The Learning Ecosystems Northeast (LENE) project connects education partners from across the Northeastern United States to build local learning communities committed to empowering the next generation of climate stewards. In late August, 2022, LENE brought together 69 informal educators, librarians, and classroom teachers from across Maine for a three-day, immersive, professional learning retreat.
Over the course of the retreat, educators participated in a variety of data-rich, climate-focused, connected learning experiences that spanned formal and informal spaces. Educators followed one of several immersive, hands-on tracks led by LENE project partners. The event included presentations from scientists Wayne Esaias, NASA Earth scientist, and David Reidmiller, Director of the Climate Center at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Day three of the retreat featured a special presentation from John Neptune and Tish Carr from Wabanaki Youth in Science on including Indigenous knowledge to enhance learning for Native and non-Native students.
Perhaps most transformative, the retreat separately convened a smaller cohort of lead educators from LENE's Connected Learning Ecosystems to focus on leadership development. Together, LENE project partners and eight lead educators discussed a collective vision for NASA-powered connected learning. This focus on leadership weaved its way throughout the rest of the retreat, with each lead educator stepping further into their roles by welcoming new members, guiding discussions, forging connections, and mapping out next moves for growth and collaboration.
At the end of the retreat, Sherri Calhoun, a teacher from an Ashland District School, stated, “I’m leaving feeling energized, enthusiastic and excited about all of the things I've learned. I’m especially excited to learn about all of the resources at the Maine State Library and what they can and want to do for teachers…I’m going back to Aroostook County looking forward to sharing some of this energy and momentum with the rest of my colleagues.”
The Learning Ecosystems Northeast project is supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AB94A and is part of NASA's Science Activation Portfolio. Learn more about Learning Ecosystems Northeast: https://www.learningecosystemsnortheast.org/