Connections Between the State of EE in Oregon and Beyond

Engaging Learners with Oregon’s Ecosystems, from Streams to Sagebrush

Rick Reynolds croppedRick Reynolds, Engaging Every Student
Saturday, September 29, 9:15-10:45am

Learn hands-on strategies to engage students in thinking about Oregon’s ecosystems and their fascinating organisms, from crayfish to coyotes. We will explore lessons that dive deep into our native and invasive species and the connections between them from free resources including Investigating Crayfish + Their Ecosystems (coming soon) and Inquiry, Exploration, and Service Learning in the Sagebrush Ecosystem.

Participants will conduct line transects, set traps for crayfish, analyze skulls, integrate systems thinking, art, technology, and more!

Rick Reynolds has been a passionate educator and developer of educational resources for 25 years. Through Engaging Every Student, he creates curriculum and multimedia resources with partners such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, BLM, SOLVE, and PBS. His works help all ages connect with nature, including The EverGreen Twins Activity Book, SOLVE's Environmental Service Learning curriculum, Marco the Molecule, and Inquiry, Exploration, and Service Learning in the Sagebrush Ecosystem.

Ways to Engage with Green School Programs: Waste, Watts, Water, Wildlife and More!

Morgan Parks croppedBecca Gilbert croppedMorgan Parks, National Wildlife Federation and Becca Gilbert, Oregon Green Schools
Saturday, September 29, 1:45-3:15pm

Oregon Green Schools and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA are green school programs that empower PK-12 students to take sustainable action in their communities and become stewards of their environment through place-based authentic learning. By learning about waste, energy, wildlife and water systems, students will measure the difference they make in their schools, translating into positive impacts for our planet.

Whether you’re a formal or non-formal educator, your engagement with students can help schools earn recognition and awards for anything from resource conservation to raising salmon/trout in the classroom or learning about monarch butterflies and other wildlife. Come learn about our pathways of sustainability, help conduct an outdoor Schoolyard Habitat audit, and discover how schools can become certified by providing essential wildlife habitat elements. Benefits of our programs include improved environmental literacy and connection to nature, a reduced carbon footprint, alignment with education standards (NGSS/CCSS/NSES/OELP), active STEAM learning, lesson links and curriculum, free resources, financial savings, signage, and more.

We will conduct an outdoor Schoolyard Habitat audit (assessment) of the camp facility and grounds as well as complete a Certification Checklist of present wildlife habitat components.

Morgan Parks, Oregon Education Coordinator - National Wildlife Federation, received her B.S. in Natural Resources from OSU and has 8 years’ experience in community education and
engagement having previously worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, SOLVE, and the Clackamas River Basin Council. She leads education programming including Eco-Schools USA, Garden for Wildlife (Certified Wildlife Habitats and Schoolyard Habitats), and salmon education initiatives (Fish Eggs to Fry) with NW Steelheaders.

Becca Gilbert graduated with an Elementary Education degree from Indiana University, then taught in Kenya before returning to teach in rural Kentucky for two years. Her she worked on Green School Programs and the Kentucky NEED program. She moved to Bend in 2015 to enjoy the lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. She worked with Camp Tamarack Outdoor School as a field instructor for one season, which led to her role as Campaign Organizer for the Save Outdoor School campaign. She currently is a sustainability educator at The Environmental Center teaching students about waste, energy and climate change and assisting schools through the Oregon Green School certification.

Crossing the Waters to Work with Formal Educators: Things you Need to Know About Creating a Bridge Between Informal and Formal Education

Sarah Stapleton croppedSarah Stapleton, University of Oregon
Saturday, September 29, 3:30-4:30pm

In this session, Sarah will draw on her experiences as a former public school teacher who partnered with EE groups, and a current teacher educator and researcher working with EE organizations and teachers to help EE practitioners think about the differing contexts and worlds of practice of formal education. We will engage in a number of hands-on activities to allow participants to bring in their own experiences and questions about working with teachers, schools, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

In this session, I will ask all participants to do a chalk and talk, using post-it notes to pose questions/answers they have. I will also do a walk-the-line activity to formatively assess where people are in terms of their comfort level and experience in working with formal educators. If I have other formal educators in the session, I will allow them space to answer questions as well. (These activities can be done indoors or outdoors.)

Sarah Stapleton is an Assistant Professor in Education Studies at the University of Oregon. Before earning her PhD, she taught middle and high school sciences including environmental science at public schools in California and West Africa. In her teaching, Sarah helps future teachers learn to teach science that is responsive to social & environmental justice. In her research, she uses participatory methodologies to explore social contexts and inequities around science and environmental education.

EE Activities for a Very Popular Planet

Shirley Lomax croppedShirley Lomax, Western Oregon University
Sunday, September 30, 10:30am-12:00noon

Discover lively, interdisciplinary activities that help elementary students understand the human ecological footprint and the challenges of sharing finite resources as our population grows. Build science, math, literacy and critical thinking skills while fostering global and civic awareness.

A variety of activity formats – simulations, games, cooperative group work -- aim for inclusiveness for students with different learning styles. Receive electronic lesson plans matched to NGSS, Common Core and OELP standards.

Participants will engage in “Panther Hunt”: Every piece of land has a limited carrying capacity for the number of animals and/or humans it can support. In this simulation game (which can be done outdoors or indoors), students gain an understanding of carrying capacity when they act as predatory animals in a finite area and attempt to accumulate enough food to stay alive. Follow-up discussion considers different variables that could affect the animals’ survival and comparing/contrasting human needs with needs of other species.

Shirley Lomax is Supervisor for Student Teachers at Western Oregon University. For over 30 years, she was a teacher of Talented and Gifted, alternative education, social studies and language arts in the Salem-Keizer School District, and taught methods courses for graduate students at Willamette University. Shirley has been awarded Teacher of the Year by the National Council for Geographic Education. M.S., Geography, University of Oregon; B.S., Elementary Education, Western Oregon State College.

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Our Vision

Oregon communities compassionately working together to create equitable connections to and expressions of the local and global environments.

Our Mission

To cultivate environmental literacy and engagement among diverse community leaders

EEAO is the Oregon affiliate of


in 2005 we received NAAEE Affiliate of the Year

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  •    EEAO works to ensure everyone in Oregon has an opportunity to learn about the environment and society where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.