top of page

About EENC

Welcome to the online home of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina!


Our organization grew from the desire of environmental educators across North Carolina to meet and share their experiences, aspirations, and tools. Since its inception in 1990, EENC has grown into something much greater. Our organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit, governed by bylaws that are voted on by our membership, and managed by an all-volunteer board of directors that is elected annually by the members. We represent a network of outstanding environmental educators, individuals, and organizations who work together to strengthen environmental education in our state.  

Our Mission

EENC’s mission is to build connections, provide professional development, and promote excellence for North Carolina's community of environmental educators.

We do this by promoting and facilitating professional development, fostering networking opportunities, and demonstrating high quality environmental education programs and materials.  EENC strives to be a leader in the field of environmental education within North Carolina, the southeast, and the nation.

Mini-grant winner holds up a box turtle while teaching at a senior living facility.
Preschoolers wearing backpacks walk away from camera while on a hike.

Our Vision

EENC envisions a future in which:

  • Individuals across all NC communities are empowered by their knowledge, skills, convictions, and abilities to inspire a just and sustainable world. 

  • Environmental education's substantial societal value is recognized and invested in widely by policymakers, funders, education institutions, and the general public through our advocacy work.

  • EENC is a national model, creating a stronger sense of belonging for educators from all walks of life where varied skills and experiences are celebrated.

Our Values

We’re Stronger Together

Environmental Education is a community for everyone. Regardless of identity, environmental education is for you. We unite our industry through advocacy, access, equity, and sustainability.

Nature Connection is Essential

We believe that humans are rooted in their environment.  Connection to nature is an essential human right that provides a sense of belonging, place, identity, and community.

Learning Lasts a Lifetime

We nurture a growth mindset and cultivate curiosity as teachers and learners.  We invest in evaluation, growth, and responsive change to meet the needs of our expanding community.

Impact Drives Us

We may not have the answers, but together, we can find solutions.  We center research and evaluation to guide data-based advancements and accountability in pursuit of excellence.  We seek meaningful partnerships to foster success for our professions, our students, and the natural world.

Educator holds up a jug with water and a fish while on a boating excursion.

EENC is committed to building authentic and mutual connections. EENC continually seeks new opportunities to work with people and organizations that intentionally represent and are champions for systemic justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Just like nature’s ecosystems, each individual contribution may not be visible but together they uphold valuable knowledge and strength in our communities. 

We believe: 

  • Environmental literacy and mutual respect are inherently linked with environmental and social justice. 

  • Environmental education and resources should be accessible to all communities.

  • Biodiversity is critical to the success of natural spaces, and the diversity of humanity is what makes us stronger.

  • We are never done learning and growing as an organization and as individuals.

Our Affiliations

NAAEE logo.
SEEA logo.

Our Partners

NC Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs logo.
Green Teacher logo.
1% for the Planet logo.
The Outdoor Learning Store logo.
Rethink Outside logo.
Nature for All logo.

Looking for information about
Environmental Education Certification in North Carolina?
That program is administered by our partners at the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs. 

Shared Leadership

EENC has adopted a model grounded in transparent, shared decision-making power among board members and staff members leading different spheres of the work. Our leadership is a collective effort, promoting a resilient and adaptive organizational structure. 


We use a unique decision-making model to guide our shared work. Important decisions may be made among staff, between staff and board members or committees, or at the board level. All staff members report to one another regularly on progress and challenges. Staff serve as liaisons to board committees and routinely communicate with board leaders to plan and implement projects. Team members must be able to self-motivate and take ownership of their individual tasks while contributing effectively to shared goals and initiatives. Ongoing, transparent, frequent communication among team members is integral to this model.

Read our full Shared Leadership Statement:
Explore our Decision Making Map:
Screenshot 2024-03-11 at 10.30.56 AM.png

Strategic Plan

Every three years, the Board of Directors defines our organizational priorities through a strategic plan to help guide our work. EENC's four main focus areas for 2021-2024 are:

  • Advocacy for the Field of Environmental Education

  • Partnerships for Building Capacity to Advance Environmental Education

  • Increase Recognition of EENC as a Go-To Resource for Environmental Educators

  • Build Internal Capacity of the Organization

You can read our full strategic plan here. Learn more about what we do and why we do it by exploring our overall organizational logic model.

Annual Reports

The EENC President generates an annual report each year that describes the organization's activities and growth during their tenure. These reports are available to the membership.  Click on a date below to view the report for that year:

2021     2020     2019   2018    2017    2016    2015    2014    2013

Learn more about our operations and see how we've put previous support into action by reviewing our most recent 990.

2022 Annual Report spread.

Discover our History


In late 1987, Triangle area environmental and teaching professionals met often and regularly at various venues to engage in discussions around the environmental education movement in our state. Members of the focus group included UNC and NCSU professors, school teachers of diverse disciplines, museum curators and interpreters, County and State Parks rangers and naturalists, federal, state and county government agency officials, environmental researchers, electric utility professionals, and environmental policymakers.

Meetings were held "after school" and rooms were sometimes packed with professionals determined to spin a common thread in their efforts to increase environmental awareness and knowledge among the people of North Carolina. In time, interest grew beyond the Triangle, resulting in the creation of a state-wide, membership-driven, 501(c)3 education non-profit organization called Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC). The first board meeting was held at Museum of Life and Science in Durham in October 1990. It was then, and continues to be, the premier environmental education professional organization in our state which connects diverse professionals and organizations to each other through directories, news, regional events, an annual state conference and a coveted awards program.

Just Economics WNC Living Wage Certified Badge.
Candid Platinum Transparency 2023 logo.
bottom of page