Best Practices for Environmental History Events
Environmental History Week is a volunteer-run celebration of environmental history practice, experiences and scholarship. Events can take nearly any form, from a face-to-face field trip or clean-up (pandemic and local public health rules permitting), to curriculum projects, student research presentations, public lectures, and scholarly panels.
To help you organize your event, we offer the following recommendations and resources from the AHA Guide for Participant-Produced Webinars. If you have suggestions you wish to share with others, please email them to email@example.com.
Recommendations for all EHW Events:
Listing your Event and Connecting with your Audience
Submit this form to add an event to the Environmental History Week web page. ASEH has compiled a number of resources to help you organize a successful event. We encourage you to review some basic answers to common questions. We encourage you to consider your needs, and if desired, apply for funding to help produce your event.
By April 1, please use this form (add link) to send us the link your audience will use to join your event. We will list these links in an Environmental History Week program on the EHW webpage.
Formats for Virtual Sessions (from AHA Guide)
When planning a virtual session, it is important to think about the format or structure that best suits you and your fellow panelists—how many speakers you have, what kind of engagement you are looking for from attendees, and what technology you have at your disposal. Formats can range from pre-circulating written remarks and holding a live Q&A session on social media to recording a podcast or webinar.
When access is available, we strongly encourage participants to work with their institution’s IT department to explore session format possibilities. Sessions can take on a variety of formats, and speaking with someone who is familiar with the available platforms will be your best source of advice.
Before settling on a format for your session, consider the capabilities of the videoconferencing system you will be using.
Webinar technology allows the host to broadcast the panelists and allows attendees to comment using the Q&A function, without an intermediary step for limiting their access. If you do not have webinar capability, you might consider providing an email address or form for attendees to request the link.
Keep in mind that even if webinar software is not available, meeting platforms may still be able to livestream to Facebook or YouTube, effectively turning meetings into a webinar with a comment section. For example, a meeting with only the panelists invited can be broadcast to Facebook where viewers can comment on the video. While this adds an extra step, it allows for a more controlled meeting.
Permissions and Security (from AHA Guide)
Whatever format or platform you use, you will need to decide how audience members will participate and how much access they will have. Most platforms give the host the ability to limit participant permissions to share video, unmute themselves, send chats, and more.
It is important to manage permissions before and during a virtual session to prevent any accidental or intentional disruptions (e.g. “Zoom bombers”). To prevent this from happening, do not provide your login, host link, or meeting code to session attendees.
There are many resources online for learning more about best practices for videoconferencing security, including these federal best practices; you may also want to consult your IT department for advice.
Most major teleconferencing platforms have instructions on how to secure your meeting. Some popular options across many platforms are using passcodes, waiting rooms, muting participants upon entry, and limiting screen sharing permissions to only the host.
Video Session Types and Recommended Set Ups (from AHA Guide)
Below is a summary of some potential setups for webinars, roundtables, seminars, live-streamed, and pre-recorded sessions.
During the Session (from AHA Guide)
Ask the host/chair and panelists to join the meeting about 15 minutes prior to the session in order to test tech equipment, sound, WiFi, etc. You may want to send panelists our best practices for participating in a webinar. Be sure to begin recording the webinar before the introductions begin and make sure it is capturing video in the format that you would like. For example, it may show all panelists all the time, or only the person speaking. Inform participants of the webinar format and that it is being recorded.
When the webinar begins, remind attendees and participants that the meeting is being recorded and how it will be used, for example if you will be submitting the recording to be posted on the AHA YouTube channel. Also remind them that everyone must adhere to the Virtual AHA Policies and Etiquette.
If you are taking questions, chairs should collect questions through the chat and relay them to the panelists verbally when they are ready to take questions. Moderators should use the name of the person who asked the question, if known, and summarize or read questions to the presenters. It is important not to give an answer without first reading out the question. We strongly advise against having attendees turn on their video/audio to ask questions as this usually slows down the event and causes confusion as to who is muted/unmuted.
See our guidelines for webinar chairs and moderators for additional tips about moderating a discussion.
Networking events without formal presentations
During a Networking Event
After a Networking Event:
Face-to-face events can include field trips, self-guided field trips, neighborhood clean-ups or other service projects, seminars or workshops. All face-to-face events should comply with local public health guidelines.
Listings for face-to-face events must include a cancelation date (a date by which you will make a decision to cancel, should public health conditions require), and a description of how you will notify participants that the event is cancelled.
Listings for face-to-face events should also include clear instructions on where to find the event, and, if the event is outdoors, what clothing, footwear, equipment, food and water participants should bring with them. Outdoor event listings should also indicate if the event will be cancelled because of inclement weather.
Publicity Kit: Information and links to help you organize and publicize your event
Thank you for adding your event to Environmental History Week. We will create a page for your event on the Environmental History Week events calendar. Please send any information, images, or details you would like to add to this event page.
ASEH has compiled a number of resources to help you organize a successful event. We encourage you to review some basic answers to common questions. If you are planning a virtual event, we have adapted a guide for best practices for virtual events, draw from the AHA's guides for organizing events.
We encourage you to consider your needs, and if desired, apply for funding to help produce your event.
If you are promoting your event elsewhere, on your website or social media, you can include some basic information on Environmental History Week, along with some links and art. If desired, please use all or part of the language, links, and logos below:
“Environmental History Week is an international celebration of environmental history, organized by environmental historians of all stripes to foster scholarly collaboration, academic research, teaching and public awareness of environmental history. Environmental History Week is April 19-26, 2021,but events will occur all month.
Find an event in your area of interest of geographic location in the Environmental History Week Events Calendar.
The American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) is coordinating Environmental History Week, but environmental history, humanities, and activism is happening all over the world. Please explore the many organizations around the globe supporting environmental history [link], including our colleagues at the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO) and its member organizations.
Please consider joining ASEH and/or one of our Environmental History Week international partners.