Recent EE Related News
- The New Environmental Education is Good for All of Us (Tue, 14 May 2013)
- Commentary: Children and Outside Learning (Wed, 01 May 2013)
- Five Cutting Edge Monographs from the National Recreation and Park Association (Thu, 25 Apr 2013)
- News-Record.com : Greensboro Science Center deemed a ‘magnetic museum’ (Wed, 24 Apr 2013)
- NCSU Researchers Release Environmental Literacy Study (Thu, 18 Apr 2013)
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- The New Environmental Education is Good for All of Us (2013-05-17)
- Environmental Education Certification Program Update (2013-05-17)
- The EE Grants Page Pays Off Again (and Again and Again) (2013-05-14)
- Alexander Wilson Elementary E.C.O. Campus Opening Featured on News 14 Carolina (2013-05-14)
- Remember: Love of Nature Precedes Caring for the Environment (2013-05-13)
- Connecting environmental education and STEM (2013-05-06)
- U.S. Education Secretary Talks Environmental Education/STEM for EE Week (2013-04-15)
- NCSU Researchers Release Environmental Literacy Study (2013-04-08)
- EE Certification is Really Hopping! (2013-04-08)
- NAAEE Releases Status Report on State Environmental Literacy Plans (2013-04-04)
- National EE Week 2013 April 14-20, 2013 (2013-03-12)
- An Environmental Educator's Response to David Sobel's "Look, Don't Touch" (2013-02-05)
- National Council for Science and the Environment Presents to Federal Task Force on Environmental Education (2012-12-20)
- Environmental Educators of North Carolina Announces Award Winners (2012-12-20)
- EE Week 2013 Theme: Taking Technology Outdoors (2012-12-19)
- The EE research is in...outdoor learning is good for you (2012-12-19)
- EPA Appoints 11 New Members to the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (2012-12-04)
- Grants, Grants and more Grants... (2012-11-15)
- EE Jobs and Internships: NC's "Go To" Site for Jobs in the Environmental Education Field (2012-10-17)
- Durham Public Schools Developing "Hub" Farm for Environmental Education (2012-10-16)
- Montreat College Preparing for 4th Cohort of Master of Science in Environmental Education Students (2012-10-16)
- North Carolinians Present Research at North American Association for Environmental Education Conference (2012-10-10)
- City of Greensboro to Offer Mobile Environmental Education Classroom (2012-10-04)
- Rediscover nature during 6th annual Take A Child Outside Week, Sept. 24-30 (2012-09-20)
- N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs Joins in Take A Child Outside Week Efforts (2012-09-20)
The environmental education newsletter of the North Carolina
Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs.
The New Environmental Education is Good for All of Us
Twenty years ago, the term Environmental Education left a sour taste in most people’s mouths. Perhaps it still does for some, but it shouldn’t. Most everyone in my current profession will agree that Environmental Education hasn’t always been done well and in the 1980’s and 90’s, even when it was; the term had been hijacked in popular culture by agenda-based organizations and lobbying groups.
Moreover, anything accompanied by the word environmental was often assumed to indicate a negative for industry, agriculture or progress in general. It is long overdue for us to recommit to the word ‘environment’ for what it really is, the space in which we all live and rely upon as an endless provider. Read the rest of Andy's opinion piece in the Silver Pinyon Journal.
Environmental Education Certification Program Update
|Lauren, an education naturalist at the Western NC Nature Center, is one of North Carolina's|
most recently certified environmental educators.
Congratulations to the following individuals for earning their North Carolina Environmental Educator Certification:
North Carolina Baptist Assembly, Fort Caswell
Durham Soil and Water Conservation District
Orange County Partnership for Young Children
North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Watauga County
Western North Carolina Nature Center, Asheville
Learning Outside, Pittsboro
Forsyth Country Day School
To learn more about these and other recently certified individuals visit http://certifiedenvironmentaleducators.blogspot.com/
In other news, the online certification management system is currently undergoing a major upgrade. By mid-summer, enrollees and certified individuals will find more options and increased usability in tracking their credits.
The North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program, managed by the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs, has certified more than 1,000 individuals. This 200-hour program recognizes professional development in environmental education and establishes standards for professional excellence in the field for formal and non-formal educators. It consists of workshops, field experiences, teaching experiences and an environmental education community partnership project.
To more about the program, including the enrollment process, are available at http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/certification--about-the-program.html
The EE Grants Page Pays Off Again (and Again and Again)
|Kendyll doing some early scouting for their upcoming Women Paddling Into Science Program, funded by a grant they found on the EE Grants page.|
|Volunteers plant long leaf pine seedlings at Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center. The trees were provided by the National Wildlife Federations Tree Bank Program that Johnston Community College learned of on the EE Grants page.|
Alexander Wilson Elementary E.C.O. Campus Opening Featured on News 14 Carolina
|Click photo to view the video|
Alexander Wilson is listed as one of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs "EE Schools." Follow the link to learn more and to find out how other schools can apply.
Remember: Love of Nature Precedes Caring for the Environment
|Source: Nature Explorers http://ncbg.unc.edu/|
The appropriate age for imparting knowledge about environmental systems and concerns depends entirely on the individual, but most research says not until at least fourth grade or even middle school. Here is a good article that summarizes much of the research: http://www.whitehutchinson.com/children/articles/nurturing.shtml
|Source: "Forts, land trusts, and conservation behavior"|
Quality environmental education events for children that focus on exploration and discovery of the natural world help foster a love of nature in children. Good examples of these types of programs can be found on the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs' calendar.
Connecting environmental education and STEM
This year's theme for National Environmental Education Week was "Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors." This is part of a multi-year "Greening STEM" focus by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to show that hands-on environmental education projects can enrich learning in science, technology, engineering and math education.
Recently, Jennifer Tabola, senior director of education for NEEF, was featured in following guest blog for Change the Equation, a "nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the United States." http://changetheequation.org/
Here it is below, reprinted in its entirety with permission from Change the Equation and NEEF.
U.S. Education Secretary Talks Environmental Education/STEM for EE Week
NCSU Researchers Release Environmental Literacy Study
Researchers in the N.C. State University College of Natural Resources have released a study on environmental literacy among North Carolina middle school students. Environmental, Institutional, and Demographic Predictors of Environmental Literacy among Middle School Children can be found in the in the online, open access peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.
CNR Research Fact Sheet
CNR News Release: Outdoor Education Helps Minority Students Close Gap in Environmental Literacy
Complete article in PLOS ONE
The study shows that several factors have a positive effect on environmental literacy for various student groups, including time spent in outdoor learning experiences, the use of published environmental education curricula and teacher experience and education level.
This project was funded by North Carolina Sea Grant. Kathryn T. Stevenson and Dr. Nils Peterson in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at N.C. State University partnered with members of the N.C. Environmental Literacy Plan working group during the research process. The partners plan to use this study as a baseline of environmental literacy in future research and program planning.
For more information about the N.C. Environmental Literacy Plan go to the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website:
EE Certification is Really Hopping!
|Jenny Fuller from the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell|
The North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program is really on the move! New enrollments arrive weekly and the Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs has recently awarded several certificates. You can read about some of our state's certified environmental educators at on our blog: http://certifiedenvironmentaleducators.blogspot.com/
You can also access the profiles from the main EE Certification site, which also lists all N.C. Certified Environmental Educators by county. http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/certification--meet-certified-educators.html
The North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program has certified more than 1,000 individuals. This 200-hour program recognizes professional development in environmental education and establishes standards for professional excellence in the field for formal and non-formal educators. It consists of workshops, field experiences, teaching experiences and an environmental education community partnership project.
To more about the program, including the enrollment process, are available at http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/certification--about-the-program.html
NAAEE Releases Status Report on State Environmental Literacy Plans
The North American Association for Environmental Education has released a report on state environmental literacy plans. Forty-eight states (including the District of Columbia) responded to the survey about the progress of their state plan. According to NAAEE, state environmental literacy plans are "comprehensive frameworks that support school systems in expanding and improving environmental education programs." The report can be viewed here: http://www.naaee.net/sites/default/files/us/affiliates/SELP_final.pdf
North Carolina's environmental literacy plan was developed by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resoruces Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with Environmental Educators of North Carolina and the North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers, with additional input from a wide range stakeholders in the education and environmental communities. The final draft form of our state plan is currently available on the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website.
National EE Week 2013 April 14-20, 2013
National Environmental Education Week is here!
Hosted by NEEF, the National Environmental Education Foundation, EE Week is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education held each year the week before Earth Day and inspires environmental learning and stewardship among K-12 students. The 2013 theme, Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors, will explore how technology can enhance environmental learning both inside and outside the classroom. Part of NEEF's series on Greening STEM.
As part of Taking Technology Outdoors, EE Week will highlight the growing opportunity to engage today's students in learning about the environment by "plugging into nature" through new technologies that enable scientific research and 21st century skills including creativity, innovation, communication, and collaboration.
Educators who register for EE Week 2013 will be able to take advantage of:
- Free educator webinars and toolkits offering tips, tricks, resources, and ideas for using the latest technology to excite students about environmental learning in their community
- Case studies, success stories, and examples of technology in action and the teachers who are using it to enhance environmental learning and achievement in core subject areas
- Discounts, giveaways, and special offers from NEEF partners
An Environmental Educator's Response to David Sobel's "Look, Don't Touch"
Much of environmental education today has taken on a museum mentality, where nature is a composed exhibit on the other side of the glass. Children can look at it and study it, but they can’t do anything with it. The message is: Nature is fragile. Look, but don’t touch. Ironically, this “take only photographs, leave only footprints” mindset crops up in the policies and programs of many organizations trying to preserve the natural world and cultivate children’s relationships to it.
If you have not read the entire article (or need a refresher) it is still available on the Orion website, which also includes an audio clip of an interview with Sobel that is also well worth a listen.
David Sobel is a well-known and well-respected academic, teacher and author in the environmental education community. While he makes some very thought provoking points in the article and certainly offers a valid challenge to the environmental education community, some North Carolina environmental educators felt the article unfairly characterized the profession and many of the environmental education centers that offer programming.
One such environmental educator is Camilla Wilcox, who recently retired after an active thirty-two year career as an environmental educator for young children. She was so moved by Sobel's article that she decided to send the following response to Orion. As of today, it has not been published by Orion, so it is posted below in its entirety with Camilla's permission.
To the editors of Orion:
I retired in July of 2012 after thirty-two years as curator of education for Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I was in charge of school field trip and summer programs. Most of the children with whom I worked were in grades K through 5. This is my perspective on the article by David Sobel in the July/August issue of Orion.
When I became curator of education at a public garden in 1980, I was not long past my own idyllic childhood years, which were much like those so lovingly described by the majority of the respondents to the Sobel article, nor were the parents, teachers, and volunteers with whom I worked. There was no difference between the desires of teachers who brought their students for field trips and the education volunteers, who led them on walks through the gardens, meadows, woods, and greenhouses. We partnered to provide opportunities for children to make connections between the science of books and the tangible, intricate workings of the natural world. Most of the children we saw then were much like we had been at their age. They also played freely in their neighborhoods or did chores around the farm after school. When they came to us, they felt at home in nature. They knew that the field trip was an extension of the classroom and that they would learn information that would help them understand nature and science better. Communication flowed easily among all of us. Children did not need to attend weekend or summer programs because they generated their own adventure and exploration at home.
Over the next three decades, I created and directed a multitude of seasonally oriented, science-based field trip programs; in later years, I added weekend, after school, and summer programs. Working with hundreds of thousands of teachers, children, and parents over the years, I witnessed first-hand the crumbling of the "natural" childhood. I saw one generation become less knowledgeable about the natural world than the one before. Paralyzing fear of the outdoors gradually replaced the comfortable curiosity and sense of adventure that children had once known. Science instruction in the classroom became fragmented into activities that could be taught from a kit, regardless of the instructor’s breadth of knowledge or understanding of context. As time went on, new teachers and young parents often did not know the most basic facts about the natural world, but they still trusted that they could turn imparting this information over to us. They learned from us, alongside their children. Then, school budgets tightened and pressures on the school day increased. The nature field trip became expendable. In short order, some of this nation’s finest nature educators, our volunteers, were left standing at trailside, with very few children to lead.
As nature has been shoved into smaller and smaller places, so has the nature education of children, and so, in a sense, Mr. Sobel is right to place the responsibility of environmental education on the few who staff the parks and public gardens; after all, they often toil within places that are the last vestiges of once-vibrant ecosystems, and they are among the very few who are willing to dedicate their lives to learning about nature and to sharing their knowledge. But passing knowledge of the natural world on through generations cannot be the sole responsibility of environmental education specialists. There are so few of them; they simply cannot be everywhere at once.
If ever there has been an educational emergency, this is it: To very quickly bring an entire population—not just the children, but everyone—up to a high level of awareness of the natural world. The most vital and basic information about the earth’s functions is being lost at a velocity that would have been unthinkable only thirty-two years ago. Without very quick action, the loss will be irretrievable. Many of those who are anxious to superimpose their own memories on children of today, to grant them the luxury that we had to let the world and its wonders unfold in our consciousness slowly over long childhood years, don’t seem to realize that while they debate, wish, long, and wring their hands over what to do, the earth is out of time. Decisions that must be made now and in the very near future must be made by people who are informed about the natural world and understand the consequences of human actions on it. Metaphorically speaking, the boat that carries our generation is drifting farther and farther away from those children so contentedly building forts on the shore. The children may be reaching out to us for guidance now, but pretty soon they’ll be so involved in their play that they won’t even look up. And we’ll be gone. Then where will they be?
If we reflect on the enormous task of educating children about nature, I think we can agree that it is too great for a few dedicated people to bear alone and that, in fact, children’s learning is the responsibility of an entire population. But how can we, as a society, possibly develop a successful nature education scheme that applies to each place and is meaningful to each child? Every one of us occupies a more or less unique habitat, and each of the children who needs our help is also unique. To compound the problem, most adults now possess a very bare amount of nature knowledge. What do they have to offer?
There is no handbook, list of activities, or prescription that will solve this dilemma, but I propose that there is a philosophy that will serve us all well. It is based on this question: What do children want? I thought about this question constantly while walking with them in the woods and working alongside them in the garden; talking with their parents, grandparents, and teachers; and watching them participate in activities that I planned for them. It’s important to note that the question is not, What facts to children need to know? Quite frankly, I’m not sure anyone could come up with a list of facts that would suffice for all places, situations, and challenges and that will still be relevant in twenty years. But thinking about what children want acknowledges that they have desires that arise from deep in their souls and that these desires must be met before learning can begin.
Although admittedly it is somewhat easier for me and other environmental educators to answer a child’s question factually, it should be remembered that we haven’t always had the knowledge we have now. What we have done, and what anyone can do, is to retain or regain a sense of amazement at the intricacy of nature, to have a driving curiosity and a desire for learning throughout our lives. By keeping the question, What do children want? in mind, anyone who truly believes that nature education is vital to the future well-being of the planet will be able to educate and guide.
This is what I have learned about what present-day children want and thoughts on how we can help them:
? They want your attention. It’s commonly known that most families today experience some form or degree of chaos at home. It has been firmly established that children are not free to roam outside. It may not surprise you to learn that it’s rare now for someone in the home to take a child for a ramble in a garden or woods. Then, you might ask, who listens to their observations about nature, corrects their mistaken assumptions, applauds the baby steps they take on the way to making connections? Who makes sure that they are aware of their responsibility for life on earth, as you do with your children? At school, the "teachable moment," once pounced upon by the creative teacher, who knew how to engage students and broaden their education, is largely gone, replaced by strictly controlled time slots devoted to measurable tasks. Then, who hears what they think about topics outside of the lesson at hand and thoughtfully answers the seemingly unrelated question? The moment when a child looks into your eyes and knows that you are looking back, listening, and truly aware of him, is irreplaceable in any place or time, but especially so when you are examining nature together, when the child’s eyes open to the world around him.
? They want adventure outside the school walls. Many children essentially live at school, at least five days a week. They begin their day with an early breakfast in the cafeteria and end with dinner there. For better or worse, they are taught and cared for at school. The grounds, often described as similar to prison yards, do not invite exploration. There are no plants in the classrooms. The air is an even temperature, and there are no insects. Imagine a child in this bare, recirculated life and then think carefully about how going outside the school grounds, even for a short time, to explore nature ignites imagination and creates indelible memories.
? They want you to see them for who they are. They are children of today, not yesterday. Thanks to the often maligned, ever-present technology, they know a great deal more than we did at their age. This is their starting point, and this is where we should meet them. The "facts" they present to us may seem confused because of the global template of most of their information sources, but clarification by a knowledgeable adult helps them understand and appreciate the uniqueness of their local environment. Information shared with them may be broad, and scientific technicalities may be omitted until they can understand them, but it doesn’t have to be simplified. Oversimplification does not serve them well. They understand that the world is complex, and they are fascinated with details.
? They want to be treated with respect. They know the difference between play and learning. Because of the way they have been raised, they expect that all of their activities will be planned and that their time will be used appropriately, whether it be for a soccer game or a field trip. They know when they are being manipulated into participating in an activity that is planned to produce an expected, limited outcome or to fill an available time slot. Because children are generally kind, they’ll go along with almost any activity an adult suggests, even if it insults their intelligence, in order to please her, but they thrive when activities are based on a foundation of respect for their intellectual capacity.
? They want to know that there is order in the world, that people before them have discovered it, and that it can be understood. Nature is overwhelming to children who ordinarily see very little of it, and fear of the unknown is a very common reaction to a first visit to a public garden or
park. Countless times I watched children’s fear of entering the garden or woods disappear after a walk with a kind, comforting adult who helped them look beyond the vast wall of earth and sky and focus on the small, observable pieces that fit together to create it.
? They want to understand science; they like to know why and how scientists study the earth; how they recognize, analyze, and solve problems; and they like to think of themselves as scientists. Reynolda Gardens, where I worked, encompasses 130 acres that were once covered with forest, but the land has been changed by multiple strata of human activity. While focusing on such things as commonalities of plant families; learning which animals live in each forest layer; and seeing how wind and water change the face the earth, leaders help children learn about nature in its purest form—how it "ought" to be. Building on this knowledge, children are able to distinguish changes that humans have caused by bringing in invasive plants and animals; fragmenting habitat; and damaging geology. In a very short time, they come to see how the earth has been harmed by human intervention and what might help it recover in the future. Leaders encourage every observation that reflects scientific thinking. But how can a person without a forest preserve or scientific knowledge help a child think in this way? Think of it this way: Every single place that humans inhabit was once as it "ought" to be and has been changed. It’s easy enough to separate the world of parking lots from the world of woods. Most of the education volunteers are not scientists. They are ordinary people, who feel a commitment to share nature with children. So they learn to sketch a flower to find out how it is put together; record the activity of birds and insects in a garden; conduct an experiment on ant species; use a field guide. They write down facts that they learn and questions they want answered. They read observations about nature to children and help them write some of their own. They show the children that the most important part of thinking in a scientific way is having the desire to learn. They understand the power of close observation and live Albert Einstein’s advice: Never stop questioning. With this attitude, anyone—not just trained scientists—can help children understand science.
? They want their own perspectives and boundaries to be respected. They may or may not want to touch snakes, roll down hills, build structures, put on plays, or get their hands dirty. They want to be able to opt out. Pressure to participate in hands-on activities can be just as damaging to some children as the lack of it is for others. Fear, embarrassment, and shame are powerful teachers; they can far outweigh the momentary value of completing an activity that they they truly don’t want to do. For some children, immersion in an activity of their own or their leaders choosing is exactly the right thing to do, but others may not be ready or willing to participate. Yes, a multitude of opportunities of all kinds should be offered, but at the same time we must observe responses very carefully and be cautious with the tender, vulnerable souls, who are entrusted to us so briefly. The effect of our actions, both good and ill as they perceive it, will be part of their memories forever.
? They want to help. They hear the talk about how things will be in a few years: The world will be too hot to support life; the oceans will rise; animals will become extinct. They see dramatic examples of how change has already become evident. Children are empathetic, and they don’t separate their lives here with those of others’ around the world. They see their own faces in
those of Pacific island children clinging to their homes as the ocean rises around them; in those of the children who are trying to live as their ancestors did in rain forests that are being slashed and burned; and in those of the child refugees of drought and famine in Africa. They study distant lands and feel for the children there, but if they themselves were featured in a publication, how would they be portrayed? After all, sea levels on their continent are rising; their climate is heating; the crops that supply their food are threatened by drought and disease. This is the world they are growing up in. Does it show on their own faces yet? They want to change the outcome of these dire predictions, and they think they can, but I wonder whether or not their optimism is warranted. Generations before us assumed that their children would always know how to grow a garden to feed themselves; that they would know that water that is fouled cannot be drunk; that there is a limited amount of fuel to keep us warm in the winter. But that collective memory is largely gone now. Babies born today will be unable to care for themselves, much less the earth, by the time they reach adulthood unless we all shed our reluctance to share what knowledge we have as widely and well as we possibly can.
When the question, "What do children want?" is answered carefully and thoughtfully in each home, school, and nature center we will be able to reverse the decline of knowledge about nature. Learning about the earth will be an expression of a common value of our society. Environmental educators will be revered as the leaders I know them to be, and they will have legions of followers. But, if people are unable or unwilling to address this question, to defer their own responsibility to others; if the trend toward specialization and isolation of environmental educators escalates; and if derision and disdain for their methods continues, the profession will come to be seen by the general public as less and less relevant even as it becomes more and more necessary. I know these educators; they are like the islanders who will hang on until the surf laps their ankles, when all hope seems to be lost. But even they, eventually, will give it up, and then where will we be?
At the end of each week of our Young Naturalists camp, I always said goodbye to the children with this remark: Those of us who know something about nature have a responsibility to share our knowledge. I do, your leaders this week do, and you do. All of the teenagers and adults who have been here with you thought it was so important for you to learn about nature that they set aside the time in their busy lives to help you. After our time together, you have valuable knowledge, and it is now your responsibility to share it. When you invite a friend to explore a stream, celebrate your birthday with a group hike at a state park, explain something you’ve learned this week to your parents and siblings, or comment to a classmate on a flower growing by a sidewalk, you will be sharing your knowledge and expanding someone else’s. The children took that advice very seriously, and they are doing their part to educate others in their homes, neighborhoods, and schools.
The advice for the Young Naturalists holds for the rest of us: Those of us who know something about nature have a responsibility to share our knowledge. All of us, not just some, but all of us, are responsible for the nature education of children.
Camilla Wilcox December 18, 2012
National Council for Science and the Environment Presents to Federal Task Force on Environmental Education
The task force represents a coordinated, Administration-wide approach to foster and strengthen environmental education (EE) activities in the federal government. It will help agencies to leverage EE resources, identify opportunities for collaboration and better coordinate with stakeholders.
The Task Force is chaired by the Deputy Administrator of the EPA and the Deputy Secretaries of Education and Interior and includes the Deputy leaders of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Small Business Administration, National Science Foundation, NASA, Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Dr. Blockstein urged the Task Force to take a broad view of environmental education that advances sustainable development and links with the issues of economy, security, energy, health, and climate change. Noting that there was a role for every agency, Blockstein declared that with appropriate education:
Every job can be a green job
Everyone can be a green consumer
Every home can be a green home
Dr. Blockstein reported on the rapid growth of Interdisciplinary Environmental and Sustainability Education at the college and university level. Climate and Energy Education is also starting to rise (as are global temperatures and sea level). However, quoting the late Ray Anderson, the average college student still graduates oblivious to the realities of a finite Earth.(speech at 2003 NCSE National Conference: Education for a Sustainable and Secure Future).
At the high school level, Environmental Sciences is fastest growing advanced placement (AP) course school, a lack of qualified teachers is a limiting factor.
Blockstein encouraged the agencies to look at environmental education in the context of:
technology providing more opportunities for self-directed learning;
increased scholarship on how people learn and best practices in teaching;
the Essential Principles of Literacy for Oceans, Earth, Climate, and Energy
the Next Generation Science Standards to be finalized in 2013.
Dr. Blockstein encouraged the federal government to take on big goals for the next decade:
Every Federal Worker understands the most important environmental issues in context of their own work;
Every Citizen and Resident understands the most important environmental issues in context of their own work and consumer behavior;
Every School is a Green School (meets standards of Green Ribbon School).
He noted that all of these actions will contribute to building a Green Economy and remarked that diversity remains a huge challenge in environmental education and in STEM education.
Dr. Blockstein presented Task Force members with the NCSE report - Environmental Research and Education Needs: An Agenda for a New Administration (2008). The report is a compilation of recommendations from thousands of educators, scientists, policymakers and other citizens from the first decade of NCSE National Conferences on Science, Policy and the Environment. He stated that the second term of the Obama Administration is an opportunity to move forward on the specific recommendations contained in this report.
Recognizing that the last time the federal government tried a coordinated effort on EE was 1993, Dr. Blockstein noted that an entire generation has been born and graduated from high school since this time. He urged that much more be done in the next generation.
Environmental Educators of North Carolina Announces Award Winners
Congratulations! See the complete press release with detailed descriptions and photos of each winner on the EENC website.
Elizabeth Burke -- Melva Fager Okun Lifetime Achievement Award
Chip Freund -- Outstanding Newcomer
Terri Kirby -- Outstanding Practitioner
Sarah Yelton -- Outstanding Service
Eric McDuffie -- Environmental Educator of the Year
Sarah Haggerty -- Environmental Educator of the Year
Potash Corporation of Aurora -- Outstanding Partner
Pisgah Forest North Carolina -- Exceptional Environmental Education Program
Winners Burke, Freund, Kirby and Yelton
EE Week 2013 Theme: Taking Technology Outdoors
As part of Taking Technology Outdoors, EE Week will highlight the growing opportunity to engage today's students in learning about the environment with new technologies that enable scientific research and develop 21st century skills, including creativity, innovation, communication and collaboration.
We know educators at North Carolina environmental education centers and classroom teachers are integrating technology with environmental education in innovative ways. We hope to hear your stories and share your examples.
Educators who register for EE Week will be able to take advantage of:
• Free educator webinars and toolkits offering tips, resources and ideas for using the latest technology to excite students about learning in their community
• Case studies, success stories and examples of technology in action and the teachers who are using it to enhance environmental learning and achievement in core subject areas
• Discounts, giveaways and special offers from EE Week partners, including: a 10 percent discount from Nature-Watch on any online order, a $10 coupon on purchases of $50 or more from the Acorn Naturalists online store, and a 25 percent discount on the Sustainability Specialist Certificate in K-12 Sustainability Education Strategies from the Green Education Foundation.
Schools and other educational agencies and organizations can register to participate in EE Week at their website to take advantage of these and other resources on their website.
Classroom Earth is a program of the National Environmental Education Foundation made possible by the Weather Channel.
The EE research is in...outdoor learning is good for you
there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting."
This is one of many peer-reviewed research articles archived in our newsfeed under the "EE Research" tag. Take a look and you'll find a number of articles and direct links to research journal articles that show the academic and and benefits of environmental education for children and adults. You can also find more information on our "EE Research and Data" page, including links to organizations and academic institutions that do EE-related research, resources on age-appropriate EE and links to a selected collection of especially noteworthy research.
EPA Appoints 11 New Members to the National Environmental Education Advisory Council
WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has appointed 11 environmental education professionals to serve on the agency’s National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). The National Environmental Education Advisory Council is comprised of representatives from organizations outside the federal government who provide EPA with advice and recommendations on environmental education. The council provides EPA with a better understanding of the needs of schools, universities, state departments of education and natural resources. The first meeting of the NEEAC is scheduled for December 13-14, 2012.
“The National Environmental Education Advisory Council provides EPA with insight from men and women with first-hand environmental education experience. This is essential to our work to support environmental education efforts across the country and help Americans understand how protecting the environment is really about protecting our health and the health of our communities,” said Administrator Jackson. “I congratulate our new NEEAC members on their appointments and look forward to continuing to work with the council.”
The NEEAC was established in 1990 under the National Environmental Education Act to provide input from stakeholders to EPA. Environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues or problems. In doing so, it provides the public with the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action.
The newly appointed members will represent a variety of stakeholders. Caroline Lewis and Dr. Kelly Keena will be representing primary and secondary education. Keena is a science teacher in Colorado and is a lauded environmental educator. Lewis has a wide breadth of experience in education both as a teacher and as the education strategist and director at the CLEO Institute.
Dr. Mark Kraus and Dr. Edna Negron-Martinez will represent colleges and universities. Kraus has served in leadership positions for 20 years and is currently chair of the Department of Natural Science Health and Wellness at Miami Dade Wolfson Campus. Negron-Martinez is a full professor at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico and has also held positions in public and environmental health.
Kay Antunez de Mayolo and Vidette (Kiki) Corry will draw on their experience by representing state departments of education and natural resources. Antunez de Mayolo has retired from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention where she remains as a volunteer statewide environmental education coordinator. She has also taught at California Polytechnic State University. Corry has served the environmental education community in many ways and is currently the Project Wild coordinator for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, chair of the Texas Environmental Education Advisory Committee, and a member of the board of directors of the Science Teachers Association of Texas.
Cara Gizzi and Scott Frazier will be representing business and industry. Gizzi is the director for Public Safety Education and Outreach at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc, where she expands the scope of the Safety Smart Youth Education program. Frazier will be drawing on his experience as CEO of Project Indigenous, as well as his time as Yellowstone Ecological Research Center liaison and Native Waters executive director and project coordinator.
Angie Chen and Richard Gonzales will represent nonprofits. Chen has experience with several nonprofits and is now a program officer at the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and Stephen Bechtel Fund. Gonzales is a lauded environmental educator and now serves as the project coordinator for the Science and Spanish Club Network, which he initiated in 2000.
Kenneth Gembel will represent the interests of senior Americans and share his 44 years of experience as environmental manager for General Motors as well as his talent in the classroom.
More information on the NEEAC and the list of new members: http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/neeac.html
Release Date: 12/03/2012
Contact Information: Dale Kemery (News media only) email@example.com 202-564-7839 202-564-4355; en español: Lina Younes, firstname.lastname@example.org 202-564-9924, 202-564-4355
Grants, Grants and more Grants...
I just discovered the EE site's grants page, and I am blown away--it's an amazing list, all relevant for North Carolina nonprofits.... Having sifted through other lists of grants to discover they weren't applicable for us or no longer in operation, your list is a mother lode of information. Thank you so much!
So check it out! There are a wealth of grants from small to large to support classroom projects, environmental education center programs, non-profit and community organizations and more. While you are there, don't forget to check out the Environmental Education Contests page as well! These provide great projects for students and can provide cash prizes in recognition of environmental education programs and initiatives.
EE Jobs and Internships: NC's "Go To" Site for Jobs in the Environmental Education Field
If I had not seen the listing for my current position on the EE listserv email, I would have never even known about the job. Now I am serving in the job of my dreams, the one I hope to retire in, and I owe so much to the Office of Environmental Education for this privilege. The Office has immeasurable value in my eyes but the jobs listing and listservs are definitely two of their biggest strengths. Thank you so very much for all you do!
Just a quick note to let you know that I'm now employed in Wake County as an environmental education program aide, a position I found listed on the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website. Thank you and everyone else involved for curating such a wonderful resource.
Durham Public Schools Developing "Hub" Farm for Environmental Education
Montreat College Preparing for 4th Cohort of Master of Science in Environmental Education Students
North Carolinians Present Research at North American Association for Environmental Education Conference
The program is still available at http://www.naaee.net/conference, and you can also find reports and photos from the conference on social media. NAAEE has a Facebook page, and on Twitter, follow or (or just view the links if you are not a Twitter user) @NAAEEstaff and the #NAAEE2012 hashtag.
Faculty and students from two North Carolina universities, N.C. State and UNC Greensboro, presented at the NAAEE Research Symposium which is held the two days prior to the conference:
Identifying and Evaluating Drivers of Environmental Literacy in North Carolina
Do outdoor and environmental education work? We will discuss results from a study in support of North Carolina's ELP. Topics include how teacher environmental attitudes, use of environmental education, and time spent outside predict environmental literacy levels in North Carolina.
Presenters: Kathryn Stevenson and Renee Strnad, N.C. State University
"I'm not a snake person": Student's identity boundary work
In an ethnographic study of diverse high school students’ identity boundary work in a summer herpetology research experience, students, over time, engaged with nature and animals in ways that surprised themselves. We examined what promoted these kinds of identity boundary shifts (i.e. moving from I am not a "snake person" to I am a "snake person").
Presenter: Lacey D. Huffling, UNCG
Collaborators: Heidi B. Carlone, Theresa Hegedus, Terry Tomasek, Catherine E. Matthews, Melony Allen, Mary Ash, Aerin Benavides
Identity-related motivations of vistors at EE events: Can snakes see science?
In this study, we researched what motivated visitors to attend community events focused on environmental education, specifically herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians). We examined the identity-related motivations of visitors with the goal of learning what sparks interest, emotion, and engagement in science.
Presenter: Lacey D. Huffling, UNCG
Collaborators: Theresa Hegedus, Heidi B. Carlone, Terry Tomasek, Catherine E. Matthews, Melony Allen, Aerin Benavides
Using animals that slither, slide, run, and hide for education
Participants learned how to use snakes, salamander, turtles, and frogs for conservation education. They also experienced and discovered activities that engage students in authentic science while also teaching conservation.
Presenter(s): Lacey D. Huffling, Aerin Benavides, UNCG
Collaborators: Catherine E. Matthews, Heidi B. Carlone, Terry Tomasek, Melony Allen, Theresa Hegedus, Mary Ash, Lynn Sametz, Ann Somers, Andy Ash
City of Greensboro to Offer Mobile Environmental Education Classroom
"We are excited about this new partnership opportunity with the Greensboro Public Library," said Chris Wilson, interim director for the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department. "Our staff will collaborate with their environmental education librarian to ensure that programs are readily available in underserved neighborhoods throughout our community. In addition, this gives us a great resource to take on the road to provide edutainment opportunities for local schools."
The Reading Railroad is currently parked at Lake Brandt, serving the residents of Lake Jeanette and northeast Greensboro on Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm through October 25.
Rediscover nature during 6th annual Take A Child Outside Week, Sept. 24-30
“I was pleased to be a part of the kick-off for the first Take A Child Outside week six years ago,” Louv says. “North Carolina has been one of the epicenters of the movement to connect children and nature, and is helping increase the awareness that we all, children and adults, need nature in our increasingly technological lives.” Louv’s new book, The Nature Principle, identifies seven basic concepts that help identify and tap into the restorative power of nature.
On the Take A Child Outside web site (www.takeachildoutside.org), adults are encouraged to make a pledge to take a child outside during the week and chart their location on a digital map. The website also offers a link to interesting outdoor activities, a list of participating organizations in your area, and a portal for partner organizations to post information and add links to their website. “Free time in nature has been shown to improve every area of a child’s life, from having healthier, stronger bodies, to being more successful in school, to having better relationships in their community,” says Liz Baird, director of education for the Museum and the program’s founder. “Time outside every day should be part of your regular routine.”
Currently, all 50 US states and four foreign countries actively participate in Take A Child Outside Week. More than 400 organizations participate nationwide, including all 35 North Carolina State Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Prairie Ridge Activity
Visitors can also venture outside with Museum educators to explore a variety of habitats — including a Piedmont prairie, woodlands, a lowland forest and a pond — on Friday, September 28 at the Museum’s Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh. Come any time between 3 to 6pm and visit sites throughout the Ecostation and learn about nature activities that you can enjoy year-round. Learn about bug sounds, sample aquatic invertebrates, investigate ways to attract wildlife to your yard, and more. There will also be a nature scavenger hunt. Each family will receive some take-home items to start building their own explorer’s kit. All ages are welcome; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Please wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes. No registration required. For information e-mail email@example.com, call 919.707.8878 or visit naturalsciences.org/prairie-ridge-ecostation .
Examples of Take A Child Outside activities
• Make a Date with the Moon - A monthly journey outside to look at the full moon.
• Spritzing spider webs – Discover the architecture behind spider webs by using spritz bottles.
• Leaf number search – Find and identify leaves with one to ten points and beyond.
• Shadow search – Use chalk to trace a shadow on the sidewalk, come back later to see how the shadow has moved and learn why.
• Animal tracks – Locate animal tracks in the dirt and cast them in plaster.
• Outdoor sculpture – Follow sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s lead and create sculptures using only tools found in nature.
• Shape search – Find common shapes (square, circle, triangle etc.) in nature
Color search – Identify colors of the rainbow found in nature.
• Bird song – Listen for a bird call and attempt your own imitation.
For more information or to join us as a partner please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-707-9893.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones St., Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon. –Sat., 9am–5pm and Sun., Noon–5pm. Admission is free. Find more information online at www.naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.
N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs Joins in Take A Child Outside Week Efforts
The N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs is a proud supporter of Take A Child Outside week and promotes it through the NC-EE listserv, social media and other contacts. This is a great way for environmental education centers and organizations to promote their programs and join in the efforts to get more kids (and adults!) outdoors.
Taking part is easy. Here are some tips on easy ways to join in:
- Use the Guide to Environmental Education Centers in North Carolina to find places to explore! http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/ee-centers.html
- If you are an organization that provides events or programs, be sure you have joined in as a partner on the Take A Child Outside website: http://takeachildoutside.org/. If you have already planned activities, put them on the EE Calendar! (Here is an example from Lake Waccamaw State Park)
- Brand programs that get kids outside as “Take A Child Outside” events and post them to the EE Calendar. You can plan new events or just tag them with the Take A Child Outside name.
- Post photos of your outdoor events and outings during the week to our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NorthCarolinaEE
Interested in research articles that show the positive effects of time spent outdoors? Check our EE Research and Data page: http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/research-and-data.html