By: Borderlands Restoration Network
Environmental education is an organized effort to teach individuals about how to sustainably manage ecosystems. Graduates from the various education programs that Borderlands Restoration Network offers develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and are taught the skills to engage in preserving the natural environment and biocultural diversity.
The Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) is a nonprofit organization leading in advancing environmental education throughout Arizona. AAEE collaborates with practitioners in the field to establish frameworks for quality environmental literacy programs, EE certifications, and working groups.
The nonprofit started hosting the AAEE Excellence in Environmental Education Awards to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on environmental education through innovative and inspiring practices in Arizona. Leona Davis, Earth Grant Program Coordinator with the Arizona Institute for Resilience nominated Jordan Sene, BRN’s Youth Education Program Coordinator in the Outstanding Young Professional (age 23 and under) category. On November 5th, Jordan received the award during an interactive award ceremony.
Jordan Sene, 21, is from Rio Rico, Arizona. She is a student at Arizona State University majoring in sustainable ecosystems at the School of Sustainability. She is also pursuing her Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS 4+1) degree at ASU. Jordan participated in the Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) program when she graduated from Rio Rico Highschool, before heading off to university. During the program, she was a youth leader first learning about sustainability and permaculture while doing watershed restoration work. Participating in BECY sparked new interest and passion in Jordan and it changed the trajectory of her study and career path.
Six months in as a BRN staff member, Jordan learned hands-on how to coordinate the BECY program with the Patagonia and Douglas 2021 cohorts in the summer. By the fall, she designed and implemented an 8-week online course internship for students in Douglas, Arizona, Agua Prieta, and Hermosillo, Sonora. The course, Jaguars 101: Jaguar Habitat Restoration & Community Resilience was multidisciplinary and featured guest speaker practitioners from the U.S. and Sonora.
The course started with the basics on jaguar biology, ecology, history, and cultural value. Then, interns learned more about the importance of stakeholder engagement throughout the borderlands, watershed restoration techniques, and cases for conservation. Jordan also moderated a panel discussion focused on environmental justice, representation, and advocacy with three local environmental advocates. The last section of the course emphasizes sustainable management of food systems and current sustainability research that young conservationists are conducting at the University of Arizona and Universidad de Sonora.
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