is a clearinghouse for environmental education materials with links for employment, professional development, national and international events, free lesson plans and activities, and more.
The Conservation Education program (CE) helps people of all ages understand and appreciate our country's natural resources -- and learn how to conserve those resources for future generations. Through structured educational experiences and activities targeted to varying age groups and populations, conservation education enables people to realize how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and how resources can be used wisely.
Through conservation education, people develop the critical thinking skills they need to understand the complexities of ecological problems. Conservation Education also encourages people to act on their own to conserve natural resources and use them in a responsible manner by making informed resource decisions.
Project Learning Tree®
Project Learning Tree® is an award-winning pre-K-12 environmental education program that covers everything from basic ecology and forestry concepts through complex understanding of community planning and risk assessment. The Forest Service partners with PLT on projects such as GreenSchools!, an innovative sustainability curriculum that walks students and their school and community leaders through hands-on investigations of energy, water, school site, waste and recycling and environmental quality. Learn more about GreenSchools! at www.pltgreenschools.org.
For a wildlife-focused conservation education program, consider ProjectWILD, a program of the Council for Environmental Education. ProjectWILD offers Growing Up WILD (pre-K through 2nd grade), ProjectWILD K-12 and ProjectWILD Aquatic K-12, and Science and Civics (grades 9-12) activity guides as well as many other resources on their web site at www.projectwild.org.
Project BudBurst (www.budburst.ucar.edu) is a national field campaign for citizen scientists designed to engage the public in the collection of important climate change data based on the timing of leafing and flowering of trees and flowers. The citizen science observations are reported to the national Project BudBurst database.
The GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program (globe.gov) links students, teachers and scientists to promote science education, environmental literacy and science discovery. Since 1995, more than 1.5 million students have participated in GLOBE.
What do citizens need to know to be environmentally literate? A variety of frameworks have been developed for topics such as climate, ocean and earth science literacy. Organizations like the National Research Council's Board on Science Education, the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are working together to integrate these frameworks into a national framework for science education. A sample of science literacy frameworks are provided below. Information on development of the national framework is available here.
- Climate Literacy (2.9 mb pdf)
- Ocean Literacy (3.8 mb pdf)
- Atmospheric Science Literacy (4.4 mb pdf)
- Earth Science Literacy (18.5 mb pdf)
- Synthesizing Earth System Essential Principles: What every citizen needs to know
Environmental literacy requires community involvement as well as science knowledge. Core principles for public engagement (pdf), also provide guidance for individuals and organizations working for social justice and sustainable communities.
Links below provide additional information on efforts to redesign science education at all levels to ensure a workforce prepared for the 21st century.
- 2010 AASHE Higher Education Sustainability Curriculum (2.0 mb pdf)
- 2010 Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A call to action report (1.0 mb pdf)
- 2007 National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System (1.7 mb pdf)
- Recommendations for Education for a Sustainable and Secure Future (pdf)
Many links on this page point to documents in PDF format. You may obtain a free PDF reader from Adobe.
Last Modified: 01/13/2011