Sunday, February 10, 2013

Educate, Engage, & Energize with MAEOE ~ Part 1

MAEOE | The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education
After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back, with a mind that's a-buzzing!  I've just spent two days knee-deep in EcoMania at the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educator's [MAEOE] Annual Conference in Ocean City Maryland.  I think this makes year five, and it's always such a supreme wealth of ideas and insights.  You can't help but go away energized, overflowing with new ideas and inspirations that you can't wait to put into practice.

I'll admit it--it's my own little annual nirvana!
The theme of this year's conference was "Educate-Engage-Energize."  They hit it spot-on.  600+ educators from Maryland (and neighboring states) from schools (both public and independent), outdoor education centers, and environmentally-minded people came together for half and full day sessions, keynote speakers, hour-long workshops, plenary sessions, and excursions.  After several years of attending, you start seeing old friends and recognizing faces!!

top-tenrev2Over the next several posts, I'll be reflecting on and sharing the many fabulous resources that I have collected along the way these past few days.  The overwhelming umbrella of ideas over this weekend reminded me of the "green bible" of outdoor and environmental educators.  More than once, all roads led us back to Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder" and "The Nature Principal."  The overwhelming message is that having that time (that unstructured time) outdoors to play and explore is precisely what we need to neutralize so many of the ills facing us all.  

The biggest eye-opener:  kids these days spend an average of 6--7.5 hours in front of a screen.  As impossible as that number seems, it clearly is reachable through the law of averages including weekends and summer vacation.  It's startling, surprising, and sad... yet, in looking around at the explosion of technology (especially in the last 3 years since the appearance of the iPad and other mobile devices), perhaps it's not as startling as it first seemed.  So it is our job as parents and educators to do something about this to help our younger folks achieve balance in this growing tech world of ours.  It is our duty!

Images from the MAEOE website; Top 10 poster from

No comments :

Post a Comment