Missouri Environmental Education News: February 2024Welcome to the lastest edition of MEEA's Newsletter
Table of Contents
- Feature Article
- Lesson Resources
- Annual Conference & Professional Development
- Featured Events, Grants, Workshops & Webinars
- JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
- Green Schools Corner
- Missouri Nature Phenomena This Month
- News from the Field
As we enter February, I’m thinking about Black History Month and about love and their importance in our approach to the work of environmental education. I wondered about environmental educators in the classroom and how they might incorporate EE, Black History, and love into their routines this month.
Love spreads joy, and what is more Joyful during Black History month than to celebrate today’s Black History makers? If you’re in the classroom, why not take a couple minutes regularly this month to highlight some of these movers and shakers with your students? The EPA just shared several interviews with Black scientists currently working at the agency. The Show-Me Green Schools newsletter just came out and it has a great list of Black Leaders in Sustainability right at the top. Yale Sustainability has a list of 15 Black Environmental Leaders to Follow that features one of my favorite social media personalities – Alexis Nicole Nelson, and it’s where I learned about Jerome Foster II, who is a member of President Biden’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council—the youngest White House advisor in U.S. history. There’s so much to learn and celebrate this month, so much to love.
During what is a difficult month for so many of us (myself included), February is also a time to find joy and celebrate that. I’m so thankful for the resources I’m able to share with you all, and I hope they instill you with gratitude, inspiration, and love. Love for all the wonderful people on this planet, love for people who persevere against all odds, and love for the Earth that sustains us.
Until next time, with love and gratitude for our collective efforts to make the world a better place,
Lesli Moylan, MEEA Co-Director
Feature Article: Women in Education: History and Challenges
Article, photos and lesson ideas submitted by:
MEEA C0-Director, Salem, MO
This month, February, is always a special month for me, mainly because the sun shines longer every day, wildflowers start blooming, and the sound of Spring Peepers awaking makes my heart happy.
But this particular February, I want to give some grace to women in Education. One of my heroes is Susan B Anthony, whose birthday is celebrated on February 15. Because of her determination as a woman in the late 1800’s, Anthony moved the nation by being brave and by making her voice heard about women getting the right to vote. Not so long ago in our history, women were not eligible to vote; in fact it was illegal!. As hard as it is for us modern women to believe, that’s right, women (no matter their race or caste level) could not vote until 1920 (more than 40 years after Susan B cast her illegal vote, and was arrested and fined for doing so)! Susan B. Anthony: Rebel For The Cause
But, ironically, women since the mid-19th century have been educated and have served as educators themselves. Education was one of the few professions that women were allowed to (encouraged to, actually) join. This month for the newsletter I’d like to highlight women in education, and how interesting it is that women are more common than men as both formal and nonformal educators. What is the history of that, and what are the challenges for us in EE?
I tend to look around the room when first joining professional gatherings to get a mental screenshot of who is represented. Without fail, when the focus of the gathering is for educators, the majority of attendants are women. Why is that? Well, I recently dove into some interesting resources to attempt a few answers.
According to Alia Wong, a writer for the Atlantic magazine, that gender shift really happened as a result of our country moving toward a public school system.
“Teaching in the United States was once considered a career for men. Then the profession’s gender composition shifted dramatically around the mid-19th century, when the country’s public-school system was born. As schoolhouse doors opened to children of all social classes and genders, so too did the education profession.”
How interesting, that once our country determined that ALL children, no matter their wealth, location or class, deserved an education, women were provided an opportunity to fill professional roles. Women throughout history have been linked to equity. Wow.
The trend is universal, not just in the US. UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which “contributes to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information,” has recently taken a look at trends in education worldwide. According to a 2023 UNESCO report, entitled Gender Equality In and Through the Teaching Profession: “Globally, women are over-represented in the teaching force. And their numbers are rising: Since 2015, globally, the proportion of female teachers has increased across primary, lower, and upper secondary levels.”
I have various sometimes conflicting feelings about this trend:
We know that there is a definite need for males to be represented in formal education, particularly at the elementary level (K-5). It is healthy and inspiring for all students to be educated and mentored by teachers that they can relate to and have empathy for their life experiences. Part of the historically documented reason for this imbalance is that the lower the grade level, the lower the pay for the teacher! As we analyze educator salaries at higher grade levels and higher education, the salaries increase and female representation decreases. I would argue that we have a cultural bias when it comes to pay equity in education as compared to other professions requiring at least a 4-year degree and specialized certification. Anyone who thinks being a teacher does not require multiple levels of expertise across multiple categories has never taught! Mike drop.
On the other hand, I would also be open to the discussion that women are more, for lack of a better term, “maternal.” And by that I don’t mean destined to become moms, but that we often find joy and purpose in being caretakers and nurturers. I also advance the idea that women can, in fact multi-task, which can cause us to take on things that we believe in even when our plates are overflowing and the pay is low or nonexistent!
Where am I going with these conflicting reflections? Well, I know that we need to move more every day toward equity, toward justice, as the gallant and brave Susan B. Anthony fiercely led us. The drip drip of that justice is sometimes maddening for those of us who are exhausted about waiting and just want to get things done. But, knowledge is energy, and the fact that we know about and acknowledge the inequity is the first step.
For more about Susan B. Anthony:
An Act of Courage:
“Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 to March 13, 1906), better known as Susan B. Anthony, was an American writer, lecturer and abolitionist who was a leading figure in the women’s voting rights movement. Raised in a Quaker household, Anthony went on to work as a teacher. She later partnered with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and would eventually lead the National American Woman Suffrage “ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khwweAW2VT8
Full Biography.com documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmXb7EMVyyk
Voices for Votes
Before beginning the unit, collect and print out primary source documents from the Library of Congress Web site that relate to strategies used to achieve women’s suffrage.
Create motivational displays in the classroom, See these examples of possible displays:
Annual Conference & Professional Development
MEEA Annual Conference 2024
Our Inspiring Conference Theme:
Growing a New Era of Education for Water, Soil and Human Health Through Regenerative Practices
What we know so far:
- Our 2024 conference will be in the Springfield, Missouri, area.
- First Weekend of November (Friday & Saturday Nov 1-2) Mark your calendars!
- Our conference planning committee is meeting regularly to plan your event.
- Young Environmental Leaders will be super involved!
- Venues have not yet been confirmed, but there is so much EE happening in Springfield area!
email us with questions, comments and feedback.
New Professional Development in 2024
MEEA’s Expanding PD Course Platform
- Thanks to funding from the EPA and distributed through the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), of which we are an affiliate, MEEA is now able to offer an online course platform, Moodle.com. Thank you to the educators across the state who piloted our first course, and helped us make services even better for all of you who are seeking relevant professional development. The next step is to design a course calendar and an efficient registration, enrollment and course moderator process.
- Courses we will offer in 2024:
- Teaching and Learning Outdoors
- Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Foundations in Teaching Environmental Education
Visit this link to explore our Moodle platform and our growing list of future courses: eecourses.meea.org
**For other PD from MEEA, be looking for announcements about several upcoming in person workshops that are being developed and planned for state-wide attendance.
31st Annual Missouri Coordinator School Health Conference
February 21-23, 2024
Workshops & Webinars
What’s the Buzz About Net Zero Education?
Educators from around the world discuss innovative approaches to integrating net zero concepts into teaching and learning.
JEDIA: Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility
Traditional Ecological Knowledge & EE Projects
These images are from the brilliant and inspirational Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (now adapted for young adults).
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
A Presentation for the
4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning webinar Jan 11, 2024
to access the Webinar Recordings: outdoorlearningstore.com/4-seasons-recordings-2023-2024
Green Schools Corner
Last February, I challenged you and those you teach to Give the Earth Some Love:
“Design a Valentine’s Day Card from you to Earth. Say what you feel about our only home that makes you love it, and share it back with us (as a photo or online design file) if you like. If you’re a teacher, perhaps have your students take this challenge and create cards showing their vision of loving the planet. I’ll put them on the website.”
Well, the Cassville Library Home School Group took on the challenge and overwhelmed Mother Earth with adorable Valentine’s Day Cards–Here are just a few! The entire “album” of their cards is going on the website. Thanks to the Cassville Library and to Anna Skalicky, Naturalist at Roaring River State Park, for collaborating on this and submitting the cards. Can you feel the LOVE??
Nature Phenomena This Month
News from the Field
Invasive Species News