About Us

NZAEE’s mission is to connect and inspire educators, ākonga and communities to learn, collaborate and take action for Papatūānuku.

When the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education began in 1984, it was to agitate for change, and to get more environmental education happening and integrated into schools.

Thirty years later, we have the same Kaupapa, and it feels more urgent than ever before. The idea of environmental education has grown to include sustainable living and regeneration, and expanded from the school setting to whole communities. And as the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss have moved from an abstract concept to reality, people are realising that the human-centred view of the planet needs changing.

We need to support our young people, and their whānau, to connect with and learn in nature so they can understand how interdependent and interrelated everything in our natural world is. By valuing and loving what the natural world offers we can all be more aware of the impact of our actions upon it.

NZAEE is an Incorporated Society and Registered Charity (CC37847). Our Constitution sets out the way we do things, and we have a National Executive that meets monthly to lead the work of the Association.

Local Groups

Te Tauihu

Based at the top of the South Island the Te Tauihu Collaborative group is focussed on environmental education in the widest context of community.

Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka | Top of the South Island
August 7, 2023

Working with the Auckland Council Sustainable Schools team.

Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland
Waikato Branch

Covering the Waikato region from Taupo to the Bombays and out to each coast, we are a diverse and dynamic region containing New Zealand’s longest waterway, as well as volcanic regions, coastal forests, pastoral farming, and extensive urban and rural communities.

Canterbury | Waitaha

All people working in the Environmental Education for Sustainability space whether they are teachers in schools or educators working independently, for NGOs or local/central government, are welcome to join this network.

Waitaha | Canterbury

In the Wairarapa we have passionate environmental educators working in schools and communities to empower our rangitahi to develop a sense of awe and a relationship with the natural world, so they are invested in working for a better future.

Taupō EEC

Taupō Environmental Education Collaborative was formed in 2017 to bring together Taupō’s environmental education providers so we can provider better services to schools and our community.

WREEF Wellington Region

The Wellington Region Environmental Educators Forum also operates as the Wellington branch, supporting teachers of all levels and environmental education providers in the Wellington region.

Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui | Wellington Region
Nature Connection Community of Practice

This national, online group focuses on nature connection for young people in Aotearoa NZ. We will pilot a Community of Practice approach in 2023, to strengthen learning, networking and actions.

Wānaka and Upper Clutha Collective

Our collaborative group of environmental educators aims to support young people and educators to connect with people and the environment in our place.

Ōtākou | Otago

National Executive

All of our National Executive members are passionate about environmental education, and many have been working, teaching and inspiring others in this field for a long time.
We have each chosen a part of nature to represent us, and explain why in our profiles.

Sally Birdsall


Sally teaches science and sustainability education courses in undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education programmes at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland. Her research focuses on ways in which teachers and students learn about contentious issues, come to appreciate differing viewpoints, develop emotional resilience, and take informed action both individually and collectively. Sally’s current research is in contexts of declining biodiversity and the climate emergency. PHOTO: Ewen Cameron. "I have chosen the Kumerahou plant, which is found in Tāmaki Makaurau and its bright yellow flowers mark the beginning of spring."

Robyn Zink


Robyn joined Enviroschools as Otago Regional Coordinator in 2016. Before this she worked as an outdoor and environmental educator, and has undertaken numerous research projects with a focus on young people’s experiences of learning in outdoor environments. PHOTO Ed Dunens: "I have chosen the Cape Petrel because sea birds need all the help they can get - they need some serious raising of profile - a bit like EEfS and NZAEE!"

Elspeth McMillan

National Executive Member, Treasurer

Elspeth is the Education Partnership Lead in the Community Partnerships team of Parks, Sport and Recreation at Wellington City Council. Together with Gill she helped establish the Wellington Region Environmental Educators Forum 7 years ago. In her role Elspeth works closely with a number of Environmental Education providers. Being part of the NZAEE 2018 Conference committee when Wellington hosted the national conference sparked an interest in the role and function of the National Exec. PHOTO: John and Karen Hollingsworth. "I come from a family of Armadillos, which despite their hard exterior are really soft on the inside."

Chris Eames

National Executive Member

Chris is Associate Professor Te Kura Toi Tangata, School of Education at the University of Waikato. He teaches environmental and sustainability education (ESE) to pre-service education students and conducts research with postgraduate students and colleagues in many areas of ESE, including most recently climate change education. He is currently also helping to revise the Achievement Standards for ESE for senior secondary schools. PHOTO: "Kawakawa is a humble plant that can fill a space, but also has capacity to react quickly to suitable conditions, and to provide support through sustenance and health to others."

Annie McDonald

National Executive Member

Annie is a new member to the executive. Annie works with the Marlborough District Council as an education officer and before this role was a primary, intermediate and secondary school teacher. Annie is passionate about helping young people have a voice in environmental education and citizenship. PHOTO: Jon Radoff. "My plant is an unfolding fern because I am learning and growing in this space."

Nettie Stow

National Executive Member

Nettie joined Whenua Iti in 2016. Before this she held various community and work-related roles with a focus on connecting people to nature and encouraging positive action for local to global environments. PHOTO Johnny Johnson "I have chosen the tui as it can represent people and nature living alongside each other and the beauty of the everyday species that inspire us to take care of all environments"

Sian Crowley

National Executive Member

Sian works for BLAKE as a Programme Manager for the Discovery Programmes, running the NZ-VR (virtual reality) underwater experiences and BLAKE Explorers in Ōtautahi/Christchurch. She has been involved in environmental education, conservation, and youth leadership since a young age. Prior to BLAKE she worked with Kids Greening Taupō connecting teachers and students of all ages to the local environment through restoration, community events, online resources, teacher professional development and leadership teams. Since 2017 she has been involved with Forest & Bird Youth national executive.Photo: The ngahere is home to so many incredible things.

Role of the National Executive

How the National Executive operates

If you are interested in learning more about the role of the National Executive, please contact one of the current members.

We have summarised our role in this document.

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The Wider Team

Chris Montgomerie

National Manager

Chris is an experienced business communicator and project manager, a trained landscape designer and a community gardener. Her knowledge of the education sector has been gained through Playcentre and Board roles at her daughters' primary school, and environmental education during a contract with Project Crimson. It was at this time she discovered NZAEE and saw the potential for a strong sector group to promote the benefits of sustainability education through all facets of learning. PHOTO: Stuart Yeates. "The Pohutukawa is endemic to the northern half of the North Island, where grew up, but also thrives in Wellington, where I now call home.

Becky McCormack

Learning and Content Curator

Becky has recently moved to Wānaka with her family and has also lived in Porirua, Ōtepoti and Taranaki. Becky worked as a secondary Science and Biology teacher for nine years and then moved into an environmental education role in Porirua for seven years. She is passionate about supporting people to connect with their local places and environment, and is looking forward to sharing inspirational resources and stories with kaiako across Aotearoa. PHOTO: "The Kōwhai was chosen because I have always planted Kōwhai in our garden, no matter which part of the country I have lived in (having moved around a lot!)."

Debbie Courtney


Debbie has worked for NZAEE for 10 years in the role of National Coordinator/Administrator. Prior to this, she included components of environmental education in her teaching and sharing her love of the natural environment with her students. PHOTO: Rosa Stewart. "Grey warbler (riroriro) was chosen because its song reminds me of the warmth of summer."

Gill Stewart

Capability Sub-Committee member

Jocelyn Papprill

Advocacy Sub-Committee member

Jocelyn has long been associated with NZAEE since getting into education for sustainability in the year 2000. She was a secondary social sciences teacher for 25 years before jumping ship to join the Youth Engagement & Education team at Environment Canterbury. She was a member of the panel that created the EfS achievement standards and enjoys supporting teachers using them in their learning programmes. She is also a programme facilitator for the Untouched World Foundation, a board member of Blue Cradle and current chair of Christchurch EnviroHub. PHOTO: "I chose a ferret as they’re amazing animals. I can also be a bit of a pest, and enjoy ferreting out interesting things to do!"

Pam Crisp

Seaweek advisor

Pam joined NZAEE in the 1990s, while working in an education role for Te Papa Atawhai/Department of Conservation. She is a member of the Wellington Conservation Board, Seaweek coordinator for the Wellington Region, and Co Director of the Nature Through Arts Collective: “Arts and science are often seen as two separate strands – but they are both essential for working through complex issues and empowering communities to grow as observers and enact change.” PHOTO: "This ruru sculpture, made by artists Kemi & Niko for the Nature Through Arts Collective, reminds me of the power of play and creativity in connecting children with nature."

Sian Carvell

Capability Sub-Committee member

Sian has been connected to NZAEE since 2003 when she first started working at Environment Canterbury as an Environmental Educator, and later as the Education and Youth Engagement Team Leader. Previously, she was a primary school teacher, teaching at various North Island schools and overseas. Since 2015, she has been working for herself under her business name ‘Future Curious Limited’, supporting schools, business, NGOs, and local and central government to authentically engage with children and young people, especially around the natural environment and climate change. She also works part-time as a Learning Advisor at the Climate Action Campus in Ōtautahi.  PHOTO: "I chose the Silvereye Tauhou as they show great agility and strength for such a small bird, an inspiration for when I feel I am too small to make a difference. And they are just so very, very cute and bring me joy in the garden every single day!”

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News and Publications

Curriculum News #1 Sept 2023

The first in a series of newsletter updates about curriculum and assessment changes, with a focus on Mātauranga Māori and Te Mātaiaho in this article.

Member Newsletter August 2023

Member newsletter for August 2023

International honour for NZAEE Executive member

We are very excited to share that Sian Crowley, a member of the NZAEE National Executive, and BLAKE educator has been selected by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as one of the 2023 "EE 30 Under 30".

Term Three 2023: Website Updates and Resources

Our website continues to be updated with new resources, stories and events. This post is a snapshot of some of the content that has been added recently.

Term Three 2023: Seasonal Learning and Events

Read this summary of events for Term Three, with opportunities for ākonga to give back to nature during Conservation Week, Bee Aware month and Clean Up Week.

Happenings at our AGM, April 2023

A review of the presentations and happenings at our AGM held on 27 April 2023.

Annual Review 2022

A review of the 2021-22 year. This year we have structured the Review to follow the format of Mātauranga Whakauka Taiao: Environmental Education for Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2017-21, to provide a sector report on the first 5 years of the government plan. 

Term Two 2023: Website Updates and Resources

Our website continues to be updated with new resources, stories and events. This post is a snapshot of some of the content that has been added recently.

Term Two 2023: Seasonal Learning and Events

This term includes opportunities to engage ākonga with te taiao by celebrating and noticing trees and birds, and reducing our use of plastic in the lead up to the Matariki celebrations in July.

Term One 2023: Seasonal Learning and Events

As we move from Raumati | Summer into Ngahuru | Autumn, we can celebrate the changing seasons and notice tohu in the sky, awa and ngahere. 

Term One 2023: Website Updates and Resources

Our website continues to be updated with new resources, stories and events. This post is a snapshot of some of the content that has been added recently.

Newsletter August 2022

An update to our full database with details about the upcoming conference in October.

Newsletter June 2022

An update to our full database with details about the Term 2 webinar and October conference, June 2022

Newsletter May 2022

An update to our full database announcing the new website, conference dates and other upcoming opportunities in EEfS, May 2022.

Annual Review 2021

Review of the period ended 30 June 2021, and also an explanation of our strategy and plans for the future.

Newsletter March 2022

An update for members, profiling upcoming opportunities in EEfS, March 2022.

Emissions Reduction Plan Submission 2021

Emissions Reduction Plan submission, November 2021

Newsletter November 2021

An update for members, profiling upcoming opportunities for EEfS, November 2021.

Newsletter October 2021

An update for members, profiling upcoming opportunities in EEfS, October 2021.

Newsletter May 2021

Our member newsletter for May 2021.

Newsletter October 2020

Our member newsletter for October 2020.

Annual Review 2020

The Annual Review of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education 2020.

Newsletter April 2020

Our member newsletter for April 2020.

Newsletter November 2019

Our member newsletter for November 2019.

Annual Review 2019

The Annual Review of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education 2019.

Newsletter July 2019

Our member newsletter for July 2019.

Newsletter April 2019

Our member newsletter for April 2019.

Newsletter November 2018

Our member newsletter for November 2018.

Newsletter August 2018

Our member newsletter for August 2018.

Annual Review 2018

The Annual Review of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education 2018.

Newsletter May 2018

Our member newsletter for May 2018.

Newsletter February 2018

Our member newsletter for February 2018.

Annual Review 2017

The Annual Review of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education 2017.

Newsletter November 2017

Our member newsletter for November 2017.

Newsletter July 2017

Our member newsletter for July 2017.

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