Recipient of the 2019 Environmental Design Research Association's Achievement Award: "A richly illustrated, essential guide to engaging children and youth in the planning and design of inclusive, sustainable cities" from New Village Press. Placemaking with Children and Youth
View the Spring 2019 Capstone Abstracts. Con traducción al español.
Read the results from an environmental literacy assessment with Elkhorn Slough Foundation and North Monterey County High School.
Learn about NXTerra, a UC-CSU project by scholar activists to support the promotion of transformative education for climate justice and action by visiting the Teaching page.
Read our policy recommendations for farmworkers and climate justice in the Pájaro Valley and view the first fact sheet about research in the valley on the Engagement Lab pages, on our partner Regeneracion: Pajaro Valley Climate Action's website, or in this Voices of Monterey Bay article.
See images, research poster, and project report from The Engagement Lab's latest project: The Ethnobotany Project at Los Arboles Middle School.
I am an Assistant Professor at California State University Monterey Bay, where I focus on environmental education and healthy and sustainable communities, primarily through The Engagement Lab. For more than 20 years, I have engaged children, youth and communities in participatory research in both rural and urban settings with diverse populations, including tribal communities of the Southwest, Spanish land grant communities, and recent immigrants. From 2012-2016, I was the faculty coordinator for Growing Up Boulder at the University of Colorado, where I facilitated children and youth participation in design and planning of child-friendly cities, including parks, open space, transportation, resiliency, and neighborhood projects. Prior to that I ran Crane Collaborations, which focused on youth engagement, environmental education, and community forestry in New Mexican communities. My recent research has focused on children, nature, and resilience in the U.S. and Mexico. Current research focuses on unpacking the relationships between children/youth/young adults, nature/environment, and culture in a transnational Latinx context, in the U.S. and Mexico.
I have also been a professional textile artist, and will travel anywhere there are beautiful textiles, nature and culture intertwined. You can contact me at vderr at csumb.edu
Teresa, one of the participants in my dissertation research in New Mexico, standing in front of "her" park, a place of family murals and memories that helped sustain her through hard times. She signifies for me the importance of sense of place as a starting point for understanding people's relationship to the environment.