Being on any Board of Directors is not an easy task. Anyone that has done it will tell you that. But for me one of the most difficult tasks with being on the WAEE Board (which is probably the same for the Boards of other member organizations) is making sure that the membership is aware of what the Board is up to and even just who the heck we are!!
SO, I thought it would be nice to take a little time on this space every once in a while to get to know a Board member. We will share our interests, our professional past, our hobbies, our career goals and, well, pretty much anything we feel like telling you all!!
And since I am the 2012 Chair, and it was my idea, I thought I better go first.
Hello WAEE Members! My name is Abbie Enlund and I am the WAEE Board of Directors Chair for 2012. Some of you may know me as the past WAEE Administrator which I did for just a short time starting back in 2007. When we moved to Madison in 2009 I had to hand over a job that I loved to Jodi (who is doing a much better job than I ever did!!). Others of you may know me from being a graduate student at UWSP in the Environmental Education and Interpretation program or as a graduate assistant at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station. And maybe a few of you know me through being a naturalist at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, although I do not get to do this as much as I would like.
Right now my focus in life (besides being completely devoted to WAEE!) is on my family. I have two daughters, Samantha, 4, and Avery, 2. They are my world. I am a stay at home mom and while some days I would give anything to go back to work most days I feel so blessed and honored that I get to spend my time with the two of them.
It is because of my daughters that I have become SO passionate lately about early childhood environmental education. I did my graduate thesis on preschool-aged family EE programs and realized (at the time) there was just not that much out there for the really little kids. More programs are popping up all over the place which is awesome, but the amount of resources for teachers and parents is still very limited. To try and do my very small part to improve that I write a blog called Greening Sam and Avery that is all about how I share my love for nature with my girls. We read nature themed books, do craft projects, share nature related games, activities, songs and movies. As a family we hike, camp, backpack and boat, and then share our experiences. I tell what works, what doesn’t, how to expand it for older kids or even take it into a classroom. Not every post is that in-depth and some are simply photos from our latest outdoor adventure, but every post has some idea of how to get your preschool or younger aged kids more connected to nature.
This past year I have also been teaching at my daughter’s preschool about twice a month. I lead environmental education programs for 30 minutes in the preschool room and two 4K rooms. I have created a whole little mini-curriculum for the school based on four main topics; plants, animals, birds and insects. It has been really fun getting back into program development (which I LOVE!) and then of course being around all the little ones as they learn some great new stuff is very fun too.
At home I have recently become a gardener. We have a vegetable garden and just this year have added a second area for strawberries. I have learned the art of freezing, making jams and preserving food. I LOVE it! Being able to go to the freezer and pull out food that I grew myself is an awesome feeling. And it has been one of the best teaching tools and outdoor play spaces for me and the girls.
So, in a nutshell (albeit a very long nutshell!) that is me. I am honored to be on the WAEE Board and truly hope that I can do some great work for the organization.
I would love to hear who is out there checking in on this little piece of the online world. Leave me a comment to let me know you have stopped by.