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- Environmental Education Advisory Task Force Minutes - 2008 - December
Environmental Education Advisory Task Force
December 4, 2008
Pete Cleary, David Weinand, Lee Ann Landstrom, Tracy Fredin, Amy Markle, Deborah Durkin, Patty Born Selly, Jeff Lederman, Nathan Meyer, Lisa Koch
Nalani McCutcheon, Dawn Flinn, Joel Silverman, Anthony Bormann, Tom Moffat
Mike Kennedy, Rick Patraw, John Ikeda, Su Beran, Denise Stromme,
Theresa Gaffey (MPCA), Laura Duffey (MDNR), Randy Lehr (Three Rivers Park District)
Chairman, Pete Cleary, called the meeting to order at 12:31 p.m.
Mike Kennedy introduced Acting Commissioner, Paul Eger.
Paul Eger, Acting Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Acting Commissioner Eger said it was his pleasure to attend the EEATF meeting on behalf of the MPCA Commissioner's Office. He enjoys the opportunity to meet with the task force and welcomed all the members.
He stated that everyone will be hearing the distressing news regarding the state budget. There is still a lot of important work to be done to protect the environment and sometimes these challenges need to be approached in a different way. We need to address how we connect with all Minnesotans. The EEATF is a part of this creative thinking and he is pleased to have this group at work and looks forward to seeing what is accomplished. He hopes to visit with the task force again in the future.
Approval of the agenda
Changes to the agenda: Rick Patraw will fill in for Dave Benke for the Director's Report; CLIMB Theater will not be here and this time will be absorbed into the GreenPrint 3 Presentation; Committee break-out time will be removed.
Motion: Lee Ann Landstrom moved to approve the agenda as amended; David Weinand seconded the motion; motion passed unanimously 11-0-0.
Approval of the minutes
Changes to the minutes from November 6, 2008: Lee Ann Landstrom requested the TMDL be spelled out on page two (Total Maximum Daily Load = TMDL); Lee Ann also stated that the acronym on page three should be NAI instead of NEI (National Association for Interpretation = NAI); Lee Ann requested that the minutes state she is going to the conference, and not that she is heading NAI; the ELM Committee minutes will be added.
Motion: David Weinand moved to approve the minutes as amended; Patty Born Selly seconded the motion; motion passed unanimously 11-0-0.
Director's Report - Rick Patraw (for Dave Benke)
Rick Patraw stated that he is not surprised that Acting Commissioner Eger spoke of the state budget. The deficit has not been calculated yet, but will be around the $6 billion mark. We do know that this task force is supported and do not see a major shift as it relates to work of the task force. If there is any information that can be communicated, it will be. The group should look at the possibility of outside sources for support with things, such as ELM. This needs to be independent of the state budget to be secure.
Rick also reported that the "No Child Left Inside" (Federal Act) was passed. This does not mean that there are dollars that go with it. The federal fiscal year goes from October to September. It seems that based on previous discussions, perhaps this is something the task force would like to collectively work on as opposed to one single agency.
The task force then discussed funding for environmental education. There has to be a plan in place to receive federal funding. The Department of Education would have to write an environmental literacy evaluation for K-12 to determine the effectiveness of the money and how it is being used. NAEE has put together a process for this evaluation. Environmental Education is not a requirement for schools yet, although it is an approved policy. But, there is no appropriation of the money yet.
Information Sharing - All
Mike Kennedy stated that the contact list for the task force will be updated to include the MPCA staff members and will be sent again to all members.
Mike explained why CLIMB Theater was unable to attend the meeting today. The contact person who was working with EEATF, Zac Lagen, has resigned.
Mike stated that there is enough funding from the state budget to continue on projects that task force is currently working on, but budgets get tighter. If your committee work includes any budgetary needs, get them complete sooner than later. We need to encumber money now so it will be available when it is needed later. Please plan accordingly. Mike will provide assistance with this process if needed. Rick Patraw added that you must be very specific with your requests.
Laura Duffey shared that the day before the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that the Division of Parks and Trails and the Division of Waterways will combine as one. These two divisions were split in the 1980's, and are now rejoining. It is too early to tell how this will effect environmental education.
Lee Ann Landstrom shared that she attended the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Conference. MinnAqua won first place in the national media awards area.
Tracy Fredin shared that there will be a gathering held at Hamline University to celebrate the Center for Global Environmental Education's 18th Anniversary.
It was discussed to meet with members of the Clean Water Council to discuss environmental education.
Nate Meyer shared that at 9:00 p.m. this night the Northwoods Great Lakes Master Naturalist Pilot Class will wrap up. This marks the final pilot for statewide delivery. You can look for instructor training late this winter. Currently a chaptering process is being piloted, which will start to help organization into regional groups to support their own development. This will be a great resource for the environmental education community. There is an on-line database calendaring system for field-day programs.
Colleen Schoenecker shared that the final version of the GreenPrint 3 is now on the SEEK Web site. It can be downloaded at http://www.seek.state.mn.us/eemn_d.cfm and/or print copies can be obtained through the MPCA Learning Center. They can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 651-757-2120 or 800-877-6300.
Amy Markle shared that two MAEE board members went to the NAAEE Conference. At the January board meeting they will be working with an outside assistant to establish an Executive Director. The membership right now is approximately 275. They need help June 16-18 for a conference in Prior Lake. The NAI Conference went really well and her presentation went smoothly. Amy was asked to make her presentation again at the February EEATF meeting.
David Weinand shared that the Environmental Education Grant is due December 18 for Region 5.
Denise Stromme shared that the Environmental Literacy Report Card will be out by the next meeting.
Rick Patraw shared that there has not been any legislative process for forwarding issues, but he did get on the agenda for the Commissioner's Office to discuss it. He wants to have discussions with Dave Benke on how to restore the Environmental Education Advisory Board. He hopes to restore the board without an expiration date.
Deborah Durkin shared that there is a special issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine for November 2008. There is an article on heat-related illnesses you might find informative.
Jeff Lederman shared that he is on the Outdoor Education Task Force. They have met three to four times so far. Their recommendations are due to the legislature on January 15, 2009. The need for environmental education is as great as the need for outdoor education. There's a lot of common ground and it should be a common ground effort. The power of both together has a larger chance of success.
GreenPrint Presentation - GreenPrint Committee
Hand-out: "Marketing and Education Recommendation"
Denise Stromme referred to the hand-out and explained that the task force needs to vote to pass this recommendation or else let the committee know what needs to be changed.
David Weinand explained the "Marketing" area of the recommendation. The committee is recommending three stages. The first stage is an initial mailing, or hand delivery, of an introductory letter and hard copy of the GreenPrint 3 to the leaders in environmental education, legislative and governmental leaders, and environmental groups. This would be done in the first four months after the document is printed (November 2008 to February 2009).
The second marketing stage is targeted e-mail notices with links to the on-line document, executive summaries, complementary resources and written articles. This would happen after the initial mailing (December 2008 to February 2009) and subsequent e-mails would occur throughout the first two years after printing.
The third marketing stage is an ongoing process involving continued distribution of articles and links. This would also include distributing requested copies, discussion groups, presentations, classes, conferences, pod casts, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and meetings. This stage is ongoing beginning in December 2008.
Marketing stage one and two personnel needs may be done by the MPCA environmental education staff. Stage three requires the assistance of MPCA information systems staff and the Learning Resource Center staff. It is recommended to assign a half-time environmental education staff person and a part-time information systems staff person, both MPCA staff, to set up the needs in stage three. If the information system staff is not available from the MPCA, then it is recommended to contract this work out.
Amy Markle explained the "Education" area of the recommendation. There are two focuses here, content and venues. The content of the educational offerings should allow for individualized work. It must help people fit the GreenPrint into their worlds while connecting them to the broader environmental education world in Minnesota. It must be tailored to fit needs and reach people through their own topics, thus making the connections to the greater goal of environmental literacy. The results of the report cards should be used to drive the need to better and more effective environmental education.
The proposal in the venues area is that existing avenues are used. This would include, but not be limited to, discussion groups, staff gatherings, existing conferences and classes such as the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education Conference and Project WET, environmental learning center, formal education networks, and one-on-one assistance. Also, PowerPoints, blogs and additional resources and links, on-line best practices seminars, and merging educational option on SEEK and partner Web sites should also be utilized.
The personnel needs for the "Education" area of the proposal include the recommendation of one dedicated MPCA staff person to work on GreenPrint education during the next two years. After the first two years it should be at least a half-time person. If full-time or part-time staffing is not possible, then two student worker or intern positions are recommended. A part-time informational systems support staff is also recommended. It is important that the GreenPrint is staffed for the entire ten years of its lifetime if it is going to be effective.
Discussion was held by the task force regarding the "Marketing and Education Recommendation".
Rick Patraw reminded the task force that everything is totally dependent on funding. He recommended having a back-up plan. This recommendation is accurate for what is needed, but may not be possible due to the budget.
Denise Stromme stated that at this point, they are not considering what would be possible, only what would be necessary to do a good job in making the GreenPrint effective.
Mike Kennedy will need to have a break-down and a clear list of needs in order to write the memo to the Commissioner's Office regarding the GreenPrint recommendation.
Stage one of the recommendation is already complete.
The first two GreenPrints had two full-time staff dedicated solely to them during their life.
Jeff Lederman stated that the recommendation is missing implementation. He is worried about the implications of dedicating staff. Implementation is a key component and it is missing.
Denise stated that the committee was assigned to marketing and education, not to implementation.
Theresa Gaffey, editor of the GreenPrint and bridging documents, recommends the word "promote" be used in place of "market". During budget cuts, "marketing" is one of the first things cut. Also, rather than saying what will happen if this does not happen, make the argument strong in the beginning to grab their attention right away.
The Commissioner's Office will want a condensed list of "wants" and "why". They may wonder about the involvement of other agencies. This recommendation seems to be focused on the MPCA. Denise will make a list for Mike to include in the memo. But, it is hard to condense the recommendation any further. It was previously seven pages and is down to two and a half.
The MPCA e-newsletter could be used to communicate promotion with staff.
The EEATF is not responsible for what does not get done. They are only to provide the recommendation to the MPCA. Then the Commissioner needs to figure out where cuts would be made. This will change as we learn more about the budget. Making cuts and assigning staff can take place at the same time.
The committee was charged with marketing the education of the GreenPrint, not implementation. They only needed to say what the needs were and not to figure out how to make it happen.
The task of figuring out implementation could be added through a request memo to the Commissioner. An answer could be brought back to the task force by the January meeting if it was decided to make this request.
Or, the task force as a whole could work on the implementation portion, being that the committee completed its task. Because of the timing, and the phase one already being completed, it may be important to approve the recommendation at this point.
Motion: David Weinand moved that the content of the GreenPrint3 Committee's recommendations for marketing and education of the GreenPrint3 is approved as presented; Amy Markle seconded the motion; Jeff Lederman abstained; Motion passed 9-0-1.
Motion: Lee Ann Landstrom moved that a memo be written to the Commissioner to request an expansion of the responsibilities of the EEATF to include recommendations on implementing the GreenPrint3; Patty Born Selly seconded the motion; Jeff Lederman abstained; Motion passed 9-0-1.
ELM Update - Lee Ann Landstrom
Lee Ann reported on who the grants were awarded to.
The MAEE Web site will soon include the results and they want feedback on their applications as to why they were not accepted. The requests totaled $602,741.
Mike spoke with Brinkley Prescott and they are working on developing a report as to what has happened to date. The want feedback as to the process of applying from the people who applied and what they thought. The person hired has a cap on hours. How do we accomplish round two when the current staff person is limited to a number of hours? Starting on how to get into round two and how to evaluate where we are so far.
The money has been allocated for the first round.
Also, the ELM Committee met by phone to discuss the fact that the commissioner resigned and what we would do in terms of the memo we were going to write to the Commissioner and ask for funding for three years to fund thematic ELM RFPs for the coming years.
It was decided to hold off on the memo and we would instead ask the task force as a whole if we can expend the funds through a second grant round with MAEE.
We also discussed the need for a brochure and fact sheet ASAP. Lee Ann reminded us that there is a plan in the MAEE work plan for "marketing materials." Mike indicated that he wanted to get a head start and write some text and that would be presented to the committee for review in January.
In the meantime, Tracy suggested all prepare to come to the next meeting in January prepared with 5 contacts that we can go to and as for resources for the ELM fund.
Pete reminded the task force that the next meeting is January 8, 2009, at the Department of Natural Resources. You will receive instructions on how to get to the room.
Motion: David Weinand moved to adjourn at 3:25 p.m.; Deborah Durkin seconded the motion; Motion passed unanimously 10-0-0.
- For more information, contact:
Environmental Education Advisory Task Force
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Posted: 1/20/09
- Revised: 4/15/09
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