150 people from different environmental departments throughout the state of Michigan are gathering in Alpena this weekend for the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education’s annual conference.
These different departments will educate people in northeast Michigan about different environmental topics.
“Our goal is to get people outside,” said Bill Hodges, president of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education. “We get them outside to love the environment, they’ll protect it, and our job is to get them to take over the world to protect everything we have, so we’re starting one step at a time in the state of Michigan.”
This is the first time the conference has come to Alpena, and there is so much maritime life for the conference to explore and educate people about.
“We focus really heavily on the Great Lakes and the impact of the Great Lakes in Michigan’s environment in both our MEECS lessons and also in all the work that MAEOE and other folks at MAEOE do as a whole,” said Eileen Boekestein, an Environmental Education Coordinator for Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
With so many pressing environmental topics in the world such as climate change, MAEOE wants people to know they are a vessel for education and information for those who want to learn more about what’s happening.
“We’re seeing a lot of younger people attending and that’s really exciting, especially people going into education,” said Bridget Booth, a member of the Board of Directors at MAEOE. “We really want them to be on board with environmental and outdoor education, and so I think we just want people to know that we are here and that we are a resource, and we can point people in the right direction if they need help with anything.”
The conference continued tonight with the MAEOE Mash at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and it will continue throughout the weekend.