Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education


​The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education was established in 1990 through the merger of two existing professional organizations: Michigan Environmental Education Association begun in 1968, and Michigan Outdoor Education Association which began about 1955. MAEOE continues to serve as a strong voice for environmental and outdoor education in Michigan.

Don Maxwell was elected the first president and Dave Chapman was the first Vice President of the newly established Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education. It was the vice-president’s job to run the first conference under the new organization and prepare to step in to the presidency after two years. However, Don Maxwell unexpectedly resigned as MAEOE’s president that first year due to a job offer in Colorado, so Dave Chapman took over as MAEOE’s President, as well as, conference organizer and newsletter editor! (Dave Chapman is still actively involved with MAEOE, as well as, the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association, and teaches high school near Lansing, MI)

MAEOE was officially incorporated July 1, 1987, and the first conference was held in April of 1988. It is important to acknowledge that our environmental and outdoor education roots go much deeper, as MAEOE is a continuation of two previous organizations that merged in 1987. The Michigan Environmental Education Association was started in 1968 (two years before the first Earth Day!), springing from discussions that started in 1964. The Michigan Outdoor Education Association started in the 1950's! Those groups (our heritage) can claim the "father of environmental education" (Dr. Bill Stapp) and the "father of school camping" (Dr. Julian Smith), respectively. It is clear that Michigan and MAEOE have a 50+ year history supporting, promoting, and engaging in environmental and outdoor education!

MAEOE has had limited focus on urban environmental education over the years, but that is changing. In November 1980, the Michigan Environmental Education Association published a special 32-page edition of our newsletter focused on the urban environment and urban EE called "Cities: Problems & Promise." In October 1982, MEEA held its conference at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti with a dual focus on urban EE and arts in EE. MAEOE’s 2009 conference at University of Michigan Dearborn campus and the 2011 conference in Bay City both focused on urban environmental education strategies and programs. MAEOE has been a partner in grants received from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium ($10,000), USDA Forest Service Challenge Cost-Share Program ($15,000), and the USDA Forest Service Pass-Through Program ($80,000), whose primary focus is the delivery of environmental education teacher professional development and student programs in environmental education. 

- Dave Chapman (2009) & Joan Chadde (2012)