The mission of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) is to serve as the statewide network and advocate for professionals who are educating Michigan citizens toward environmental literacy, stewardship and outdoor recreation. Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a non-profit 501 © 3 membership-based organization led by a Board of Directors.
The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) was established in 1987 through the merger of two existing professional organizations: Michigan Environmental Education Association begun in 1968, and Michigan Outdoor Education Association which began about 1955.
Both MAEOE’s predecessors were pioneers in EE and OE. MAEOE’s two highest awards are named after the two men that were recognized nationally for their achievements. Dr Bill Stapp was known as the father of environmental education and Dr. Julian Smith as the father of school camping.
Since MAEOE was officially incorporated July 1, 1987, the organization has strived to lead professionals from both environmental and outdoor education to a network which encompasses a vision for both. Perhaps MAEOE’s greatest strength is its statewide membership of formal and non-formal educators who strive to support programs, materials and individuals that promote environmental literacy.
Some of MAEOE’s major accomplishments are as follows:
- Hosts an annual professional development conference - since 1987.
- Launched the Environmental Educator Certification (EEC) program in 2015.
- Recognizes peers in EE and OE with annual awards.
- Sponsor of Project WILD in Michigan and Flying WILD.
- Partnered with the DEQ in the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS) Project in 2006.
- Researched and published Caring About the Future (2003), a guide which demonstrates how to address Michigan curriculum benchmarks using environmental education-themed activities.
- Instrumental in 1994 Environmental Education Act that established a state environmental education coordinator position within the DEQ.
What is Environmental Literacy?
Environmental Literacy can be defined as: possessing the basic ecological awareness, understanding and skill to have the ability to make informed decisions and to choose actions that lead to the least amount of detrimental effects on the environment.
An environmentally literate person has:
-An awareness and concern about the total environment.
-Possess the knowledge necessary to understand both the environmental as a system and the role humans play as a component of the system.
-Perceives how the development of human technology has the ability to degrade and/or protect the environment.
-Applies their awareness and knowledge in assessing the environmental consequences of their actions, individually and collectively, before and after actions are taken, and resolves problems caused their own actions or the actions of others.