From Antioch University Seattle’s MA in Education with Urban Environmental Education (UEE) Program’s Alumni Journal.
I am the Programs Coordinator for the Environmental Science Center (ESC) at Selhurst Park in Burien, a bit south of Seattle. I coordinate field trips for classes into local natural areas, primarily beaches and salmon streams. I make sure curriculum, equipment, and support are available for our team of naturalists who take students out of doors. Our goals are to inspire and foster environmental stewardship actions for all program participants, and to offer knowledge and resources for communities to deepen their relationship with their local environment.
The UEE cohort I was a part of was very important to me while I was in the program. Learning and growing with a diverse group of graduate students over a year was amazing. The cohort members and professors have created a dynamic network of professional contacts in the PNW, increasing my network and colleagues. I continue to be part of a strong learning community that supports my growth and work.
In the UEE Race and Equity class, one activity was to create and present an elevator speech about something that we were concerned about – creating a passionate argument for something that was personally important. I was challenged to identify, understand and explain an issue in a condensed and articulate way. It has helped me think deeply about issues of systemic racism and environmental justice, and their relationship to the curriculum at ESC.
Putting together that elevator speech made me better at articulating to coworkers what I was seeing and feeling about the way we were doing things. The UEE program provided the information, the perspective, and the experiences to share and help push people forward in understanding antiracist thinking and action.
My practicum at Tiny Trees (an outdoor preschool organization), which I loved, helped me understand how a nonprofit work behind the scenes and to better understand the administrative activities that make programs work. What I got out of the UEE practicum was understanding and practice at helping nonprofit organizations go through a transition toward antiracist action, because I got to be directly involved in applying antiracist practices to the workings of the organization. Learnings from the practicum will carry me into future positions: knowing how and why white supremacist and racist values and behavior need to change and how to implement that change.