February 2019 Educator Social Recap

NoVA Outside welcomed over thirty enthusiasts of outdoor and environmental learning and nature-based education to its Educator Social on February 11, 2019.

Held at Shirlington Library in Arlington, the event opened with introductions led by NoVA Outside Leadership Team Member Elenor Hodges, an Arlington parent and the director of EcoAction Arlington, and NoVA Outside Communications Team Member Jessica Haney, an Arlington parent and former high school teacher.

After introductions showed the diverse representation in the room to include teachers, parents and many representatives of agencies that serve youth and the general public, participants undertook a few ice breakers.

These movement-based activities helped participants get a better sense of ages of youth served, geographic locations, and everyone’s roles in their schools and agencies.

From here, participants broke into small groups and spent time sharing successes and needs.

Notes from these conversations were recorded on chart paper and will be made available to participants.

The final organized portion of the evening included a presentation about the upcoming Student Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS), which will take place April 23, 2019 at George Mason University.

SEAS co-chairs Kurt Moser and Elaine Tholen spoke about what to expect at the event, went over highlights this year – including the Young Reporters for the Environment program, which has a February 22 deadline – and noted that a donor is making available transportation funds up to $500 per school. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out. Email showcase@novaoutside.org if interested.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Schools bringing eco-teams will be scheduled for the different components of the day – the General Showcase, the Caring for Our Watersheds competition and the Eco-Partner Village in addition to the Thinkabit Lab and the Envirothon for high schoolers – and so are asked to register by Friday, April 5.

Individual teachers or parents who are not bringing teams this year may register onsite at the event, which is free and open to the public.

For more details and to register, visit the SEAS page.

After Kurt and Elaine’s presentation, two Arlington teachers – Nate Erwin, formerly of Patrick Henry Elementary, and Pamela Clark of Campbell Elementary – shared their experiences taking groups of students to SEAS and spoke to the benefits they saw offered by the event.

The evening concluded with open social time that lasted until the library closed. It was a night of lively conversation that the NoVA Outside Leadership Team hopes is just the beginning of productive collaborations.