History of EEA
The History of Environmental Education in Georgia
 
1974   
Oatland Island Education Center is established by the Savannah-Chatham County School System as the first environmental education center established by a public school system in Georgia.
 
1976   
The Chattahoochee Nature Center, the state's first non-profit nature center, opens its doors to the public.
 
1979         
4-H starts an environmental education program at Rock Eagle 4-H Center and later opens the Wahsega, Jekyll, Burton, and Fortson Centers.
 
1990        (May 4th)
The Georgia Environmental Education Council is created after the passage of House Bill 1412. Council members are appointed by Governor Zell Miller. 
 
1992    (November 19th)
The Georgia Environmental Education Council changes its name to the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia. 
 
EEA is founded as a self-governed, non-profit organization that promotes communication and education among professionals in the field of environmental education in Georgia. 
 
1994
EEA of GA holds its first annual conference in September at the Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center in Tocca, GA.
 
1995
Several EEA board members participated in a North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)-sponsored workshop on Strategic Planning at the annual conference in Portland, Maine. This came at a crucial time in the organization's development, from which a committee and committee structure for the board and general membership was established.  
 
The EEA board of directors decided that officers will serve two year terms to maintain continuity in leadership.
 
1996   
The Outdoor Classroom Council is created to assist organizations and individuals with an interest in the design, development, maintenance and use of outdoor classrooms.

Atlanta is chosen as the site for the 1998 North American Association for Environmental Education.
 
1997   
The OCC holds its first Symposium at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
 
1998  
The Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia begins looking at establishing a state environmental education office and training certification program. In 1998, EEA partnered with NAAEE on its 27th annual conference in Atlanta. September 6 is designated by Governor Zell Miller as Environmental Education Awareness Day in Georgia.

1999   
The Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia published The Georgia Environmental Education Teacher Resource Guide and distributed it to all public and private schools.
 
Elachee Nature Science Center becomes the first environmental education center in the Southeast to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
 
2000
The Monarchs Across Georgia (MAG) committee was formed. They adapted Dr. Karen Oberhauser's Monarchs in the Classroom program to offer Professional Learning workshops for teachers throughout the state.
 
2001   
EEA’s Annual Conference is planned in conjunction with some of the state’s major EE-providers: EPD: GA Project WET and Ga. Adopt-A-Stream, Wildlife Resources: GA Project WILD, Ga. Project Learning Tree, The Georgia Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation.
 
The tradition of the “Buzzard” conference scavenger hunt began. 
 
Georgia is selected as a SEER state (State Education and Environmental Roundtable) by noted researcher Dr. Gerald Lieberman. 
 
2002            
EEA partnered with the Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Department of Community Affairs' Keep Georgia Beautiful program, and Department of Education's Georgia Learning Connections program to launch the online guide to Environmental Education in Georgia (http://www.eeingeorgia.org/). 
 
EEA partnered with the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and University of Georgia to establish Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning (EIC), a K-12th grade school improvement program.

EEA partnered with The University of Georgia Environmental Health Science Department others to launch the “Georgia Project for Excellence in Environmental Education” - a certification program for environmental educators, based on NAAEE’s Guidelines for Excellence. EE Certification is a voluntary program. To become certified, participants complete six core classes within a three-year timeframe followed by a 40-hour final project. To maintain their certification, environmental educators complete one hundred (100) hours of continuing education every five years in approved courses/workshops/conferences.
2003            
EEA is presented the ‘Outstanding Affiliate Organization’ award by NAAEE.
EEA distributed the updated Directory of Georgia Environmental Education Providers to every school (K-12) in Georgia in the fall of 2003. Printed versions of the directories were delivered to elementary, middle, and independent schools and CD versions were sent to high schools.

A silent auction was initiated for the purpose of raising money to provide conference scholarships.
2004            
EEA was recognized on the Floor of the Georgia House of Representative. Governor Sonny Perdue signed a Proclamation declaring March 12th, 2004 Environmental Education Day in Georgia.
EEA is presented the Award of Merit by the Garden Club of GA.
2005
The EEA board convened a strategic planning meeting to look at what had been accomplished and provide direction for the future.

2006
EEA finalized and adopted a new strategic plan.
EEA developed and adopted a policy concerning partnerships with outside organizations.
EEA investigated and acquired Director’s and Officer’s insurance for the board of directors.
EEA contracted with a conference registrar and hired a bookkeeper to assist with the duties of Treasurer.

2007
EEA redesigned the organization's website.
EEA formed a steering committee to investigate the feasibility/interest of a certification program for Georgia educators. Based on feedback, EEA created Advanced Training for Environmental Education (ATEEG) in Georgia Project. The committee secured a grant from NAAEE to begin the process of developing program for accreditation.
 
2008                                                                                                                                   
The ATEEG Committee secured a second grant from NAAEE to continue developing the certification program and hold pilot classes.

2009
The ATEEG committee held certification pilot classes and worked to finalize the certification program with NAAEE. 
The Board of Directors drafted a job description for an Executive Director to handle EEA business and the ATEEG.  The position was posted.

2010
An Executive Director was hired, Paul McClendon.  ATEEG was approved by NAAEE and the first classes were announced and held.
The member services committee began holding regular events for EEA members and to bring other people into EEA.
The Petey Giroux Dragonfly Grant for EE and the Arts was initiated and the first award was given. This award honors Petey's fabulous ability to bring the arts into her teaching of EE and her willingness to share with other environmental educators.  The winners receive up to a $1000 mini-grant for a project.
The EEA strategic plan was revisited. Each committee completed their own strategic plan and presented it to the Board.
The Outdoor Classroom Council (OCC) changed their name and logo to the Council of Outdoor Learning (COOL), updated their logo, and plans were made to revise the EEA logo.

2011
EEA changed the logo.
A new website was launched.
Board reporting and the financial code system were updated to better track on what and how EEA spends its money.
ATEEG graduated 4 certified environmental educators.
The First Georgia Naturalist Rally was organized.

 

2012
ATEEG received final accreditation by NAAEE (the first in the country) and graduated 1 certified environmental educator.
EEA partnered with the Southeast Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA) to receive an EPA Grant to implement a small competitive grants program.

2013
ATEEG graduated 6 certified environmental educators and received grants from the DNR Foundation and TERN.
MAG received money to give out grants for pollinator gardens.
COOL Outreach gave out two grants for school outdoor learning center projects.

2017
EEA hosted the Southeast Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA) Conference.



EEA Conference Locations
1994     Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center, Toccoa, GA
1995     Outdoor Activity Center, Atlanta, GA
1996     Oatland Island Education Center, Savannah , GA
1997     Wahsega 4-H Center, Dahlonega, GA
1998     Oatland Island Education Center, Savannah, GA
1999     University of GA Center for Continuing Education, Athens, GA
2000     Gainesville College, Oakwood, GA
2001     Rivertown Inn, Columbus, GA
2002     Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA
2003     Coastal Georgia Center, Savannah, GA
2004     Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park at Lake Blackshear, Cordele, GA
2005     Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA
2006     Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center, Norcross, GA
2007     Jekyll Island Convention Center, Jekyll Island, GA
2008     Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA
2009     University of GA Conference Center, Tifton, GA
2010     Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 
2011     Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
2012     Southwest Fulton Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
2013     The Classic Center, Athens, GA
2014     Rock Eagle 4-H Center, Eatonton, GA
2015     Rock Eagle 4-H Center, Eatonton, GA
2016     Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford, GA
2017     Environmental & Heritage Center, Buford, GA (Southeast Environmental Education Alliance Annual Conference)

EEA Past Presidents
1994-1995 Buddy Spencer, Fulton County Parks
1995-1996 Jerry Hightower, National Park Service
1997-1998 Marcia Daniels, Reynolds Nature Preserve
1998-2000 Deron Davis, Dunwoody Nature Center
2000-2003 Peter Gordon, Elachee Nature Center
2003-2004 Petey Giroux, Project WET, Dept. of Natural Resources
2004-2005 Richard Osorio, University of Georgia
2005-2006 Anne Shenk, State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2006-2007 Kim Morris-Zarneke, Georgia Aquarium
2007-2008 Walter Lane, GA DNR Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
2008 - 2009 Donna Stewart, Jekyll Island 4H Center
2009-2010 Lisa Weinstein, GA DNR Nongame Conservation Section
2010-2011 David Hedgepeth, Valdosta State
2011-2012 Jennifer McCoy, Cobb County Water
2012-2013 Laura Aikens, Ecological Solutions
2013-2014 Kris Irwin, UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
2014-2016 Robby Astrove, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve
2016-2017 Cora Keber, The State Botanical Garden of Georgia