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Susan Kistler on Getting Engaged in Environmental Evaluation

Happy Saturday! My name is Susan Kistler and I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and regular Saturday aea365 contributor. I returned earlier this month from the Environmental Evaluators Network (EEN) Unconference in Washington which brought together approximately 200 colleagues with an interest and investment in Environmental Evaluation.

The event ended with establishing multiple groups to move forward on a range of projects – from starting a community of practice, to diving deeper into discussions, to hosting an environmental evaluation datapalooza.

Rad Resource – Environmental Evaluators Group on LinkedIn: EEN hosts a vibrant LinkedIn group (free – just need to subscribe) devoted to environmental evaluation topics and issues. Matt Keene of the US Environmental Protection Agency and a leader in EEN will be posting information about the working groups.

Get Involved – Sign up for a workgroup: Well, first, sign up for EEN’s LinkedIn group. Then, you’ll be poised to participate in the next steps discussions with each of the project teams. The planners didn’t want to limit the outcomes to those who attended and welcome colleagues to join the next step action groups. There will be a set of people examining gaps in theory, another planning the future of EEN, one thinking about a data sharing extravaganza, etc. We’re hoping you’ll sign up for the LinkedIn group first to be sure that you’ll receive notice as the planning group information is shared.

Hot Tips – Environmentally Friendly Conferences: We’ll be sharing more tips for lessening the environmental impact of events and meetings, but here are a few leveraged for the Forum:

  • Limit handouts and paper through such strategies as posting rather than distributing an agenda if the group is small: For the Forum, we built the agenda in real time on the walls of the keynote room.
  • Use biodegradable dishware or better yet, china and glassware: For the Forum, we used biodegradable items during the breaks and continental breakfast and china and glassware for the evening reception.
  • Encourage public transit use: For the Forum, we distributed information in advance to all attendees with not just routes but detailed information on how to navigate the public transit options to the event.

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