Frequently Asked Questions

What will you get?

• Ideas about what environmental evaluation in the public good means and looks like
• Practical lessons about what works (and what doesn’t)
• New relationships with partners and colleagues in other organizations
• The opportunity to share what you have learned and multiply its value

Who should attend?

Are you working in an agency or organization that implements environmental programs? Do you evaluate environmental programs or policies? Are you concerned about evaluation being used for the public good?

We welcome domestic and international evaluators and users of evaluation with an interest in environmental evaluation (e.g., conservation, environmental protection, natural resource management and sustainable development) working in any context, from government agencies to nonprofits, consulting firms to academia.

Who is hosting the event?

The Environmental Evaluators Network and the American Evaluation Association are partnering to convene the Forum Unconference. Co-sponsors include: the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Fish and Wildlife FoundationAmerican UniversityEnergy Market InnovationsIndustrial Economics Inc., and The George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

What is an Unconference?

To further support the organic, self-organizing and adaptive nature of the EEN and its participants’ purpose to advance the field of environmental evaluation through collective learning, the 2012 Forum will provide an “open space” for you and your colleagues, through facilitators, to design the agenda and content of the Forum. As a 2012 EEN/AEA Forum participant, success is in your capable hands! Unlike traditional conferences, there will be no formal panels or speeches. Everyone, present in person or not (…we’ll get to that), will have the opportunity to share, discuss, network, collaborate and learn throughout the two day event. Here are some ideas for designing and leading a session at the Unconference.

We’ll begin the morning of the first day by gathering everyone together for quick introductions and then we’ll work through a facilitator to set the multi-track conference agenda. Together, we’ll create an agenda that is relevant and inspiring to everyone in the room. All are welcome to put forward presentations or propose conversations, including

• questions you want answered
• information you want to share/present
• a project you would like help on

After the majority of the two-day agenda is set, leaving room for adjustments to the second day’s schedule, participants will use it to navigate Forum sessions, engaging in dialogue around the issues of most importance to your practice and professional development. You are encouraged to shop around, to find the session content and format that is right for your learning needs. Unlike most conferences, where you sit back and listen, we encourage participants to be active and engaged. Be forewarned, you may be asked to serve as a session recorder, or to share your expertise, or to use the technology on hand to contribute to the event’s multi-format record. We’ll provide wireless and want active session reporters, bloggers, and tweeters to document and share what’s happening. All will be posted, designed to elicit comments, suggestions, replies from the outside which will, in turn, contribute to conversations at the Forum.

At the end of the first day, we’ll gather again in the main room to share highlights. The last session of the second day will be a ‘share and create’ event that pulls together our experiences and learning to design next steps – for individuals and/or for EEN.

During and following the event, you’ll be able to review materials and ideas shared from all of the sessions, as well as personal reflections from attendees, on the event website.

The Forum is for you. Bring creativity, knowledge, hard work, vision, enthusiasm, curiosity and networks…and share it all in the spirit of more systematic and collective learning.

Want to get a feel for an unconference? Here is a short video from TransparencyCamp 2011, an unconference hosted by the Sunlight Foundation:

Where is the Forum being held?

The EEN Forum is being held in Ward Hall at American University (AU) at 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW in Washington, DC. Ask anyone on campus when you arrive, or this Interactive Map can help you to locate Ward Hall – it’s the larger of the buildings down near the roundabout (the item that looks a bit like an eye in the bottom right). Roll over any building to identify its name. There is free shuttle service from the Tenleytown-AU stop on the Red Line from the DC Metro Service – just look for the American University Shuttle Bus. Use this google maps link to check metro, biking, or driving directions to American. We strongly encourage you to use public transit, but if you must drive, there is free parking available in the Nebraska Avenue parking lot (the large lot at the bottom center of the interactive map).

Where should I stay if I am coming from out of town?

The Forum holds a courtesy block at the Washington Hilton at 1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009, in the midst of a bustling neighborhood full of local restaurants, boutiques, and bookstores. The Washington Hilton is an easy four block walk from the Dupont Circle Metro stop on the red line – the same line as American University for an easy trip via transit and the university shuttle to the American campus. Be forewarned, parking at the Washington Hilton is $34-$39 per night – we strongly urge you to take advantage of the public transportation options. The rate at the Washington Hilton is $169. This is the US Federal government per diem rate for July, and is available to all attendees, whether working with the federal government or not. If you wish to stay a the Washington Hilton, please make reservations online here.

Alternatively, out of town attendees who will need hotel accommodations may use the google maps link to check transportation options from any DC area hotel – we strongly encourage you to identify a hotel near one of DCs metro stops and to use public transportation or carpooling to get to and from the event. We’ll post details of the exact rooms in which we will be convening and where to go on campus for registration as they become available.

What is included in the $25 registration fee?

The $25 registration fee offsets only a small portion of the expense of hosting the event. The event conveners’ and sponsors’ financial and in-kind contributions offset the majority of the costs. Registered attendees may attend any or all of the Forum, as well as a reception on Wednesday evening. Beverages will be provided during morning and afternoon breaks but attendees will be on their own to lunch and network at the centrally located American campus eateries.

How can I get involved?

First and foremost, before the Forum, we encourage you to share session ideas, and to comment on and offer to contribute to suggested session ideas so that they may be refined and strengthened. You’ll need a Google account and can do this via the Google Moderator platform on the EEN website here. Want to discuss the Forum more generally or raise questions? Join in the Forum discussion on EEN’s LinkedIn group. Finally, on the registration form, you’ll be asked to identify ways that you can contribute to the communications team – as a session reporter, blogger, tweeter, photographer, or report synthesizer.

Where should I turn with questions?

If you have questions about registration or logistics, please contact the American Evaluation Office staff at If you have questions about sessions or presenting, please raise them on the Google Moderator site or the EEN LinkedIn group.

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