2020 proved to be a watershed year for the EcoDistricts Accredited Professional (AP) program, growing by an extraordinary 350% in nine months and welcoming 500 new professionals into our community of practice. AP is designed to introduce architects, planners, landscape architects, urban designers, public policy makers, developers, and staff members at public redevelopment agencies and community-based organizations to the EcoDistricts Protocol and deepen their understanding of how projects can become successfully certified.
With APs now in 40 states and 30 countries, we will focus 2021 on skill-building, networking, and advocacy. We will begin by investing in new online training in the areas of racial equity, and health & wellbeing. We are removing barriers for those wanting to become an AP by cutting fees by two-thirds to just $95 for the online AP training and exam. Finally, we are launching a new AP networking program to better connect leaders looking to advocate for EcoDistrict projects and public policies in their communities. We hope our investments in AP will offer opportunities for more individuals to expand our growing network and join us in fighting for equity, resilience, and climate protection.
New for 2021:
- “Stories from the Ground” Blog: EcoDistricts APs will share their work on email and social media platforms through a blog series authored by APs who are applying the Protocol to their district-level work in communities globally. The goal is to capture Protocol applications and provide a wider audience for AP recognition.
- AP-Exclusive Webinars: This series will be led by fellow APs sharing experiences and challenges applying the Protocol in their work. These webinars will help APs build knowledge and create a community of practice.
- Regional Virtual AP Networking Events: EcoDistricts will coordinate virtual informal networking events for the AP community to share their work, encouraging APs to connect and potentially collaborate on projects that intersect.
- Revamping Online Training/Addition of Race Equity & Health & Wellbeing Modules: Online training will be updated and new training modules added that specifically focus on Equity and Health & Wellbeing. These will be shared with APs and added as required learning prior to recredentialing.
- Centering BIPOC Leadership in the AP Program: The AP program is intentionally centering BIPOC leadership and learning as a commitment to broadening voices from a historically white-dominant field to spotlight long-standing issues of racial exclusion, segregation and wealth stripping. The goal is to help expand knowledge and experiences within the AP community, and to make our programming more accessible and relevant as part of our commitment to racial equity and DEI. This includes BIPOC-led webinars and partnerships with BIPOC organizations such as the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program and Women of Color Collective in Sustainability to create scholarship programs to reduce cost as a barrier to earning the AP credential and reinforce the professional value of the credential.