Giving Compass' Take:

• Environmental educators are starting to think about how to host outdoor programs responsibly in the wake of COVID-19. 

• How can donors help strengthen environmental education programs so that educators can have the resources they need during pandemic?

• Read about the importance of access to environmental education. 

It is no surprise that nothing will be the same in the wake of current events. We are challenged with new information every day that forces us to rethink our next move. Some choices are naturally harder than others. As an educator, I’ve developed a strong sense of workplace flexibility that has translated well into the world that we are currently living in, but this begets a new question that has never really crossed my mind before: is the workplace itself flexible? I’m used to adapting to whatever situation is thrown at me from anyone at just about any angle, but the places I’ve worked were constant and never really needed to make split-second changes as an entire organization.

Many facilities are most comfortable with and well-equipped to handle on-site programming. Conversations are starting about how to begin again and there are a lot of ideas floating around. Some places are talking about limiting group visits to one a day, with an additional limitation on the number of participants. Some places are talking about moving all facility admission to a reservation-only system, which would also then place a limitation on participants. There’s also talk about having guided flows to follow, touch-free encounters or experiences, setting up ropes or other barriers and markings to maintain distancing protocols, and requiring masks and/or gloves for admission.

One of the more interesting thoughts I’ve come across is the idea of moving to (or focusing more heavily on) outreach programming. The heart of the idea is that it is easier to get one or two staff members to follow guidelines at the facility they are visiting as opposed to expecting all members of a group (any size, really) to follow guidelines at their facility.

Read the full article about environmental education in the wake of COVID-19 by Erin Stimer at NAAEE.