NAEP History

About NAEP's Logo

The National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) is proud to announce a new logo and updated style for its publications. We developed our new logo and tagline, “Be Connected,” after extensive outreach and interviews with members and non-members of NAEP across public, private, and non-profit sectors.

We believe our knowledge and expertise contributes to a vibrant and sustainable future. Our new branding represents the multi-disciplinary, collaborative nature of our work and our continued dedication to the highest level of professional excellence and service.

Our profession has its roots in the landmark legislation of the 1960s and 1970s such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. NAEP has represented our profession since its founding in 1975. While our “look” is new, we remain dedicated to supporting environmental professionals by connecting our members with each other and with the national environmental leadership. Together we advance the profession and the professionals by providing leadership, information, and community that builds excellence.

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The Original NAEP Logo

In 1993, NAEP filed a trademark application requesting registration of the NAEP logo. NAEP is the only organization entitled to use this logo. According to the first issue, Volume 1, Number 1, of the NAEP Newsletter:

The original logo for the NAEP is a globe, Planet Earth, but simultaneously the flame red of the Sun, the Wave representing the dynamics of change, the seasons, of Man's actions and impact.

The letters, NAEP, were in the past super-imposed, representing the name of the professional society, symbolizing an imaginary tool, man's genius for inventive solutions. Today, the logo consists of the stylized sphere only. An NAEP chapter may use the NAEP logo modified to reflect the chapter's geographical location on all appropriate printed material. The chapter shall provide a copy of the modified logo to NAEP. If the chapter does not wish to modify the logo, it may use the NAEP logo with its name and the words, "An Affiliated Chapter of NAEP."

Additional information on the proper use of the NAEP logo is provided in our posted Copyright Notice.

Creation and Evolution of the Environmental Professions

The Environmental Professional

The catalyst for the creation of the environmental profession was the landmark legislation that was signed into law on January 1, 1970...the "National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)." In a nutshell, NEPA required a major change in the way in which future habitat would be provided for the complex animal species, homo sapiens, in the United States and created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to assure the uniform application of NEPA provisions.

Most germane to the creation of the environmental professional was the language of Section 102 (A) of NEPA which mandated that all agencies of the Federal Government shall "utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decision making which may have an impact on man's environment." All of the professional disciplines necessary to carry out this mandate existed at the time...except for one! No discipline existed that provided sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled professionals to evaluate and to objectively give appropriate weight to the technical input of the varied disciplines required to assess the impacts of an action using the "interdisciplinary approach." As time proved, this was clearly a requirement of the day.

The law covered actions that involved federal funds, and though the prime responsibility was with the federal agencies, actions sponsored by state agencies receiving federal monies were also directly involved. Since these federal and state agencies did not yet have the interdisciplinary staffs to comply with the law, they had to initially look to the private sector to provide the interactive interdisciplinary study teams required.

The demand for project managers with some environmental experience far exceeded availability and those who were available represented many different professions...engineers, biologists, urban planners, geologists, etc. All had to shift emphasis from practicing their specific disciplines to learning enough about the other involved disciplines to objectively manage their projects.

At the same time, the academic community recognized the shortage and need to develop degree programs to formally teach what the environmental project managers were then learning by experience. Most major colleges were quick to develop curriculum which crossed many disciplinary lines to provide the required interdisciplinary knowledge. By 1975, many students were graduating with degrees such as environmental science.

As might be expected from the initial years of shortages of qualified professionals and the great demand for professional services from the private sector, few in the private sector were accepting assignments for which they were not qualified and others were taking license with facts to favor their clients projects. By 1975, it became clear to the responsible professional environmental community that they were part of a newly created professional discipline and that the following situations required formal community action:

  • Both experienced managers who had moved away from their former disciplines and had become qualified managers of environmental projects through informal learning and experience and new graduates who had been formally cross trained in many disciplines, had no peer group and no recognized professional label.
  • That no overall code of ethical practices existed to govern the professional practice of those within the professional environmental community.

The National Association of Environmental Professionals

The action taken was the founding of the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) as the peer group representing the "Environmental Professional." The cornerstone of the new Association was its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Environmental Professionals. With this action the new discipline, the Environmental Professional had its label and its peer group.

When CEQ held its formal hearings in 1978 on proposed revisions to its regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA, NAEP was the only professional association officially invited to give testimony, thereby giving federal recognition to NAEP and its membership of environmental professionals.

The evolution of the Environmental Professional was still not complete. By 1977, many of the early environmental project managers had become highly qualified and were in competition with other disciplines for senior positions...yet there was no mechanism for formal peer recognition such as registration for engineers, certification for urban planners, foresters, architects, etc. NAEP again took action, and in the remarkably short time of two years from concept, NAEP had its fledgling Certification Program in place by 1979.

This same year saw the first issue of The Environmental Professional, the official quarterly journal of NAEP, another big step for the new profession.

Over the years, the myriad of environmental laws, executive orders, and regulations that have come into being since NEPA have resulted in many new environmentally oriented professional specialties being developed that better fit within the environmental professional discipline than any other. As a result, NAEP programs have been continuously updated and refined to adjust to an expanding and diversifying membership base and to the professional needs of the Environmental Professional.