Minnesota Environmental Education Leadership Initiative
3. Professional community
The primary focus of this program is community aspects of leadership development.
Leadership as a field of study has been around for many years. The majority of the theories and applications of leadership development focus on the individual and organization. Our vision is to support through institutional and individual approaches the sustained growth of environmental education community leaders who are prepared to encourage a strong and viable profession into the 21st century.
A Community Approach to Statewide LeadershipA lack of formalized leadership development for environmental educators challenges our sustainability as a professional community. Objective and imaginative visioning is exponentially tougher with fewer leaders engaged. Likewise, community members outside of the leadership circle may be hard-pressed to communicate their good ideas. Achieving our broad goals for EE like improving political visibility, our position in school curricula, generating new funding streams, and communicating the value of our work require a lot of creative savvy and collective hard-work. Simply, there is more leadership work than leaders to meet the need, resulting in burnout. In the words of Peter Drucker: "The lessons are unambiguous. The first is that there may be 'born leaders,' but there surely are far too few to depend on them."
We hope the Minnesota environmental education community embraces this initiative to gain skill and knowledge, to take part in leading our citizens and visitors into the 21st Century. We hope to involve all of our diverse community members in this initiative: foundations that fund EE efforts; non-profit and other organizations who teach youth and adult EE programs; federal, state, tribal, municipal, county, and regional government organizations who support EE through programming, policy, and partnerships; higher education faculty who research and train EE professionals; and school teachers who provide EE for Minnesota students.
Needs AssessmentThe University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency conducted a needs assessment of Minnesota's environmental education community. This community is defined as "those who have a shared goal of delivering quality, balanced environmental education effectively in the state of Minnesota." This can include foundation funders, program managers and administrators, board members, various levels of government agents, naturalists, teachers, and non-formal educators. To our knowledge, this has never been done in the United States on a statewide level.
The results suggest relative agreement among members of Minnesota's EE community, although there are some elements that are perceived as limiting purposeful group action.
We look forward to building upon this cutting edge work.
Learning OpportunitiesThere are several professional development opportunities for you to learn more about effective leadership in the environmental education community. These program offerings can be guest speakers, discussion sessions, workshops, cohort learning groups, and other opportunities. Discussion sessions are short group dialogs (usually two hours) that focus on a specific topic of interest to our community; learning typically takes place through one-on-one interactions and small group work. Workshops are typically 3/4 or full day activities designed to teach you skills to apply in your personal leadership and workplace. Guest speakers are invited to speak about leadership issues in the environmental education arena and vary in length. Cohort learning groups help achieve sustained action in our environmental education community and can be developed for small and large groups of professionals who meet a consistent basis to co-learn. By following the links below you can learn about opportunities for developing your leadership skills and knowledge:
Upcoming EventsThere are no events at this time. Please check back later.
Mike Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for more information about MEELI.
Nathan Meyer (email@example.com), University of Minnesota Extension, for more information about the survey "Analyzing Leadership Elements in the Minnesota Environmental Education Community."
Barbara Radke (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of Minnesota Extension, for more information about leadership tools and leadership development process design.
Denise Stromme (email@example.com), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for more information about the Minnesota Environmental Education Leadership Summit.
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