2023 Conference: Call for Presentations



OCTOBER 17–20, 2023 ● VIRTUAL

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The North American Association for Environmental Education’s 2023 conference theme is Together We Thrive. During the conference, we will focus on the importance of collaboration, creativity, and crossing boundaries to address the environmental and social issues we face. None of us can tackle these issues alone; we need stronger collaborations, more diverse partnerships, and insights from people with varying backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. As soccer great Pelé said, “No individual can win a game by himself.” We also can’t address the systemic injustices that have marginalized so many unless we understand the shared roots of social and ecological crises and collectively work with intention toward justice. Together, we can build a sustainable future where everyone thrives.

NAAEE seeks compelling proposals that advance justice, equity, and inclusion in the field; inform environmental educators about proven practices; push the leading edge of the profession; and motivate the pursuit of excellence. 

Conference Strands

We invite proposals for presentations in six thematic strands that characterize this year’s conference. Each strand explores a different aspect of the environmental education profession. The focus points listed indicate this year’s priority topics. Use these to guide your submissions and choose the one strand that most closely aligns with your proposal. Submitting identical or nearly identical proposals under more than one strand will not increase your chances of being selected and is strongly discouraged.

1) Advancing Civic Engagement and Sustainable Communities
Creating sustainable, equitable, and resilient communities through partnership building, civic engagement, personal decision making, systems thinking, connecting community and environment, and understanding historical impacts on communities of color 

Sessions appropriate to this strand address such topics as: 

  • Education and civic engagement to address climate change and build more resilient communities 
  • Grassroots partnerships for community improvement; characteristics of successful community action projects 
  • Achieving environmental integrity, social equity, environmental justice, and economic prosperity through education and authentic engagement of all communities
  • The role of environmental education in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Incorporating culturally rooted practices into our work and understanding how people from different backgrounds relate to, engage with, and care about the environment in urban, suburban, and rural communities
  • Strategies, tools, and training for addressing controversial issues and finding common ground

2) Conservation and Environmental Education
Achieving conservation goals through education, communication, social marketing, and ecotourism strategies, including public participation in scientific research and place-based community action

Sessions appropriate to this strand address such topics as: 

  • Integrating education strategies into the broader practice of conservation
  • Increasing equity and inclusion in the conservation movement
  • Current research and case studies on behavior change as it relates to conservation education
  • Successful collaborations between conservation educators, scientists, resource managers, and practitioners in all formal and nonformal education settings, from rural to suburban to urban, as well as wild spaces, public lands, and beyond
  • Successful tools, approaches, and educator preparation for bringing community-based science to classrooms and community improvement projects 
  • Education strategies for addressing specific issues such as climate change, habitat loss, energy, water, ocean conservation, and food systems 

3) Green Schools, Universities, and Vocational Institutions
Using environmental education to transform education, enhance student achievement, prepare students for green careers, conserve resources, support national and international education trends, link schools and communities, and build support for environmental education in formal education 

Sessions appropriate to this strand address such topics as: 

  • Green Schools as a pathway to service learning, student leadership, civic engagement, outdoor learning, and other effective education practices 
  • Exemplary initiatives for greening the campus and the curriculum, including school learning gardens and landscapes, facilities management practices, district and administrative commitments, and student involvement 
  • Advancing the Green Schools movement worldwide, including Green Ribbon and other recognition programs 
  • School-community partnerships that support and promote project-based learning and civic engagement
  • Integrating EE into preservice teacher preparation and in-service professional development
  • Preparing a workforce with vocational skills for green careers

4) Connecting with Nature
Cultivating partnerships and providing accessible outdoor education experiences that connect people of all ages and backgrounds to nature

Sessions appropriate to this strand address such topics as: 

  • Early childhood environmental education and nature preschools
  • Developing outdoor programs that are inclusive, relevant, and provide equitable access for all 
  • The restorative power of nature during challenging times
  • Creating and using parks and other green learning spaces in urban, suburban, and rural areas  
  • Outdoor programs that promote physical or spiritual health and wellness and that build a sense of place and cultural relevancy in urban, suburban, and rural communities 
  • Using the arts to explore people’s connections to nature 

5) Linking Research and Practice to Increase Impact
Using research to inform how we design, develop, refine, and promote environmental education programs for maximum effectiveness, and using practice to inform research 

Sessions appropriate to this strand address such topics as: 

  • Cutting-edge research that is important and relevant to all environmental educators 
  • Connecting research and practice; applying what we know to what we do 
  • Strategies for evaluating and improving environmental education programs, including culturally responsive evaluation 
  • Developing shared outcomes that allow us to better measure our collective impact and using research results to influence decision makers and demonstrate the value of EE
  • Research and case studies about the benefits and challenges of learning and teaching in outdoor settings and in a culturally relevant context 
  • What the pandemic has taught us about virtual learning and engagement

6) Building Leadership for Environmental Literacy
Strategies for building leadership and infrastructure to advance EE at the state, provincial, national, and global levels, and for motivating the public to take informed actions to protect the environment and address social and economic disparities

Sessions appropriate to this strand provide training in such areas as: 

  • Creating a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible field
  • Strengthening organizations that deliver and coordinate EE, especially on the local, state, provincial, and regional levels 
  • Cultivating and supporting leadership in EE 
  • Building our capacity to deliver effective, relevant environmental education with and for our diverse audiences 
  • Leading efforts to link environmental education and civic engagement
  • Setting, achieving, and maintaining professional standards of excellence 

Delivery Options

All sessions will be virtual, but they may be presented live or as prerecorded on-demand sessions. Some session formats are restricted to one option. To increase the chance of acceptance, individuals opting for live sessions may also indicate on their submission that they’d like to be considered for an on-demand session as an alternative. 

Live Sessions: 
Scheduled once between October 18–20 and presented live via Zoom during regular conference hours (11:00 AM–6:00 PM EDT)

  • Presenters interact in real time with attendees
  • May include prerecorded segments, in particular, to help accommodate international presenters in different time zones
  • Sessions (except workshops) will be recorded for on-demand viewing after the conference
  • Presented through a conference platform that uses Zoom, with typical features such as screen sharing, breakout rooms, chat, and polls will be available to presenters during live sessions.  

On-Demand Sessions:
Prerecorded sessions submitted in advance and available throughout the conference for on-demand asynchronous viewing at any time 

  • No scheduled presentation time
  • Presenters must be registered conference participants but do not need to be in attendance
  • Presenters will need to submit prerecorded mp4 files by September 12 to allow time for processing 
  • On-demand session recordings will continue to be available for viewing after the conference 

Session Formats

Please read the following format descriptions carefully, and select the most appropriate session format for your proposal. 

Bright Spots
(10 minutes) Bright spots are succinct talks that celebrate specific triumphs and showcase things that work. These prerecorded sessions highlight successful and innovative programs, community partnerships, conservation achievements, expanded audiences, research and evaluation findings, civic engagement, and more. Presentations are limited to a maximum of 10 minutes. All bright spots will be offered as prerecorded on-demand sessions.

Hands-On Presentations
(60 minutes) Hands-on presentations are designed to engage participants in virtual teaching activities, interactive discussions, and more. Hands-on sessions may be offered as live or pre-recorded on-demand sessions. 

Poster Presentations
(10-minute option) Posters are images saved as PDF files that summarize programs, resources, research studies, or other work through text, images, and data. Posters are most often created using applications such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft PowerPoint, and others. Poster presentations may include one or more still images, and presenters may include an optional recorded introduction up to 10 minutes in length. All posters and associated recordings will be offered as prerecorded on-demand sessions.

Roundtable Discussions
(40 minutes) Roundtable discussions emphasize spirited discussion about a central question led by the presenter(s) and engaging session attendees. Presenters briefly introduce the baseline idea or question they wish to explore and then open the discussion to exchange ideas. Each roundtable discussion will be held in its own virtual room with active attendee participation. All roundtable discussions will be scheduled as live sessions.

(60 minutes) Symposia are panel discussions presenting different perspectives on a topic or question related to one of the focus points for each strand. Proposals must include a moderator and a minimum of three panelists representing different organizations, ideas, or experiences. To enhance the richness of discussion, criteria for selecting symposia include the diversity of presenters and viewpoints. Symposia may be offered as live or prerecorded on-demand sessions.

Traditional Presentations
(40 minutes) Traditional presentations focus on a single topic or program, typically including a talk or PowerPoint (or other media) presentation followed by questions and answers or a short discussion. Traditional sessions may be offered as live or prerecorded on-demand sessions. 

(3½ hours) Pre-conference workshops are in-depth sessions that actively develop specific professional competencies and have widespread potential for implementation. They will be offered as live sessions prior to the conference on October 13, October 16, or October 17. Workshops require a separate registration fee, and all workshops are subject to cancellation due to insufficient enrollment. Note that workshop proposals are highly competitive and very few are selected for the conference program. 

Review Criteria

The strongest proposals carefully address the criteria listed below and provide enough detail for reviewers to fully understand what the session will entail. 

Proposals will be assessed and selected by how well they: 

  • Describe in detail what will occur in the session
  • Explain why the session is appropriate for the selected format and, for live sessions, what specific steps you will take to engage the audience in the virtual setting
  • Describe how the session will effectively engage the audience in innovative thinking about new or proven ideas and approaches
  • Raise important questions or deliver positive, solution-oriented outcomes supported by research and/or program evaluation
  • Explain how the session will inform environmental educators about proven practices, push the leading edge of the profession, and/or motivate the pursuit of excellence
  • Demonstrate how the session fits the strand description and one or more focus points 

We strive to dedicate at least 15 percent of our concurrent sessions within each strand to advancing justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in EE. These sessions explore ways to strengthen our field through strategies and programs that help diversify our audiences as well as our workforce, build cultural competence, support environmental justice, engage with new audiences, forge new and lasting partnerships, honor traditional knowledge, and increase our reach and relevance throughout society. To help us identify these sessions, reviewers will also assess proposals by how well they address any of these program criteria:

  • Incorporate culturally rooted practices and an understanding of how people from different backgrounds relate to, engage with, and care about the environment in urban, suburban, and rural communities
  • Affirm differences in skills, abilities, and perspectives as resources and opportunities to build stronger programs
  • Describe how curriculum design, participant recruitment, program leadership or administrative structure result in equitable environmental education opportunities
  • Contribute to a more just, equitable, diverse, inclusive, diverse, and accessible field

How to Submit a Proposal

Proposals must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. PST on Friday, May 5, 2023. You may find it helpful to download a blank form from the NAAEE website and use it to draft your proposal before entering the information online.

Each individual or team of individuals is limited to three proposals to maximize the number and diversity of presenters and perspectives on the conference program. 

Important: Please use the same email address for submitting your proposal and registering for the conference. 

1. Proposals must be submitted online through All Academic, our proposal management system.

  • We have simplified the submission process. You will now log in directly on the All Academic site without being logged in on the NAAEE website. 
  • You can click here to enter All Academic or find the link on the conference or research symposium home page or from the menu on NAAEE’s conference website. 
  • Most past submitters will already have an All Academic account and will simply need to request a new password. 
  • If you do not have an All Academic account, you'll need to create one.

2. On your home page in All Academic, click "Submit a Proposal." Select “Conference” or "Research Symposium" and complete the online submission form.

3. Click the “Accept and Continue” button on each page until you reach the final confirmation page.

4. When your proposal is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation email from do_not_reply @ allacademic.com. This email address is often caught by sensitive filters. If you haven't received it, check your junk folder and make sure the “@allacademic.com” domain is in your safe sender list. 

5. You can edit any information in your proposal until the May 5 submission deadline by logging in to your All Academic account and selecting the proposal from the list on your All Academic home page.

More details on how to submit a proposal here >

Important Notes About Presenters and Registration

All presenters and co-presenters (whether live or prerecorded) are required to register and pay published fees for the conference.

NAAEE depends on registration fees to cover conference expenses and cannot provide waivers or discounts to presenters. There are typically more than 500 presenters on the conference program. 

NAAEE has not yet finalized fees, but we expect conference registration for current NAAEE members to be about $250 for a professional and $175 for a student. Nonmember rates will be about 30% higher than member rates, and we hope to provide lower-cost options for those with limited funding. There is a separate registration fee for the NAAEE Research Symposium.

All presenters must confirm their participation by registering for the conference by the September 1, 2023 early bird deadline.

If your proposal is accepted, you will have an additional opportunity to finalize session information after receiving your acceptance notice.


As a first step, please check the Frequently Asked Questions on the website for assistance with submitting your proposals. If you need additional help, please contact us at conference@naaee.org

Download the Conference Call for Presentations PDF >

Click here to enter the submission system