Eco-Exchange -- April 2012
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April 2012

New and Notable on www.eco-index.org: Bio-Regional Environmental Education Project

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Managing NGO, country: San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM), United States

Project director(s): Doretta Winkelman; Karen Levy-Szpiro

Summary: The Bio-Regional Environmental Education Project (PROBEA, for its name in Spanish), a program of the San Diego Natural History Museum, was originally founded as a binational collaboration of U.S. and Mexican partners. Its mission is to educate teachers and community members to become environmental stewards, strengthen communities through training and active involvement in our bioregion, and build relationships between neighbors by sharing ideas and resources.

Principle Accomplishments: 4,087 educators from more than 1,078 schools/institutions have participated in at least one PROBEA workshop; 2,020 students have been taught directly through PROBEA programs; 407 community volunteers have participated in workshops; more than 21,015 individuals have participated in community events; more than 260 organizations and institutions have partnered with PROBEA; designed and organized capacity building workshops for environmental educators in Tijuana and La Paz in Baja California, and in San Diego, California; designed, wrote, and distributed a number of materials in coordination with Mexican education programs; designed and implemented a 180-hour environmental education certificate program in Tijuana, Baja California; implemented the "Conoce tu cuenca" program in La Paz, Baja California Sur, with water-related home audits; designed and implemented the "Smart School: Green Practices in Baja California" program; the project won one of four newly inaugurated awards for U.S.-Mexico Cross-Border Cooperation and Innovation.

Lessons Learned: Continual communication is key to forward movement and harmony among collaborators; follow-up and follow-through, keep your word, and build trust; inform others about what you have and offer opportunities and choices to participate and/or collaborate; look for commonalities with partners and collaborators; be flexible and persistent, and problem/solution oriented; establish a relationship with partners first, and then begin working together; create an excellent product; design infrastructure that supports you.