Power of Stories

Hi everyone! Today we want to share with you this book, which is a collection of fifteen stories (or “professional profiles”) narrated by urban environmental educators and students in the Bronx, New York City — and to encourage you to share your own story as an educator.

Russ, A. (2016). Urban environmental education narratives. Washington, DC and Ithaca, NY: NAAEE and Cornell University.

Free PDF:

Stories have a huge power. In workshops and conference sessions, you usually have just a minute or so to introduce yourself and your program or organization. But we want to encourage you to take time for a longer and deeper reflection on your work, and think what happenings in your life influenced your professional assumptions and activities that you conduct in environmental education. Documenting your own professional story may help you build your personal “theory of change”—that is, help you explain how your assumptions influence your practice, and how your practice influences student’s lives and the urban environment. At the same time, stories told by participants of your educational programs can make their experiences more meaningful.

Stories shared in this book can inspire us about how our urban environmental education programs can improve the urban environment, influence student’s ecological self-identity, involve residents in environmental stewardship, help them enjoy and make meaning of environmental activities, and help them recognize the value of urban ecosystems. These stories also help us acknowledge that cities are legitimate ecosystems that are worthy of protection, that urban environmental educators may come form various backgrounds, that voices of any urban residents should be heard in urban planning, and that environmental education programs can play a huge role in students’ positive development and well-being.

Feel free to share this free book with your colleagues.