Save the Date
Join the Blue Sky Funders Forum, the Maine Environmental Funders Network, and the Maine Philanthropy Center for a virtual convening on September 8, 9, and 10 to learn, network, and collaborate around opportunities to advance safe, meaningful outdoor experiences for all and to rebuild healthier communities.
The program features national convenings on September 8 and 10 between 1pm and 4pm.
On September 9, Maine’s efforts will be highlighted with an interactive virtual gathering that will inform the challenges and inspire the context for success for Maine’s leaders in environmental and outdoor education.
Stay tuned for additional details and registration information. Registration for the forums is free and open to all staff and board members of grantmaking organizations and philanthropy-serving organizations, as well as Blue Sky advisors and invited guests.
What We Are Learning
On June 12th, MPC featured environmental and outdoor education organizations with a short webinar to learn about the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on organizations. With presentations from a number of leaders in the field and a robust discussion afterward, the session provides a good introduction to the challenges of our current context.
Why This Work is Important
Even in Maine, children and youth can feel disconnected with the natural world. The evidence is clear that connecting youth learning to the natural environment has positive impacts.
The impacts of COVID-19 have illustrated the profound inequities that exist in all facets of our lives. Access to nature and quality outdoor education is no different. Everyone deserves the right to spend time outside and to experience the many benefits that nature provides.
The evidence is clear that connecting youth learning to the natural environment has positive impacts. The Children and Nature Network’s research indicates improved outcomes in health and wellbeing and academic performance. Maine has ready access to natural landscapes and a strong network of practitioners who operate in a variety of settings: schools, camps, childcare centers, and in partnership with community-based organizations. Maine’s nature-based programs are supported through volunteers, school budgets, parent-teacher organizations, individuals’ donations, and philanthropic contributions from funders.
Recently, state efforts have garnered national attention. In early 2020, the Pisces Foundation in San Francisco awarded a grant to an alliance of strong Maine organizations working in nature and community-based environmental learning. The award will further the capacity to generate a platform for systems-wide change in Maine, focusing on strengthening professional development for the field, and in building capacity within established networks.