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The Case for IdEEA

Tate Mason

Director of the World Center for Birds of Prey

Tyler explores the ecosystem of his back yard

It’s time for a little introspection, both for me and for our esteemed organization. I joined IdEEA after attending our statewide conference in 2015. I was in the process of changing my career trajectory from Bird Scientist to Bird Educator (someone who educates people about birds), and IdEEA provided a wealth of knowledge and contacts for someone starting out in Environmental Education. As a field trip provider at the World Center for Birds of Prey, I found the connections to classroom teachers to be extremely valuable. I learned how to create an exciting field trip that builds upon what students are already learning. I also became allied with many EE providers across our state. From there we spawned all sorts of projects, improved habitats, and increased accessibility to the outdoors. Through these efforts, we are inspiring people to environmental stewardship. Environmental Education is much more than teaching people about the environment, it is about informing values. It is about creating a society where people don’t leave dirty diapers in campsite fire rings.

Let’s follow the trajectory of a young student, let’s say his name is Tyler.

Tyler gets the basics of life through his parents (the most important EE providers). Through early childhood education, Tyler learns about the diversity of life and why it is deserving of respect. Throughout his school years he has wonderful teachers that are knowledgeable and educated about science and the environment. Tyler goes on various field trips during his formative years and attends a few camps. On field trips, he has the opportunity to experience things he was first introduced to in the classroom. In the classroom, he begins to connect the dots, and his curiosity is further piqued. Tyler is not intimidated by biology, that’s just the study of life, and life is fascinating! Tyler grows up, has children, and he chooses not to leave dirty diapers in campsite fire rings.

Each of us has a cumulative effect on the next generation. We (IdEEA members) are shining examples of informed decision makers looking to make the world a healthier place for all of its inhabitants. We are doing this across Idaho, in classrooms and campsites, on field trips and on river trips. IdEEA is our opportunity to work together intentionally. As I send my 6 year old son, Tyler, into the world, I will rely on you to build upon the foundation I’ve started. And I want to expand on what you teach Tyler when he’s with you. IdEEA provides the opportunity for us to learn from each other. We’re all in this together!


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