Sylvia Hadnot Image

An Interview with UEE Alum Sylvia Hadnot

From Antioch University Seattle’s MA in Education with Urban Environmental Education (UEE) Program’s Alumni Journal.

I’m working as a professional development facilitator out of a program called Sound Discipline. I work with K-12 teachers in South Seattle, where the population is very diverse and full of BIPOC identifying students. We offer social and emotional training to teachers as they struggle to provide support for their students online. I get to inject some ideas about equitable educational practice as well, like fair discipline techniques to interrupt the school to prison pipeline for young men of color. I work with administrators to identify the blockages or barriers for success and advocate for students with different identities and experiences.

I’m also working for E3 Washington. E3 is the state’s association for Environmental and Sustainability educators and an affiliate of the North American Association of Environmental Education. E3 mostly communicates about environmental opportunities, issues and creates communities of action for environmental organizations in the state. We hold conferences and summits that bring people together. We work with the Governor’s office and the legislature to advocate for and get funding for environmental education. Last year we worked to get funding for climate science in schools and won $6 million to support teachers bringing climate science into classrooms across the State.

One big learning was the understanding of systems out of the Urban Ecology classes. Weston’s classes broke my conception of ‘environment’ being something separate from human construction in cities. Ecological systems run through everything…they impact everything that we do, how we eat, what we drink, how we move through space, what we interact with every day.

The diversity of the cohort was amazing. I have kept up most of those relationships, kept our communication active. We all mingle within the workplace, support each other and interact socially.

When one internalizes the unfair or oppressive way of treating people, it comes out in behaviors that assume and restrict authentic relationships or my freedom of expression or action.

We learn the wrong things and have to relearn the right things. We’ve been taught by the best and socialized to need somebody else to tell us what to do. I want to give people the power to choose their own way and the resources to meet their ideal. I’m working to show people that social and racial justice and environmental justice are the same thing…if we silo them it sucks out the energy to make change. I’ve been focusing on emotional learning so each student can find their core and the deep relationships that we have with each other and the environment. Living beings want to be in the right relationship with each other…so we have to follow the system of biodiversity and ecological flourishing within our communities.

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Cynthia Thomashow

Cynthia Thomashow

Cynthia Thomashow was the Founding Director and is now the Academic Director of the graduate program in Urban Environmental Education at Antioch University Seattle.

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