The Historical Timeline of the
Loudoun Environmental Stewardship Alliance
From April, 2007 to the Present
Loudoun Environmental Education Alliance
15th Anniversary Year
The following monthly summaries show the progress from individual interests to first discussions, to actual organization formulation, committee appointment, goals and mission set, planned projects, communication tools and partnerships.
In 2007, two Loudoun County environmentalists began discussing how to unite all of the environmental organizations in the county. Those two were, Darrell Schwalm with the Loudoun Watershed Watch and Phil Daley, with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Their discussions led to a meeting with the current LCPS Science Department supervisor, Odette Scovel. It was Odette who arranged for the initial meeting at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, April 2007.
From this initial meeting came the selection of the first chairperson Bruce McGranahan, Environmental Program Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Planning. A steering committee was formed to develop a concept, mission, and goals including the LESA logo posted above. It was titled the Loudoun Environmental Education Coalition Steering Committee. Two of those members are current LEEA members; Gem Bingol, Field Officer, Piedmont Environmental Council and Miriam Westervelt, Teacher Naturalist, Smithsonian Institution.
Invitations were sent out to non-profits, government agencies and several commercial companies involved with education and environmental issues at that time. The initial thought was to propose a document to aid teachers, in getting to know who and what was available to help them in their classroom projects and after school clubs.
July 2007 the steering committee discussed possible organization names. At the time the group was referred to as a coalition. Discussions focused on who to invite to the September meeting outside of the environmental organizations. The September meeting agenda would discuss naming the organization, the mission statement and sharing of ideas for the future.
September 6, 2007. The new organization logo designs were shared with the title Loudoun Environmental Stewardship Alliance. Other items of discussion centered around goals and mission statement, website design and Webmaster, calendar draft, and the
EE Provider Booklet (future LESA Resource Guide, and now the LEEA Resource Guide) and a power point presentation for the inaugural September 27 kickoff meeting.
September 27th meeting was the inaugural kickoff with invited organizations, non-profits, government agencies, and commercial companies involved in environmental education and issues. The initial goal was to develop a document to aid teachers in getting to know who and what is available to help with their projects or school garden clubs.
Several projects were outlined that included EE teacher workshops, EE Fair, establishing a web site, development of a organization resource guide, family stream day, Arbor Day, Keep Loudoun Beautiful, Lincoln Elementary School Green/Health Fair, and the Nova Geocache Association with their Beaver Dam Reservoir Clean Up, high school Science Fair. Two of the LESA members served as Judges to the Science Fair, and a planned team building event slated for May, 2008.
The first LESA committees to be formed included Outreach, Publicity, Membership, and Partnerships. Partners included Luck Stone, Adventure Links, Virginia Naturally for a possible MWEE watershed event, local Girl Scouts and 4-H. The first web domain was established with LoudounNature.org .
November 2007. resulted in discussions about the resource guide, electronic newsletter possibility, how to best communicate to members and partners, opportunities with Virginia Naturally for possible web page with them, software partnering for membership, list serves and Yahoo groups. Additional discussion about above listed events, further progress on a resource booklet and whether to do hardcopy or electronic versions.
Many questions were raised on all current planned and projected events and communications. Of particular note was discussion about NEST, Virginia Naturally grant opportunity and whether to, and how to support plastic recycling with the western school (Lincoln Elementary School).
December 2007. finalized the title, Loudoun Environmental Education Resource Guide. But the organization title was LESA. The Guide would be electronic and updated quarterly. Organizations filled out a form, listing the information they wished to appear in the Guide. Other outreach opportunities included Roots and Shoots (Jane Goodall Foundation), possible Boy Scout merit badge opportunities, and outreach to 4-H.
More discussions were held on the potential projects listed above. One such discussion was about an annual conference, or as an every-other-year event. A future meeting schedule with locations was posted.
January 2007. covered the completion of the Resource Guide, organization and subcommittee structure, a tri-fold brochure and web domain registration for LoudounNature.org. It was agreed that LESA was support Arbor Day, and the annual flower and garden show as an opportunity to display the LESA brochure.
The initial Loudoun County Teacher Training was scheduled for June 20th at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, and a second training in August at Claude Moore Park. The EE Fair was slated for May at Rust Sanctuary, with tabletop displays for organizations. The High School Science Fair was in mid- March. LESA partners to donate small items toward the LESA Award and to create interest in the teacher/student awards at Rust Sanctuary in May. More discussion on the proposed annual conference in fall 2008.
February 2008.minutes reported the new LESA Resource Booklet being distributed, web site proceeding with Network Solutions, Rust Spring Picnic, Beaverdam Reservoir Clean Up, Girl Scouts Global Think Day, partnership for the Water Drop Patch Program and Earth Day at Lincoln Elementary School.
March 2008, with the steering committee members now on the Yahoo group for communications. Adventure Links team building event was scheduled for May 17. The LESA logo was still being finalized. More monies were needed to cover the cost of the web site.
The Arbor Day event had four stations set, with four more hoped for. A master template for the Family Stream Day passport, banner and poster was planned. The Teacher Workshop was scheduled for June 20 after school at Banshee Reeks. Time slots were planned for the workshop and a presentations chart based on elementary, middle/high for both inside and outside.
More discussion on whether a MWEE grant was expected from Virginia Naturally. The Audubon Naturalist Society would host a Conservation Celebration for April 27. Keep Loudoun Beautiful had two clean up events for their April KLB Clean Up Month. April 12 was the Girl Scout Green/Health Fair at Claude Moore Park Rec Center. April 18 was Lincoln Elementary school Earth Day Celebration. April 20, NOVA Geocache Association hosted a cleanup at Beaver Dam Reservoir.
May 2008. preparing the testimony to BOS on importance of EE in LoCo and raise awareness to them of the LESA group. Drafting teacher building workshops included a presentation called classroom in a bucket, and information on the MWEE grant fund allocations, website finalized.
KLB and ANS agree to act as financial agents with grant funds. Brainstorming session to discuss flyer in school book bags with affiliation with parks and rec, PTO and PTA, earth day or Nature Day date, eco scavenger hunt and eco race, passport program, email alerts, teacher workshops, Arbor Day participation, environmental awards and EE resource booklet updates by June.
June 2008 focused on outreach, publicity, EE workshops, MWEE grant funding, interactive website, poster campaign, passport and BOS testimony.
November 2008 agenda continued discussions from the June 2008 meeting, along with the Family Stream Day debriefing.
December 2008 discussed a possible desk calendar using Family Stream Day artwork from the remaining MWEE grant funds. The Marcia Sward Memorial Award could be handed out at one of the events recognizing teachers.
The Living Healthy/Living Green Fair, March 2009 at the Claude Moore Recreation Center, focusing on energy conservation around the home. Organizers working with Heritage Farm and Virginia Tech Extension Office on topics.
BOS earth day resolution at the Broadlands environmental center. Earth Day event to be held at the farm behind Clyde’s Restaurant, Broadlands. Possible tree planting event with trees donated to HOA’s from the Loudoun Soil & Water Conservation District. Steering committee sought for earth day preparations. Earth Day passport review continued.
January 2009 continued discussion and plans for Earth Day event, LESA Passport and the Marcia Sward Award.
February 2009 call for organizations to register for Earth Day. Fundraiser idea to approach restaurants to commit 1% to 5% of sales going to Earth Day Loudoun in exchange for free advertising their restaurant. Online passport discussion continues. Healthy Living/ Green Fair canceled for this year.
March 2009 continued Broadlands Earth Day plans and preparations, passport. The Science Fair scheduled for March 19. Discussion of a possible Earth Day fundraiser for LESA, with participating restaurants. Participating LESA organizations sign up by March 31. American Flatbread sponsors Earth Day with a $5 off every meal on April 22nd, with monies going toward Earth Day funding and LESA passport. Funds to go to ANS.
Continued discussion on passport, gift bags, science fair and Marcia Sward award postponed until the fall. Earth Day events and organization plans posted to website. Other discussion on a possible facebook page.
April 2009. Hayden Mathews agrees to co-chair with Bruce McGranahan. Continued discussions on Earth Day, LESA table, passport, restaurant fundraiser, website and google calendar linkage, and Virginia Naturally grant. Status report on the grant, family stream day 2011, resource guide downloadable as a pdf file from the website.
June 2009. Continued discussion of the LESA website, grants, Family Stream Day 2011, with the next meeting slated for September 2011.
No more minutes available from June 2009 – November 2012.
January 2013. Agenda items included Family Stream Day 2013, February social network event at the Loudoun Water conference room, grants subcommittee work. Suzie Brown new LESA co-chair with Hayden Mathews. Revised mission statement, January 2013. Final Family Stream Day 2012 poster, poem, photography and essay contest information.
November 2013. Agenda included Family Stream Day 2013 ideas, grant ideas, teacher workshop(s), and other interested co-chair nominees.
Spring 2014 LESA Sponsored Teacher Workshops. Seven evening workshops in February and March. Location at Frederick Douglass Elementary School with continuing education credits through LCPS; River Stories (Hayden Mathews); LSWCD (Suzie Brown); ANS Green Kids (Susanne Ortmann); Nature Generation (Amy Ware); Claude Moore Park (Dodie Lewis/ Bobby Colicci); Piedmont Environmental Council (Gem Bingol).
Founding members Phil Daley and Gem Bingol continued to attend monthly meetings. The ability to get communications to teachers needed to go through mailings to school principals, who did not always pass on the information to their appropriate school staff. At this time a new independent grassroots school garden club teacher group was formed by elementary school teacher, Mark Pankau. The group was called the Loudoun G.R.E.E.N.etwork (Great Environmental Educators Network).
Now there was a way of getting information directly to the school club teachers. With the advancement of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, organizations began to share their information more readily. Mark began attending the then LESA monthly meetings, encouraging organizations to share their planned events to send to the GREENetwork. It later grew to include schools in the counties north and west of Loudoun County.
The name changed to the Northwest Virginia Regional GREENetwork, and continued to be the sole way of connecting with LCPS school garden club teachers, interested administrators and other related individuals. As recently as 2020 there has been cooperation from the LCPS Science Office to also share information to all school science teachers.
May 2015. Discussion about LESA document storage; Drop Box for storage but not retrieval, google drive too complex, Yahoo still the best arrangement (yahoo group for current membership and committee emails). Claude Moore Park selected as this year’s site for Family Stream Day, October 18th. Loudounnature.org site needs updating.
New LESA members from Franklin Park (Sarah Delise), Banshee Reeks/Bolen Park, Morven Park (Jackie Wright), Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (Sarah Steadman).
Subcommittees for LESA workshops, Gants, Family Stream Day, Nature Stewardship Day.
June 2015. Decision to store old LESA documents on the Yahoo group site confirmed.
Family Stream Day set for Claude Moore Park, October 18th. Loudounnature.org website discussion continued. Nature Stewardship Day discussed as three separate days spread over the year.
July 2015. Invitations to be sent to new member prospects to join. Family Stream Day and Nature Stewardship Day discussion continue. Further discussions on the Loudounnature.org website and payment of ISP domain name due by September. Discussions on publicity for events upcoming. Teacher Workshops/LESA Expo committee formed.
August 2015. LESA membership discussed with possible organization invites. Discussions continued on plans for Family Stream Day, Nature Stewardship Day and costs for the
Loudounnature.org site. Publicity about LESA for news with Leesburg Today and Ashburn Patch sites. Create a LESA facebook page. Teacher workshop committee begins planning.
September 2015. Continued discussions about FSD, LSD, NSD, website donations, PEC/LESA funds account, ISP Domain payments.
October 2015. Fiscal Responsibility with PEC underway. Equal Access agreement with Loudoun Master Gardeners. Continued discussions about Family Stream Day, Nature Stewardship Day and the Loudounnature.org site with monetary donations from organizations for set up fees.
The new facebook site is titled Loudoun ESA.
November 2015. Family Stream Day showed a minimum of 84 visitors. Discussions of what worked well and suggestions for the future. Website to be updated, organizations to review
The Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition event was discussed. Question of whether LESA should join this organization.
February 2016. LESA role with VAEE discussed. Membership list updates at nearly halfway, and EE guide updates to Loudounnature.org are being received. Nature Stewardship Day plans progressing with Dominion High School.
April 2016. The VAEE regional organization, NoVA Outside had been doing a Student Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) for student environmental displays for several years prior to 2016. Mark attended one and met with some of their directors. The following year his school, Guilford Elementary, was able to participate with a school club display. His school was the only Loudoun County school invited to participate.
May 2016. Updates presented on membership list status, Loudounnature.org updates, and progress on Nature Stewardship Day with Dominion High School.
This concludes known records of the monthly LESA meeting minutes until November 2017
November 2017. Loudounnature.org website fully paid. Loudoun Nature Days – Come Celebrate the Outdoors official title, with six tentative event sites. Develop a logo for the event needed.
LCPS One to the World (OttW) an instructional initiative that addresses what an LCPS graduate should know and be able to do. This instructional approach focuses on significant content and important competencies and the joy of teaching and learning (Chad Green, LCPS OttW developer).
Missing monthly minutes from December 2017 until June 2018
June 2018. LESA co-chair Dodie Lewis steps down. Charlotte DeMolay, LSWCD and Kelly Senser, LCPL take over as new co-chairs. Loudoun Nature Day review showed facebook posts of 1100 liking the LND post and 34 liking the event. Meeting minutes this date cover more reviews. Environmental outreach goals include Renew outreach/support of teachers and connect with schools and educators.
Investigate if we can participate with the LCPS Inspire Loudoun event. Investigate the
Energy Art contest that saw a student design school light switch covers, and how LESA might fit in. Discussion of goals and value of a LESA membership. Discussion of further outreach with Green Ribbon Schools program, Virginia Naturally and Audubon Society for LESA membership.
July 2018. First formal discussion of a possible Loudoun Student Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) similar to NoVA Outside region’s model. Informal meetings had been held in two years previous with one of their co-directors to learn of design planning.
Communication tools and strategies were discussed, including networking and collaboration, website, member promotional events, e-newsletter. Loudoun Nature Days slated for April 2019.
August 2018. LESA emails moving to the google site and discontinuing the previous Yahoo group. The website is moving to WordPress platform. The SEAS event establishes subcommittees for site location, GREENetwork teacher outreach for interest, and Trello to facilitate SEAS project management.
September 2018. E-mail communications and website update show organizations switching over to the google platform. Loudounnature.org website information being transferred over to the WordPress platform. Project-based Learning (PBL) presentation explained how it works with students and LCPS offices involved. Loudoun Nature Day discussion for April 2019 continued.
Loudoun SEAS co-sponsorships agree on LCPS, LESA and the Northwest Virginia Regional GREENetwork. The Loudoun SEAS event required a planning team. It was made up of a cross-section of environmental representatives; Charlotte DeMolay (LSWCD), Kelly Senser(LCPL), Michael Barancewicz and John Lord, (LCPS Environment & Energy Office), Brian Markley, (LCPS Science Office), Chad Green, (LCPS Research Office), Juliann Shockley, (Heritage High School onsite SEAS coordinator), Jackie Ly, (Morven Park), Mark Pankau, (NW VA Regional GREENetwork).
October 2018. LESA email communications and website continue to upload information to the new sites. Loudoun SEAS planning committees established for Program; Recruitment and Communications; Sponsorships/Finance; facilities; Volunteers. Loudoun Nature Days planning committee established for the April 2019 event, with Loudoun SEAS serving as the kick-off event for LND. LCPS Science Fair to be held prior to SEAS in April.
November 2018. Most of the website has been restored. A page for SEAS is up and Loudoun Nature Days will be updated next. A member organization calendar of events for group postings is being investigated. Loudoun SEAS webpage is up and running with a flyer for members to share out. Quarterly evening meetings were discussed for more teacher participation. The first was in February with little attendance.
December 2018. Loudoun SEAS grant from Geophysical being explored.
Environmental Educator Certification – Our state organization, Virginia Association for
Environmental Educators (VAEE) has approved a state Environmental Educator
Certification program. This will be launched at the February VAEE Conference.
February 2019. Discussions continued for Loudoun SEAS and Loudoun Nature Days, along with the agenda for the 1st Quarter evening teacher meeting in February.
March 2019. Continuing discussions for SEAS with a BINGO card planned for participants to get filled in when they visit LEEA organization vendors. Loudoun Nature Days will have an activity card for participants to get filled when they visit vendors.
April 2019. (SEAS): The inaugural event on March 26 attracted some 300 people and generated a lot of positive energy and network-weaving. Listed among “the best parts of SEAS” on surveys:
• “Student displays and connecting kids with community members.”
• “Authentic learning!”
• “The people who visited our table were genuinely excited to learn about our project.”
• “The [event] not having awards. Just a chance to get involved without it having to follow
tight criteria or stress of winning/losing.”
• “Flexibility of things guests could see and do.”
• “Hands-on activities.”
Action Request: If your organization participated in the event, or has a connection to a
student (group) that did, please include a write-up about the experience in your
newsletter (or other communication channel).
Links provided in the minutes for Loudoun Nature Day participations.
Party In The Park at Claude Moore Park on May 18 Claude Moore Park is putting on a park wide event intended to get kids outdoors and into parks (Party in the Park). Our main contribution is going to be environmental education and historical demonstrations.
Public Input Session on County Parks and Trails, April 25: Michael shared details about the
Parks, Recreation and Open Space Board/PRCS public input session and encouraged individuals
with interest in county parks and trail systems to take part.
May 2019. Fiscal Sponsorship Subcommittee Update—outreach to PEC and VAEE.
o LESA Operations and Associated Tasks :
▪ Meeting facilitation
▪ Website (domain) maintenance
▪ Email communications, including Google Group management
▪ Customer service (e.g., responding to public inquiries)
▪ VAEE board representation
▪ Event planning
▪ Content production
▪ Social media engagement
The summer 2019 minutes are not available.
September 2019. LESA name Change Results: 85% agreed with Loudoun Environmental Education Alliance.
Logo change and design ideas with new name
2. VAEE fiscal sponsor change from PEC to VAEE with new name
3. Member Organization list
4. Recruit an environmental educator who can engage her students directly in the
planning of Loudoun SEAS early on rather than merely at the tail end.
5. Website hosting and domain made payment in August
6. Discussion of an Environmental Education Summit for all LESA member groups
7. Discussion on the possible revision of Loudoun Family Earth Day
8. VAEE conference proposal: Mark Pankau with Kurt Moser (Earth Force), co-director of the NoVA Outside SEAS event.
9. SEAS updates (if available) Confirm SEAS committee members and plan next meeting.
October 2019. SEAS committee meeting in the works in the next few weeks. With the new name change from LESA to LEEA a list of suggestions for logo revisions to the group, to be discussed and voted on our next meeting. We’d like to get the logo done, and name switch done by end of year.
January 2020. New LEEA logo final edits to the extra spacing in the text as soon as possible. If necessary, we can use the current logo for the media launch this week. Website updated with the new logo this week.
Resource Guide – updated the survey categories for the database. The next step was to develop the survey in Google.
Morven Park’s Agenda Setters program at Heritage HS: Most of the EE content dealt with recycling and the courtyard in the high school.
VAEE memberships: We have the required 10 VAEE members to receive member benefits back to LEEA.
LEEA member organization survey: the recent subcommittee meeting to review the survey draft questions. Updates will be made and sent to the group for final review.
Loudoun Nature Days, April 2020: Initial discussion whether to include a passport? Calendar? Erika to send out the questionnaire again and possible draft flyer. Discussion on how each LEEA organization can make their organization more family friendly.
SEAS 2020 planning continues.
VAEE annual conference is February 26-28, 2020 at Sweet Briar College. Mark will be presenting on that Friday afternoon on the Loudoun SEAS, LEEA and the GREENetwork. He will be joined by Kurt Moser from the NoVA Outside regional and their SEAS event, and Ali Culhane the new full time specialist with the Fairfax County Public Schools Get2Green environmental education office. The purpose is to share how VAEE regionals can develop their own SEAS and how regionals can work together to strengthen the EE message.
March 2020. Charlotte DeMolay has moved out of State. Erika Cuevas and Chad Green to serve as new LEEA co-chairs.
LCPS EE Staff position petition garnered 200+ signatures on a recent Change.org petition requesting that LCPS reduce its carbon footprint through various policy changes. A new EE staff member in central office could address such concerns in a coordinated fashion.
SEAS 2020 – should we consider alternatives such as a virtual presentation or even a different venue? The recreation center and hallway at Claude Moore were considered, as was the downstairs area at Ida Lee Park. LCPS can’t host SEAS even offsite if afterschool activities are canceled due to the virus.
No minutes are available during the months of April through August, 2020.
September 2020. There was a need to delineate responsibilities, so a board of directors was formed with the chairpersons of the committees serving as the directors. Starting with a co-chair position Chad Green, (LCPS), and Erika Cuevas, (Loudoun Water); Mark Pankau (NW VA Regional GREENetwork) Advocacy; Jackie Ly (Morven Park) Communications; Erika, Membership; Jennifer Venable (LSWCD)Programming. After Jackie Ly’s departure, committee member Bobby Colicci (Claude Moore Park), took over as Communications Chair. Meetings began as in-person until the pandemic, and then the monthly meetings went virtual with Zoom calls the second Monday of each month.
Committee members assigned to the new standing committees.
The new Advocacy Committee reports the LEEA Resource Guide moving to a Word document instead of google. Organization updated messages coming in. Phone calls to each organization to update their information if needed.
There are two different mission statements (resource guide and website). The new name change needs to be corrected as well.
LCPD School Board resolution on Climate Change – we are asked to provide any recommended additions they will send on to the State.
To streamline LEEA business, the committee also proposes the following: “Form a board of five LEEA members be established for the formal process of voting on proposed actions. One of the co-chairs shall be one of the 5 voting members and the other co-chair shall serve as ex officio; only voting in case of a tie vote.” One chair from each committee could represent that group on the board and vote. A designated proxy could also be selected if that person is absent. The Committee Chair will serve as the voting member.
The new Communication Committee developed a plan to update the Facebook page (e.g., 2 posts per week). Most content is taken from the activities of other LEEA members. Sharing this info shows that we support each other and are united as an alliance. The goal is to increase the success of EE events both locally and nationally.
October 2020. A suggested process for updating the mission statement developed.
Page likes on Facebook need to improve (only 2 in past month), Invite others in your organization to like the page. Engagement has also gone up 77% in the last month. Everyone should promote Facebook page via email with LEEA membership and others at every opportunity.
Updates from 26 out of 35 active community partners (74%) for the Resource Guide revision. Programming Committee exploring a possible EE Summit. Science Department staff asked how to contact students for topic ideas.
Information has been received about ChangeX as a future funding source.
November 2020. Advocacy Committee reports continued discussion on revised mission statement. Resource Guide should go ahead since it is now online and available to update as needed. 32 of the 36 organizations have updated their page information.
Audubon Naturalist at Rust Sanctuary closes due to loss of staff cutbacks.
Program Committee questions whether SEAS can go live or go virtual.
LEEA Summit idea continues to explore how to get ideas and topics from teachers.
Zoom style summit being considered for easier participation.
December 2020. Program Committee report that SEAS is going virtual due to the pandemic. Many discussions on how to upgrade facebook, twitter, youtube channel to post videos and photos.
Advocacy Committee updates: Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall is spearheading efforts to make Loudoun more sustainable. On December 1st the Board of Supervisors voted to create an Environmental Advisory Council.
VAEE updates: In lieu of the annual VAEE conference, three virtual mini-conferences are scheduled on 2/20 (Western regions w/elections), 7/17 (Tidewater region) and 10/23 (Piedmont region).
Envirothon training will be provided online (free) for science teachers and students, also 4-H clubs.
January 2021. Vision, Mission and Who We Serve documents accepted with new changes.
Programming Committee updates: Loudoun SEAS 2021 will be a virtual experience during the week of April 19-25 on Facebook and other social media. Students will provide videos for a YouTube channel that we will create for the community at large. Focus will be on both formal and informal education, not just school-based projects. Also, resources will be provided throughout the week from community partners.
The 2021 Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held on March 18-25, 2021.
LEEA’s first Networking Happy Hour will be on Thursday, January 21st 4:00 PM.
February 2021. SEAS event details are being finalized and will be promoted this week. The Resource Guide has been updated and shared with members recently. Translating content from Facebook to Twitter. Created a LEEA YouTube channel.
Programming Committee updates: The first virtual Happy Hour was a success. SEAS planning progresses with communication documents for students and community partners have been updated, tested and are online on the website. The next step is to update the communication plan.
Consider developing a monthly/quarterly newsletter (e.g., in Canva) to communicate state and local news, community partner events, etc.
March 2021. Advocacy Committee updates: VCE Loudoun will be sharing information on SEAS with the garden clubs at LCPS. Currently, Elementary Science Resource Teacher, is getting a handle on who the school garden teachers are. The SEAS press release and flyer were sent to all media contacts. Information on SEAS sent to local dignitaries (e.g., mayors), farmers, private schools, and a few homeschools.
Media and Communications Committee updates: Plan for the future of the website to include links to members’ pages and remove the calendar (except for Loudoun Nature Days in April) since the focus is on our resources.
Programming Committee updates: to develop a promotional video for Loudoun SEAS.
April 2021. LEEA’s new YouTube channel is up and running. Facebook including testimonials from students and community partners. Video content will be promoted during SEAS Week (April 19-25). LEEA won a $250 Rapid Response Fund mini-grant from VAEE to promote Loudoun SEAS. A promotional video on LEEA for the new YouTube channel is being produced.
May 2021. Contact with Ms. Atoosa Reaser, LCSB Vice-Chair, to promote outdoor classrooms and EE in general. The county’s new environmental commission has four LEEA members, including LCPS Energy Team representation. SEAS on Facebook based on the $250 from the VAEE mini-grant. promoted the videos on Twitter and tagged as many partners as possible. There were about 200 shares/likes from that campaign. Facebook page has 301 likes. Many of our community partners have a lot more likes.
Toward the end of April, a few school board members and cabinet staff were having discussions about the importance of EE, including a 2019 proposal for an environmental academy.
June 2021 Board of Directors Meeting. First time Board of Directors meeting precedes regular monthly member meeting. In the past both co-chairs would resign around the same time. Discussion on changing to a Chair and Vice Chair position, creating a Secretary/Treasurer position. Discussion on the new LEEA bi-monthly newsletter editor versus creator position. Loudoun Nature Days discussions with PRCS.
June 2021 Member Meeting. Representatives from LEEA, NoVA Outside and the Lynnhaven Now (Virginia Beach) regions review the virtual SEAS events. Discussion on possible student planning for SEAS events. LEEA letter to Dr. Ziegler, the new LCPS Superintendent, congratulating him on his new position and asking him to reiterate his support for the LCSB resolution on climate change and EE. CC the Chair and Vice-Chair.
July 2021. Loudoun Nature Days is going to be held on Saturday, October 2nd. LCPS Science Office will be emphasizing meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEEs) in the curriculum next year. MWEE resources will be shared on the LEEA website accordingly.
August 2021. At the next VAEE mini-conference on 10/23 there will be a session on SEAS sponsored by representatives from LEEA, and the NoVA Outside region. Barbara Bailey will serve as the new bi-monthly newsletter curator. The newsletter will also be shared on the website in PDF format. Gem Bingol (PEC) was elected chair of the county’s Environmental Commission. There are two permanent standing committees: Sustainable Energy and Natural Resources Conservation and Protection.
September 2021. LEEA is now a co-sponsor for the ALL Careers watch party happening on Thursday, September 30th. LCPS Science Office will seek to recruit a school eco-team to lead SEAS 2022 planning by the end of September. Gwyneth MacMurtrie, Morven Park’s Director of Education, has offered to assist the students throughout the process. A regional team update on Loudoun Nature Days was provided for VAEE’s Board meeting on August 23rd.
October 2021. Advocacy report continue to share LEEA organization news. New LEEA bi-monthly newsletter format sent to member organizations requesting news items. LEEA’s virtual SEAS presented at the VAEE mini-conference this month.
November 2021. The LEEA promotional brochure undergoing revisions. An email from the Science Department to all the science teachers to recruit a student eco-team for the 2022 SEAS event, in order to incorporate student engagement in the planning process. A final discussion and vote on the VAEE regional team/board restructuring will occur during the meeting, with a possible move away from regions to sections.
December 2021. The Programming committee decided SEAS will be hybrid with the in-person portion having space for student displays and community partner tables and the virtual portion TBD. VAEE Board voted to restructure the regional teams into sections. Proposal to develop an Archives and Historian position.
Following is a listing of the Year In Review highlights for 2021-2022 :
A new Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ Environmental Commission was formed, with three LEEA members serving; Gem Bingol, Commission Chairperson, Miriam Westervelt, Peterson Young Journalists Program and Michael Meyers, Executive Director, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.
LEEA supported the Loudoun Nature Days at Claude Moore Park.
VAEE voted to restructure and hire an executive director. There will no longer be regional organizations like LEEA. The new model will be Sections, and regional membership dues will not come back to the regional organizations.
LEEA virtual Happy Hours were started to further open communications with members.
LEEA co-sponsored and All Careers Watch Party with Eco-Arlington and NoVA Outside.
The LEEA brochure was revised.
The first LEEA Year in Review was produced for 2021.
The Vision and Mission Statements were revised.
Discussions have begun on presenting an LCPS professional development session for teachers.
A 2022 Loudoun SEAS Student Eco-Team was started. Students met with Jennifer Venable,
LEEA Program Chair for possible student roles in SEAS planning.
$250 VAEE Rapid Response grant secured to defray online site fees for SEAS 2021
January 2022. Inaugural issue of the LEEA Waterworks newsletter for Jan./Feb. 2022 is out and also on the LEEA website. VAEE’s Environmental Education Certification Program opens enrollment and the new part-time Executive Director announced.
February 2022. Advocacy Committee requests the Science Department to share Loudoun SEAS information with their teachers. Original LESA meeting minutes being gathered from some of the founders and compiled into a historical record. Loudoun SEAS 2022 is scheduled to be an in-person event on Tuesday, April 26th at Trailside Middle School. VAEE’s Environmental Education Certification Program closed on January 13th as all spaces were filled. VAEE’s priority since 2017 has been to re-establish the Office of Environmental Education. There was also a proposed budget amendment to develop and implement a statewide environmental literacy plan. Budget proposals will be finalized on February 20. The Loudoun County Environmental Advisory Commission makes recommendations to the Board May 2022.
March 2022. LCPS School Board and Loudoun Board of Supervisors article on Agriculture in the Classroom. Loudoun PRCS Earth Day Extravaganza at Franklin Park Pond, Saturday, April 23rd. The amendment to re-establish the Office of Environmental Education is in the “Floor Approved” stage. The LEEA Board is now meeting prior to the regular monthly meetings for 30 minutes. One priority for the Board is to continue building out the committee structures and leadership roles and responsibilities, such as Secretary, Treasurer, Chair and Vice-Chair (instead of Co-chairs), along with set terms. Discussions about the LEEA monthly meetings going back to in-person.
April 2022. Advocacy Committee continues to send LEEA organization events and news to teachers, and regular SEAS registration information. A new SEAS advertisement flyer available for distribution. A recruitment template developed for prospective new members. The Earth Day Environmental Extravaganza will be held at Franklin Park on Saturday, April 23rd. 3rd annual Loudoun SEAS event, April 26th, Trailside Middle School. SEAS continues as a hybrid event (in-person or virtual) for the second year.
May 2022. The Board meeting reviewed the SEAS event, discussing survey responses, personal experiences, discussions with community partners and students who entered displays. There were over 200 in attendance and 16 survey responses. The artwork slideshow is posted to the website with discussion of adding it to the YouTube Channel, and adding student display photos to the sites. Community Partner CMTA offered a $1,000 donation for SEAS 2023. New interested organizations are being vetted for LEEA membership from SEAS visits.
The new By-Laws (Articles I-V) and the Roles and Responsibilities documents were approved during a special Board meeting in May 2022.
June 2022. The monthly Advocacy report lists the numerous organization news stories. The fourth bi-monthly newsletter is in production with the Communication members. Several new organizations have been contacted for possible LEEA membership. The LEEA Resource Guide has two changes that need to be made. The Programming Committee reports that the SEAS 2022 photos to be updated on the website.
The 2022 VAEE Conference ResiliencEE and Reinvention at the Airfield 4-H Center in Wakefield, VA, will be on August 12-14, 2022. Applications for the Awards for Excellence are open through July 2022.
VAEE’s Executive Director Bianca Myrick reached out to Chad on May 27th to discuss the new sectional team model. VAEE is thinking about providing stipends to the section liaisons based on the success of another NAAEE affiliate. Bianca later shared a draft job description for feedback.
LEEA’s current account balance as of 6/13/22 is $531.70
New business and announcements: The Board of Supervisors Environmental Summit was rescheduled to Wednesday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. at the Government Center in Leesburg. The proposed work plan is available on the Environmental Commission’s website in the meeting agendas. Plans for an annual energy award through a number of categories are being proposed to the Board of Supervisors for approval, including students and schools, groups, etc.
· PEC Community Farm and Family Tour will be this coming Saturday.
· LEEA Officer Roles and Responsibilities Google Form will be sent out by June 17th. Nominations for LEEA positions due: June 24th. New roles include Chair, Vice Chair,
· Historian, Secretary/Treasurer as all new positions, along with the current standing committees.
LEEA By-Laws Draft.
July 2022. There was no Board or Member meeting for July 2022
August 2022. The advocacy report included numerous county organization events, including the BOS Environmental Summit. GREENetwork members invited to join LEEA.
Communications included a call for news stories for the Sept/Oct newsletter.
Membership recruitment has seen Potomac Vegetable Farms, A Farm Less Ordinary and the Loudoun County Farms/ Field of Feathers agreeing to join.
VAEE annual conference is this month. Discussions continue with their board on the role of the new Sectionals. LEEA’s current account balance as of 8/8/22 is $531.70. An annual website hosting fee is forthcoming for loudounnature.org in the amount of $156.00.
New Business. The LEEA Recruitment Survey remains open for interests in unfilled positions. A New Board Orientation doodle poll is sent to current board members for a two hour in-person meeting sometime during the last weeks of August.
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors has accepted the report of the Environmental Commission.
New board positions that are filled as of now include LEEA Chair (Mark Pankau), Secretary/ Treasurer (Chad Green), Communications (Diana Weber), Historian (Kristine Nguyen), Membership (Erika Cuevas). Positions to be filled include Vice Chair, Programming Chair.
New Board Orientation set for August 25th at Loudoun Water. Highlights included reviewing draft brochure, SEAS 2023 plans, Newsletter to quarterly issues, EE specialist proclamation coming to the board for review, oral history video interviews with past leaders, new member application procedures.
September 2022. This was the first board meeting call and membership meeting call with the new board and Mark Pankau as the Chair. New member application procedures continue under development, New QR coded produced for webpage. Newsletters to be included on webpage. New Instagram link to be added to social media sites. Revised SEAS forms to be added to the Events button on webpage. Begin promoting SEAS 2023 this month and each month until April 2023.
Potential sponsors for SEAS and other events discussed from CMTA, Freedom Bank and HHMI/Janelia Research Campus. Proclamation for full time EE office in LCPS under development. Investigating participation with Leesburg private wall murals and former West Park Golf Course transition to a Leesburg park for native plant pollinator garden beds. Loudoun Parks& Rec parks open to nature activity events. Information shared on the Hal & Berni Hanson regional park will include a nature area. A certification of appreciation will be developed to present to past LEEA VIP’s and the annual student SEAS exhibitors.
October 2022. The transition of the bi-monthly newsletter to a quarterly newsletter is compete. The issues are January-March; April-June; July-August; September- November, with the 15th day of each month preceding first month of each issue (i.e. Dec 15 for January). Initial meeting with Janelia Research Campus staff occurred regarding possible SEAS or other project sponsorship. Meeting with the Academies of Loudoun principal for a site visit for SEAS 2023 set for October 26th. Advocacy Committee report appears in the meeting minutes. Archives/Historian reports an Archives button to be added to the LEEA webpage accessed by designated administrator(s). 15th Anniversary and New Board press release sent to newspapers. An Instagram account is established. New memberships are being developed with county farms with educational components. Programming Committee reports that SEAS 2022 is confirmed at Trailside Middle School for April 27th again for a second year.
The Treasurer reports that as of 10/17/22 the balance is $376.04. Monies have come from LEEA members who are also VAEE members ($10/member rebate), however, a new VAEE regional design to a sectional design stops member funding. Discussion about sponsors to fund future needs. Revised LEEA brochure reaching completion. Certificates of Appreciation to SEAS student exhibitors and to past LESA/LEEA VIP’s under construction.
New QR Code established. New member registration procedures being finalized. Resolution for a full time LCPS Environmental Education office sent to LCPS School Board president and past president. New board members press release published by Loudoun Now. The LCPS Partner Program information sent to all LEEA organizations for membership consideration. PRCS naturalists are helping to streamline the process for organizing outdoor events for the community (e.g., story walks) at the 48 unmanned (non-regional) parks in the county. They are charged with increasing programming at these sites. SEAS sponsors/partners zoom call to be set up for discussion later this month.
November 2022. LEEA Instagram site established. LEEA presentation given at the annual Peterson Naturalist Journaling teacher workshop. An Archives button added to the web page and content to be decided by the LEEA Board. Potential new organizations invited to join LEEA, Resource Guide being updated. SEAS 2023 planning team underway with timeline being established, registration form being updated to include new QR code. CMTA expresses interest in sponsoring SEAS 2023 with $1,000 donation. LEEA brochure revision completed. New Certificates of Appreciation sent to 14 past LESA/LEEA VIP’s. New Certificates of Participation prepared for student/school exhibitors for SEAS 2023. Documents finalized to send to new potential member organizations. Resolution calling for a full time Environmental Education Office with LCPS sent to school board representatives. New LEEA Board press release published with Loudoun Now.
December 2022. LEEA website, Archives button items selected and to be posted soon. SEAS QR code to be used for print and social media sites. New Member forms being finalized, new member suggestions to be viewed by Membership Chair first, then sent to the LEEA Board for final approval and invitation to join. The CMTA $2K SEAS grant monies sent to VAEE to hold in the LEEA account. Monies to be used as school club awards via judging panel. The Board unanimously approved the Secretary/Treasurer position become a two year position.