Big environmental week for Kentucky coming up in October

Lexington is getting ready to host the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Annual Conference and Research Symposium and it’s going to be great. More than 1,000 environmental educators will be right here in the bluegrass state. If you haven’t already signed up to attend, you can visit the NAAEE website and find out more: bit.ly/2mXV2Jl.

I think collaboration and community are both very important pieces of all education and it’s really exciting that an opportunity to meet and talk to so many different environmental educators is coming to our backyard. In 2018, the conference was in Washington state and in 2017, it was in Puerto Rico. Next year, the conference will be in Arizona. So if you want to go but don’t want to travel far, this is your opportunity.

Since this conference is such a big deal, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton has declared October 14-19 Environmental Education Week in Lexington. I think having the NAAEE conference here in the Bluegrass is huge for us and will hopefully bring more awareness to the field of environmental education.

In Mayor Gorton’s declaration, she made some very good points. My favorite thing that Gorton said was, “Stewardship is not possible without a strong sense of connection to the natural world and an understanding by our individual and collective responsibilities to protect it.”

There are a lot of things that can divide us, and lots of politicians want to make environmental issues into a divisive thing, but I think that isn’t fair to us or the environment. Making the environment political only pits us against one another and prevents us from trying to work together to fix the issues.

There is no one who wants dirty air, dirty water and no wildlife. But instead of working together to protect our shared home, politicians want us to point fingers and try to figure out who to blame for hurting the environment.

I would like to have Environmental Education Week spread beyond just Lexington to the entire state of Kentucky and have everyone focus on our environmental impacts how we can all join together to protect our environment.

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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