tony Passatino (Sonoma Ecology Center), Christine Byrne (Sonoma Water); Kristina Stanton (Sonoma County Regional Parks); Jamie Nakama (Landpaths); Julia Megna (Sonoma Ecology Center); Kristin Suarez (Sonoma County Regional Parks); Jessica Holloway (Landpaths), Stephanie Bastianon (Friends of the Petaluma River); Regina Dingler (Education Consultant and ‘Pod’ leader) and Kevin Andersen (Daily Acts).
Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Native Youth Engagement Speakers
This winter our speakers focused on Pepperwood’s black oaks project and the importance of black oaks to local Indigenous communities, best practices and considerations when crafting a Land Acknowledgement Statement, new curriculum for middle and high school students on Pomo culture as adopted by the Smithsonian, increasing thoughtful engagement with native youth in our classrooms, and successful recruitment of native youth to environmental education programs. Our speakers included: Clint McKay (Pepperwood); Cory O’Gorman (Sonoma State Graduate student); Taylor Pennewell and Madison Esposito (Redbud Resource Group), and Nicole Meyers-Lim (California Indian Museum and Cultural Center). We were thrilled to be able to secure such a broad diversity of expert speakers during our meetings, and to reach over 100 Sonoma county environmental educators.