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Weaving the Network

In April 2013, ACEE conducted a survey of organizations involved in the Community of Practice initiative. All respondants either attended a launch of one of the topic specific Communities of Practice or expressed interest in participating. We asked many questions you would expect from a survey but we also wanted to get at the connections between individuals, what did the network of environmental educators look like? If you want to learn more about this survey, please contact Christina Pickles at

The survey was sent to 160 people and 105 people filled out the on-line survey. We have shared some of the results and interpretations here. Section One covers some basic demographic questions, Section Two looks at some of the network maps that help visualize the connections between organizations.

Section 1

Type of Organization

Non-profit 42
Industry 2
For profit 7
Municipal Gov 21
Provincial Gov 13
School 3
University/College 5

Which Community of Practice do you belong to?

Water Education 31
Waste Education 21
Land Use/Conservation and Outdoor Education 33
Energy and Climate Change Education 8

What is the most important reason you joined this Community of Practice?

To get to know my colleagues 19
Keep up to date on what is happening in this field 32
Find collaborators for projects 23
Get funding for collaborative projects 2
Get new ideas for programs 12
Participate in professional development sessions 5

Who is the primary audience for your programs?

Adults 26
Businesses 3
Children and Youth 4
Community Groups 9
Families 5
K-12 students 31
Landowners/Homeowners 7
Post Secondary students 1
Teachers 6

In the past year, has the demand for your programs:

Increased 62
Decreased 1
Remained the same 28

In the past year, has the capacity to deliver your programs:

Increased 31
Decreased 17
Remained the same 45

Are you aware of any programs that directly compete with your programs?

Yes 40
No 51

Are you aware of any gaps in the delivery of programs on your topic? A gap could be an audience not engaged, specific topics not being addressed or a missing program element like action projects.

Yes 80
No 8

Section 2

These maps are being used as a tool by the Community of Practice coordinators to help make connections between members. The maps will also be used as an evaluation tool to help us determine if the Communities of Practice program is increasing connections and collaboration in the environmental education community. Below are a few example maps. If you want to learn more, contact Christina at

Entire Network – Current Collaborations

Who have you worked with in the past three years? This gave us an idea of the current collaboration picture.

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Entire Nework – Future Collaborations

Who would you like to work with over the next three years? This map shows us that there is a significant interest from the environmental education community to increase collaboration, one of the main goals of the Community of Practice program. There is a doubling of the number of connections from the current collaborations map to the future collaborations map.

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Water Education – Current Collaborations

An interesting observation about this network is that it is dominated by non-profit organizations. One thing to consider as we move forward with this Community of Practice is how to engage different groups like the provincial government for example.

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Waste Education РSharing of information  

The question addressed in this map is: Who do you currently share information with? There is already sharing of information within the Waste Education network but the network is dominated by organizations working in the Calgary area. How can this network extend beyond their geographical area and engage organizations in other parts of the province?

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Land Use/Conservation and Outdoor Education – New Ideas

One of the questions we asked in this survey was: Who do you get new and innovative ideas from? In this map, the larger nodes indicate individuals who many different people mentioned as generators of new ideas, the larger the node, the more people mentioned this person. What types of programs do these individuals run? What makes them innovative? These are a few of the questions that the coordinator may want to address with these individuals. It may help give the coordinators some direction on topics of interest to the wider CoP community. It is also interesting to note that the largest nodes are from the non-profit sector.

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