Vision: Human and Natural Communities Thriving Together
Mission: The Community Ecology Institute (CEI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to enhance community health and well-being by fostering diverse connections between people and the natural world.
Our Board: Members of our Board of Directors have a passion for our vision and mission and the expertise needed to work toward its achievement. We are proud to have the energy, time, and dedication of each of our board members.
Our Work: In 2013, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, declared that the two most pressing environmental issues are climate change and the growing divide between people and nature. The former is increasingly obvious; the latter is so significant because people who are personally connected to nature make more knowledgeable and conscientious decisions regarding the environment. CEI is unique in focusing concurrently on both of these critical areas of work with a focus on community-level change. Our emphasis on connecting people with nature is based on extensive research showing that the people who take active care of the environment: spend meaningful time in nature, have had role models for environmental stewardship, and have participated in an organization that provide the opportunity to have a direct positive impact on the environment. At CEI we:
- locally demonstrate research-based best practices in Howard County, Maryland. We have an emphasis on civic ecology practices—community-based, environmental stewardship actions that simultaneously achieve social and ecological goals.
- Our Columbia Families in Nature program has served over 500 distinct and diverse families over the course of 200+ free nature-based events offered since 2014.
- Our Roots & Wings Learning Community emphasizes place-based experiential learning that prioritizes creativity and the development of strong community connections.
- develop evidence-based resources for communities (e.g., counties, cities, towns) and community-based organizations (e.g., school systems, civic groups, etc.) to effectively engage the people they represent in nature-based opportunities to enhance community well-being.
- are in the process of developing complementary advisory services to help communities design comprehensive approaches to creating socio-ecologically healthy communities with an emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.
Our Partners: CEI is committed to working in collaborative partnership with other organizations. We have a strong record of both supporting and receiving support from a variety of organizations and are deeply grateful for these partnerships.