The Ontario Society for Environmental Education

Updated May 7, 2006

Article 1: Name

The name of this association shall be the Ontario Society for Environmental Education, OSEE.

Article 2: Head Office

  • The head office shall normally be located at the home of the Membership Coordinator, however an alternative address may be selected by the Board of Directors.
  • The website address is

Article 3: Goal

The goal of environmental education is to develop a population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations, and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones (UNESCO Occasional Paper 31). OSEE will strive to abide by this goal.

The general expectations for students and the aims through which OSEE will attempt to accomplish this goal are included in Appendix A (see page 7). Appendix A is part of this constitution and has the force of the constitution.

Article 4: Membership

  • The membership of OSEE is open to all educators and others who have an interest in environmental education, upon payment of the annual membership fees.
  • Emeritus memberships may be granted by the Board of Directors on the advice of the nominating committee. An emeritus member will normally be a member of long standing who has retired from full-time employment, having served OSEE and environmental education with distinction. An emeritus member will receive full membership privileges for five years, at no cost to the member.
  • Corporate memberships are open to groups, organizations, and commercial establishments whose expectations and aims support the expectations and aims of OSEE.
  • All memberships will be annualized to May 1st.

Article 5: Annual General Meeting

There shall be an Annual General Meeting of OSEE open to all members in good standing, for the purpose of electing officers, approving the current budget, receiving reports of the Board of Directors and the Committees, and for conducting the general business of OSEE.

Article 6: Board of Directors

  • All members of the Board of Directors must be members of OSEE.
  • The affairs of OSEE shall be managed by the Board of Directors, hereafter called the Board. The Board will consist of three components: Executive, Directors-at-large, and Regional Directors.
  • The Executive shall consist of the past president, president, first vice-president, second vice-president, honourary president, secretary, treasurer, chair of the Editorial  Committee, editor, and membership coordinator.
  • The Board shall have five (5) Regional Directors, one from each of the five regions: Far Northern, Northern, Eastern, South-western, and Central.
  • The Board may appoint Ad Hoc members to perform such duties as OTF representative and webmaster.
  • The Board will establish these standing committees from OSEE members: Finance and Property, Editorial, Curriculum & Outreach, Membership & Communications, Annual Conference, and Website Management. The chair of each committee will be a member of the Board.
  • The Board may establish Ad Hoc committees as required, and these can be composed of members and non-members.
  • The Board may employ a staff member to assume duties as assigned by the Board.
  • In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the First Vice-president shall immediately assume that office for the balance of the unexpired term. In all other vacancies, the Board shall appoint a replacement from among OSEE members in good standing.
  • A minimum of four (4) meetings of the Board, in addition to the Annual Meeting, shall be called for the purpose of conducting OSEE business. The Executive may hold meetings as required.
  • The Board will establish policies regarding the acquisition, depreciation, and leasing of equipment.
  • The Board may appoint an Honorary President, the term to be reviewed annually in advance of the Annual General Meeting. To be considered for this position, a person must have demonstrated long-term leadership in and service to environmental education, and be recognized by the broader community beyond OSEE and Ontario.

Article 7: Duties of the Executive and Other Board Members

a) The President will:

  • Convene and chair all Executive and Board meetings, and the Annual General Meeting.
  • Prepare an agenda for all meetings and distribute it to the Board members at least two (2) weeks before a meeting.
  • Be a signing officer as required.
  • Act as the chief spokesperson for OSEE.
  • Maintain files to be given to the Secretary and the next President.

b) The First Vice-President will:

  • Assist the President as requested and replace the President if he/she is absent.
  • Serve as a member of the Annual Conference Committee.
  • Be a member of the Finance and Property Committee.

c) The Second Vice-President will:

  • Assist the President and First Vice-President as requested.
  • Be a member of the Annual Conference Committee.
  • Be responsible for liaison with organizations selected by the Board.
  • Be a member of the Membership and Communications Committee.

d) The Secretary  is obligated to:

  • Record the minutes of all Executive, Board, and General Meetings.
  • Prepare, duplicate, and distribute all minutes as mutually agreed upon with the President.

e) The Treasurer is obligated to:

  • Keep books and account for all transactions at an approved financial institution.
  • Be a signing officer for OSEE.
  • Prepare the annual budget and ensure its adherence.
  • Pay all bills as directed by the Board.
  • File forms to establish and maintain OSEE as a recognized non-profit organization.

f) The Chair of the Editorial Committee  will:

  • Prepare the agenda for and chair meetings of the Editorial Committee.
  • Oversee the solicitation of articles and graphics, and the work of the associate editors.
  • Ensure that the minutes of each meeting of the Editorial Committee are taken and distributed to the Secretary of the Board.
  • Develop the budget for Interactions in consultation with the Editor, and submit it to the Treasurer early in the year.
  • Develop and manage, with the Editorial Committee’s input, a long-range plan for Interactions within the structure and aims of OSEE.

g) The Membership Coordinator will:

  • Maintain a register of all members.
  • Maintain a list of all Board members that includes the expiry dates of their terms.
  • Advertise and solicit memberships as requested by the Executive.
  • Give proper receipts for all membership fees.
  • Distribute membership lists to the Executive and with the approval of the Board, exchange the list with other organizations.
  • Provide membership renewal notices and membership cards.
  • Act as the registrar for the Annual Conference, providing receipts as required.

h) The Past President  will:

  • Provide advice to the President, as requested.
  • Act on behalf of the President, if this service is requested by the Board.
  • Chair the Nominating Committee prior to and during the Annual General Meeting.
  • Chair the Awards Committee prior to and during the Annual Conference.

i) The Editor will:

  • Prepare Interactions for printing.
  • Have Interactions printed.
  • Work with the Membership Coordinator to ensure that copies of Interactions are mailed to members.
  • Assist the webmaster with website management, as requested.

j) The Webmaster will:

  • Prepare the website.
  • Manage the website.

k) The Regional Directors should:

  • Serve on standing and/or Ad Hoc committees.
  • Work to serve the OSEE membership and to increase OSEE membership.
  • Promote all OSEE functions, particularly the Annual Conference.
  • Work actively to collect articles for Interactions
  • Work actively to plan, organize and conduct at least two (2) workshops per year in their respective regions.

l) The Directors-at-large should:

  • Serve on standing committees and/or Ad Hoc committees.
  • Work to serve the OSEE membership and to increase OSEE membership.
  • Promote all OSEE functions, particularly the Annual Conference.
  • Assist the Regional Director in their respective regions with the planning, organization and offering of workshops.

m) The Honourary President will:

  • Serve in an advisory capacity on the Executive and on the Board as a whole, with full voting privileges.
  • Attend Executive and Board meetings when feasible.

Article 8: A Committee Structure for OSEE

a) The Finance and Property Committee will:

  • Manage the ongoing financial matters of OSEE.
  • Prepare the annual budget.
  • Prepare recommendations for the Board regarding major expenditures.
  • Assist the Treasurer as required.
  • Supervise the disbursements of funds.
  • Plan and supervise fund-raising events, as directed by the Board.

b) The Editorial Committee will:

  • Manage the ongoing production of Interactions (five issues per year).
  • Keep the Board informed about new policies and other major changes (e.g. new columns).
  • Strive to continually improve Interactions in content, diversity, and relevance to the membership.
  • Edit all submissions to ensure that they conform to OSEE policy.

c)  The Curriculum and Outreach Committee will:

  • Develop environmentally-focused teaching/learning materials for all divisions and subject areas in the K-12 continuum.
  • Contribute to curriculum development at the school, school district, provincial, and national  levels.
  • Offer environmental education workshops to schools, school districts, and other groups.
  • Contribute teaching/learning materials to Interactions.
  • Assist full-time and part-time outdoor educators with the environmental aspects of their programs.
  • Endeavour to ensure that classroom teachers have the support they require to engage in environmentally-oriented activities.
  • Maintain liaison with COEO, STAO and OAGEE.

d) The Membership and Communications Committee will:

  • Assist the Membership Coordinator with membership renewals, membership list maintenance, and other such activities.
  • Solicit new members by advertising in other journals and media such as OTF flyers.
  • Ensure that educators across the province are aware of the work of the Curriculum and Outreach Committee, the Editorial Committee, and the Annual Conference Committee.
  • Work with committees which have the potential to increase OSEE membership: Annual Conference, Editorial, Curriculum and Outreach.
  • Endeavour to prepare and distribute to the membership at least two (2) four-page newsletters per year.
  • Operate on a membership year that extends fromMay 1 to April 30.

e) The Annual Conference Committee will:

  • Plan, administer, and evaluate the Annual Conference.
  • Work with the Membership and Communications Committee to ensure that the conference is well-publicized.
  • Work with the Finance and Property Committee to address financial aspects of the Annual Conference.

f) The Website Maintenance Committee will:

  • Register, publish, and maintain the website address.
  • Update the website several times per year.
  • Solicit the assistance of the Editorial Committee and the Curriculum and Outreach Committee in the revision of the web pages.

Article 9: Fees

  • The annual membership fee for this association shall be set by the Board at the first meeting following the Annual General Meeting.
  • Cheques will be made payable to OSEE and collected by the Membership Coordinator.

Article 10: Non-profit Organization

The business of this association shall be conducted without financial gain. Any revenue from its operations shall be used to promote its goal and aims.

Article 11: Amendments

The constitution of OSEE may be amended or repealed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of  the members present at an annual meeting, provided 60 days notice is given to the Secretary and President prior to the date of the annual meeting or by a nine-tenths majority if less than 60 days notice is given.




  • Only members in good standing shall vote on business matters at the Annual General Meeting.
  • Only members in good standing shall be eligible for office.
  • An Annual General Meeting shall be held, with the location and date to be determined by the board and announced to all members in Interactions or by direct communication.
  • A quorum for Board meetings shall be a simple majority, provided ten (10) days notice is given.

Elections and Terms of Office

  • A Nominating Committee comprised of the Past President (committee chair) and any two members in good standing will prepare a slate of names for Executive and other Board positions 30 days prior to the Annual General Meeting. Further nominations will be sought at the Annual General Meeting, and nominations will not be closed until that has happened.
  • The terms of office of the Past President, President, First Vice-president, Second Vice-president will normally be two (2) years, with expected rotation to the presidency from First-, then Second-vice president. These terms may be extended for one additional year provided the extension is approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Board.
  • The terms of office of the Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of the Editorial Committee, Membership Coordinator, and Directors will be three (3) years, normally renewable once.
  • The election of officers shall be by open vote unless a request for secret ballot comes from any one member.
  • In the event of a secret ballot, two scrutineers will be appointed at the meeting to count ballots and supervise elections.
  • Members must appoint an auditor to hold office commencing at each annual meeting. No members of the Board shall be eligible to act as auditor. The audited financial statement will be published in Interactions or by direct communication.


  • Signing officers for all financial business or contracts will be the President or the Treasurer.
  • Board expenses for approved OSEE business will be covered, subject to Board approval. Receipts must be submitted.
  • Membership fees for each year will be set by the Board.
  • The fiscal year will be from May 1 to April 30.
  • The Board will establish policy regarding the acquisition, depreciation, and disposal of equipment.
  • The Editor, Chair of the Editorial Committee, and the Membership Coordinator will normally be paid an annual stipend, the amount to be determined annually by the Board at its first meeting in the Autumn.


  • The Awards Committee shall be comprised of the Past President (chair) and any two members in good standing.
  • Nominations will be solicited, using Interactions, prior to the Annual Conference with presentations of the awards made in conjunction with the Annual Conference.

Recall Procedures

In the event that the President or any other Board member does not perform assigned duties, a letter of concern will be written by the Secretary or other Board members and given to the President or Board member. After the letter is delivered, any four (4) members of the Board may call a Board meeting, provided at least ten (10) days notice is given to all the Board. If the Board defaults, any ten (10) members from the general membership may call a General meeting, provided at least twenty (20) days notice is given to all members.


The By-laws may be amended or repealed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present at an annual meeting provided 60 days notice has been given or by a nine-tenths majority if less than sixty (60) days notice is given.



OSEE and Its Niche in Public Education

The Ontario Society for Environmental Education is a professional organization whose members are elementary, secondary, and post-secondary teachers, people who teach in outdoor education centres or parks, and other people who are involved directly or indirectly with environmental education. Membership is open to all teachers, students, parents and other persons dedicated to the promotion and improvement of environmental education

Until 1990 OSEE was known as the Environmental Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (ESTAO). At that time the name was changed and its mandate was broadened to serve the interests of all educators interested in environmental education. OSEE is an Ontario organization that supports the work of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM).

OSEE’s activities include publishing Interactions – The Ontario Journal of Environmental Education, holding an annual conference, providing workshops and professional development activities, participating in writing and reviewing provincial curriculum, writing and providing resources for the use of those involved in environmental education, maintaining a website for the purpose of promoting and improving environmental education and for the purpose of communicating with members and other interested persons, advocating for environmental education, communicating with the Ministry of Education and other education organizations, and linking with and supporting the activities and resources of other environmental education organizations.

Mission and Goal of the Ontario Society for Environmental Education

The goal of environmental education, and therefore of OSEE, is to develop a population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones. (from UNESCO Occasional Paper 31)

OSEE promotes the following Expectations of Ontario Students

By the end of Grade 12 ,students in the Ontario school systems will:

  • display environmentally-oriented social values, deep feelings of concern for the environment, and the motivation to become actively involved in the protection and improvement of the environment.
  • demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to the total environment and its associated problems.
  • exhibit a basic understanding of the total environment, based on the ecosystem concept.
  • analyze environmental problems and the critically important roles of humans, both in the creation of many of these problems and in their solutions.
  • use the skills required for solving environmental problems.
  • demonstrate a deep sense of responsibility and urgency regarding environmental problems and become involved in appropriate action to solve those problems.
  • evaluate environmental measures, industrial and commercial projects, governmental policies and environmentally-oriented writings in terms of ecological, social, political, economic, aesthetic, and educational parameters.
  • consider the environment in its totality – natural and human-made, ecological, cultural, aesthetic, economic, political, social, technological, and legislative.
  • approach the investigation of environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • participate in solving and preventing environmental problems.
  • demonstrate a range of interests in environmental issues, including both current and future situations.
  • analyze growth and development from and ecological perspective.
  • demonstrate an awareness that environmental education is a continuous life-long process.
  • examine appropriate environmental issues from a world point of view.
  • display an understanding of the value and necessity of local, provincial, national, and international cooperation in the solving of environmental problems.
  • display the attitudes, knowledge, and skills required for participation in the solving of local and regional environmental problems.
  • understand the knowledge and skills required to engage in further education and/or employment in a variety of environmentally related fields.
  • gather knowledge about the environment by first-order methods such as nature walks, field trips, hikes, and nature photography.
  • gather knowledge about the environment by second-order methods such as library research, Internet research, and home reading.
  • use communicative skills to effectively promote environmentally positive behaviour among others.

The Aims of the Ontario Society for Environmental Education

In order to attain the goal of OSEE and the expectations of Ontario Students as stated above, the aims of OSEE are as follows:

  • to improve the understanding, attitudes, and behaviours of Ontarians in regard to the environment and in regard to solving various environmental problems.
  • to promote the development of a positive environmental ethic in the Ontario society.
  • to promote the growth of environmental education in Ontario.
  • to improve the quality of environmental education in Ontario.
  • to serve as a liaison between OSEE members and government agencies such as the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Natural Resources, other subject associations. and other environmental organizations.
  • to conduct professional development activities for educators in Ontario which will increase their knowledge of environmental issues and their skill in educational practices relating to environmental topics.
  • to contribute to the development of curriculum guidelines to ensure that environmental concerns are included and adequately addressed.
  • to encourage the use by educators of a wide variety of learning resources relating to the environment.
  • to publish at least 5 issues annually of Interactions: The Ontario Journal of Environmental Education. This professional journal will be designed to disseminate current knowledge, teaching ideas, and materials concerning the environment.
  • to conduct an environmentally-focused annual conference consisting of diverse presentations and activities for educators and others interested in the environment.
  • to conduct environmentally-focused regional workshops for educators across Ontario.
  • to maintain a website that provides environmentally-focused educational resources, information about OSEE as a organization, and information about OSEE-sponsored workshops and conferences.