September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

BAEER Fair

Posted: Saturday, October 30th, 2010

by Paul Ferreira

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, heralded the beginning of the popular environmental movement.  Today, forty years later, it has become the premier event focusing attention on environmental and environmental education issues all over the world.  But back then, it passed me right by as I concentrated my energy on graduating college as a biology major that spring.

How could this happen, you think?  Well, there was a lot on my mind at that time.  We were still involved in the Vietnam War, I was engaged to be married, I was wondering what I was going to do for a job and where was I going to live.  So I hope I can be excused for being oblivious to this infant movement that was slowly bringing attention to the needs of the environment.  It wasn’t even on my radar.

My first job with a local park and recreation district eventually led to a 40-plus-year career in parks, recreation, interpretation, and environmental education, but it wasn’t until a job change in 1972 that I attended my first Earth Day event.  I was now an aspiring interpreter/environmental educator, but I was working in isolation, devoid of stimulation and oblivious to the larger picture of where the environmental movement was headed, who was involved, and the potential for activism in its many forms.  The BAEER Fair changed all that for me.

I attended my first Bay Area Environmental Education Resources Fair (BAAER Fair) in 1979.  The following year I was invited to join the BAEER Fair planning committee.  In the ensuing thirty years, my awareness of environmental issues, how I could become involved in helping to address them, and who was out there doing the work of education, conservation, and activism, all came about to a great degree because of the BAEER Fair.

The BAEER Fair opened doors for me and provided opportunities to meet others involved in the profession and learn about other organizations doing environmental and outdoor education.  And the BAEER Fair can do this for you too.  As a supervising naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District, I was able to support, participate in, and benefit from the BAEER Fair in a number of valuable ways.  Working on the planning committee, I was able to help guide the direction of the fair.  This also provided me with opportunities to promote the fair among my co-workers and professional colleagues.

At the same time, I was also the lead staff member responsible for the park district’s information table at the fair.  The park district saw the BAEER Fair as a valuable marketing and outreach tool where we could reach many hundreds of teachers and educators throughout the nine Bay Area counties each year that may be new to environmental education and unaware of the services and programs our agency had to offer.  This of course is the underlying value of the Fair as a whole—an invaluable resource for classroom teachers needing resources, activities, and curriculum to help them teach about the environment.

The BAEER Fair also allowed our agency to advertise for job vacancies through its job board, where, along with many other organizations and agencies, we could post job descriptions for current and future job opportunities.

Additionally I found the BAEER Fair instrumental in helping me to establish and maintain my contacts in the environmental education field.  The annual Fair made it possible for me to reconnect with long-time friends and make new friends working in the profession.

I also saw the BAEER Fair as a means to train staff.  With the 12 to 16 breakout sessions offered each year, there are ample opportunities to learn about the latest curriculum and resources available.

The BAEER Fair offers us a bridge between the teaching community and educational resources throughout the region.  It’s a great place to get connected!

BAEER Fair #34 will be held on January 22, 2011.  The event takes place at The Marin Center in San Rafael.  Full details are available on their website www.baeerfair.org.

Paul Ferreira is supervising naturalist (retired) with the East Bay Regional Park District.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2 Responses

  1. Great article!
    I worked with Paul at the EBRPD for over 20 years and would love to get in contact with him.
    If there is a way that you can forward my information to him, I would greatly appreciate that.
    (I assume you can see the email address above.)
    Thank you, Tony Smith

  2. Dear Tony,

    I will forward him your email. Thank you for reading!

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