Baltimore Dispatch: A personal reflection on the NAAEE 2013 conference

Hello, my name is Morgan Powell of Bronx River Sankofa:

The North American Association for Environmental Education celebrated its 42nd annual conference with greater ethnic diversity than usual thanks to many who struggle for a green movement that looks like America.  The pictures you see above and immediately below were taken at Jubilee Arts Center in Baltimore, MD.  Above are Nilka Martell of G.I.V.E. in the Bronx, NY and John Griffith of California’s CCC.  The one below captures a fellowship moment of friends Rue Mapp (California), Nicole Jackson (Ohio) and Rodney Stotts (Washington, D.C.).  You are seeing American environmental education from sea to shining sea!  More regions of the country were represented by dozens of other conference attendees of color not shown in these images!


Here are some memories I’ve brought home.

Circular Dialogue


Akiima Price scheduled a wonderful day (Thursday, October 10) of activities for us.  The picture above captures our Community Environmental Education (EE) Workshop in the morning attended by over three dozen formal and informal indoor and outdoor environmental educators.

            Over several days, I enjoyed rich discussions with fellow apostles of the green life like food scientist Milton Newberry (NJ) who is a doctoral student at the University of Florida.  Others included Tanya Fields, founder of The Blk Projek, Dennis Chestnut (Groundwork Anacostia), Nicole Jackson (The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden), Jose Marcos-Iga (Environmental Education Exchange), Latriece Brown (Greening Youth), Nilka Martell (G.I.V.E.), Andrew Brazington of the Chester Environmental Partnership and so many others.

 Touring Baltimore


This New Yorker chose to bypass the free Charm City Circular which can get you to many attractions within center city.  Except for a cab to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, I walked to and from all other points.  I learned about oystering, iron-working and farming in sandy soils at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture  (exterior photo above) before exploring the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood and its Walters Museum.  All conference participants were extended reduced admission to the National Aquarium in Baltimore  which held the surprise of including a mini-botanical garden of tropical plants providing habitat for terrestrial animals.  The exhibits there masterfully demonstrated intimate connections between diverse biomes from mountains to coastal wetlands and oceans!

                 The Community EE Fellowship Field Trip began at Jubilee Arts Center, continued to Whitelock Community Farm  (host Teddy Krolik), included commentary by Antonio Carpenter of who leads tours of old growth wooded Baltimore parks and concluded with an environmental justice tour by a local successful advocate Glen Ross.

Making New Friends


I met Bobby Wilson of the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, James McGirt of Project Learning Tree in D.C., Marta Campo (NY) of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, C. Parker McMullen-Bushman of The Marine Science Consortium (VA), Charice Bourdeaux (shown above on the left facing Andrew Brazington) from Utah Bike Month, Park Ranger Nick Clemons (MD) at the Assateague Island National Seashore, Veronica Kyle (IL) of Faith in Place , Marcos Trinidad (CA) of Audubon Youth Environmental Stewards, Juan Reynosa (NM) of the SouthWest Organizing Project, Elizabeth Babalola (NJ) who is studying at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies among  too many others to name!


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