Friday, May 29, 2009

Environmental Education

Environmental education projects are an ideal way to diversify your curriculum, try group teaching strategies, and bring the real world into the classroom in a strong academic context. Research shows that real-life hands-on learning effectively reaches and teaches children.

Critical Questions

1. What kinds of support are available in your school, district and community for supporting environmental educational activities?

2. In what ways can environmental education activities enhance learning?

3. What are the most effective strategies for integrating environmental education across all content areas?

4. In what ways do students, teachers and communities benefit from classrooms engaged in environmental educational projects?

5. What are compelling environmental issues that can be explored through environmental educational projects?

Possible Actions

1. Become well informed about the characteristics of environmental education, effective models and strategies for integrating across subject areas taught in school.

2. Share this information with your colleagues, friends, and others interested in integrating environmental education into their classrooms or conducting environmental action projects in their communities.

3. Know your national, state, and local school standards. You will find them on the Internet. Consider ways in which environmental education activities can achieve many of the standards across various content areas.

4. Learn effective strategies for guiding students in conducting comprehensive and sophisticated research about environmental issues, solving specific local environmental problems, and acting on their solutions.

5. Encouraged by recent brain research, many educators recognize the value of hands-on, project- and problem-based learning methods, and integrated-interdisciplinary approaches. Use the natural environment and local community as the framework, and integrate environmental education into your everyday teaching.


Environmental Education in the United States: Teaching in the Present, Preparing Students for the Future John Haskin
The author outlines the historic roots, present practices and potential trajectories of environmental education in the United States. The opportunities have never been greater, nor the need more urgent, for an environmental education

Learning from the Land: The Power of Place Denise Dumouchel
Place-based education brings some of that holistic, active learning back into the child's life experience by demonstrating a connection between the classroom and the child's world outside of academia.

Knowing the Language of Place Through the Arts Lee Ann Woolery
Arts Coordinator of IslandWood uses art as a way of connecting with the landscape to more deeply understand the ecology and make a stronger connection to place.

Experiential Practice: Outdoor, Environmental, and Adventure Education Denise Dumouchel
Environmental education can provide what is arguably the best kind of learning opportunity in light of educational theory.

Children Can Make a Difference --Using a Problem Solving, Action Oriented Approach to Environmental Education Micki McKisson Evans
Using a project centered, problem solving, action oriented approach to environmental education nurtures hope, feelings of accomplishment, involvement and responsible environmental behavior.

Stewardship Projects: Learning That Makes A Difference Joseph Petrick
Stewardship engages students and gives them what John Dewey called: "the most important attitude that can be formed . . . the desire to go on learning."

A Pedagogy of Stewardship: The Inspiration of Janusz Korczak Kristin Poppo
How do we create places that can demonstrate deep compassion and exhibit care for both cultural and natural communities?

The Eighth Intelligence: The Naturalistic Intelligence Leslie Owen Wilson
Children possessing this type of intelligence may have a strong affinity to the outside world or to animals, and this interest often begins at an early age. They may show unusual interest in subjects like biology, zoology, botany, geology, meteorology, paleontology, or astronomy. People possessing "nature smarts" are keenly aware of their surroundings and changes in their environment, even if these changes are at minute or subtle levels. Often this is due to their highly-developed levels of sensory perception.

The Naturalist Intelligence Bruce Campbell
An introduction to the naturalist intelligence, which includes a list of instructional strategies.

Finding a Relationship To Place Through Natural Fiber Weaving Melinda West
Hands-on natural fiber projects derived from the local traditional cultures and native plants of any given area of the world can open a doorway to place, providing new skills for expressing a relationship to the land.

The Nature Journal as a Tool for Learning Karen Matsumoto
Recording observations and feelings in a field journal can be a powerful way for students to get to know their natural community and the geography of their home environment, so that they can develop that sense of caring commitment.

Audubon: Connecting People with Nature Chuck Remington
Director of Field Support shares the mission of Audubon to provide centers across the country to ensure broad access to environmental education and experiences to foster understanding and developing a relationship between people and nature.

Inquiry-based Learning Through Animal Tracking Mark Jordahl
A single animal track is a gateway into a world of questions and understandings that can motivate students to direct their own learning about their surroundings.

Salish Sea Expeditions: A "Sound" Education Ellie Linen Low
Executive Director explains her boat-based program that reaches hundreds of 5th-12th graders each year and inspires a passion for exploring, understanding, and respecting the marine environment through hands-on scientific inquiry on Puget Sound.

Passages Northwest: Inspiring Courage in Girls and Women Sheryl Kent, Susan Evans, and Kim Shirley
Staff members share their girls' and women's program dedicated to educating and motivating girls and women to develop leadership and courage through the integrated exploration of the arts and the natural environment.

Technology in Environmental Education Clancy J. Wolf
How technology not only enhances learning but also helps students to explore and understand the world around them.

Sustainable Food at IslandWood's School Overnight Program Greg Atkinson
Through the process of eating we are linked to our environment more intimately than any other activity in which we engage. We learn at the table how to be human in the most fundamental ways.

Understanding the Foodshed Celina Steiger and Danielle Harrington
Food education encourages children to learn how to examine the impacts of food production and agricultural practices.

Exploring Nature with Children Throughout Childhood Karen Salsbury
By nurturing an appreciation of nature in children, their sense of community and stewardship will be much easier to develop and sustain.

School Partnerships Kristi Stoa
By building a partnership relationship with each visiting school, IslandWood helps schools to make the connection between what they learn at IslandWood and what they learn in the classroom and home community.

Re-evaluating our Purpose: Environmental Education and Diversity Karen Matsumoto and Kristin Poppo
The graduate program coordinator and the science coordinator of IslandWood discuss how environmental educators address issues of diversity.

Global Issues and Environmental Education Carmen Trisler
Environmental education can mean concepts in ecology, outdoor education, environmental science or instruction about issues. A primary goal of environmental education, though, is the development of responsible environmental behavior in citizens, both as individuals and societal groups. The global ramifications of individual or collective action on the rest of the world have become concerns.

Seattle Students and Facing the Future in China Wendy Church
Seattle high school juniors traveled to China to teach environmental lessons to students in Beijing in the summer of 2005. Their experiences in meeting and teaching their Chinese counterparts are described in this article.

The Environmental and Adventure School Danna Crewdson and David Perlmutter
Two ninth grade student authors describe their middle school, which encourages students to be leaders while learning about and experiencing nature.

What is IslandWood? Pat Guild O'Rourke
Using the cultural and natural environment as a context, IslandWood's primary goal is to help children and adults develop a commitment to life-long learning and environmental and community stewardship.

History of IslandWood Debbi Brainerd
By taking children outside the classroom-- by focusing on actively doing rather than reading or being lectured to-- children's academic performance goes up in every discipline. This knowledge became the inspiration for IslandWood as a model for hands-on learning.

The Jason Project: Out of the Classroom Into the Real World An Interview With Gray Thompson
From oceans to rain forests, from polar regions to volcanoes, the JASON Project explores Planet Earth and exposes students to leading scientists who work with them to examine its biological and geological development.With the help of a world-class assembly of scientists and a team of technology experts, the JASON Project enables students and teachers in in grades 4 through 8 to take advantage of a complex web of websites, video and audio communications centers, virtual reality, and other technologies designed to make it possible for ordinary schools to interact with the project's scientific explorations year-round.

Learning and Teaching Through the Naturalist Intelligence Maggie Meyer
A naturalist feels connected. We are related to everything in our environment. Understanding the naturalist intelligence and cultivating it within our students is our responsibility not only as teachers but also as human beings.

In this area of the website you will find information on some of the best researched and the most widely implemented methods of helping all students to learn more successfully. The information includes a description of how the teaching and learning strategies work, where they have been applied, results, and where to find further information from experts in the field, books, websites, and other resources. They have been demonstrated to be successful with students of all ages and ability levels, including those with various kinds of disabilities and those who do not learn in traditional ways. Following are links to different teaching and learning strategies, a description of how they work, where they have been applied, results, and where to find more information from individuals, books, web sites, and other resources.

Accelerated Learning Techniques
Action Research
Applied Learning
Arts in Education
Assessment Alternatives
Character Education
Cognitive Coaching
Cooperative Learning
Democratic Classrooms
Differentiated Instruction
Emotional Intelligence
Environmental Education
Environments for Learning
Graphic Tools
Instrumental Enrichment
Keeping Fit for Learning
Learning Styles
Multicultural Education
Multiple Intelligences
Service Learning
Teaching for Understanding
Technology in Education
Thinking Skills

These strategies are most successful when they are implemented in a system that encourages collaboration among staff and students, and in which each is a part of a well-planned whole system. In some of the most successful sites, teachers themselves have become in-house experts in specific practices which they share with their colleagues. It is important to recognize that while these strategies are useful, little will be accomplished in implementing them unless there is ongoing documentation of their results. There must also be efficient methods of feeding that information back into the system so that there will be continuing progress in teaching and learning. It is also certain that these strategies are most effective when they are applied in positive, supportive environments where there is recognition of the emotional, social and physical needs of students and where individual strengths are recognized, nurtured, and developed. We welcome your feedback as we continue to build the Teaching and Learning Strategies area as an effective resource for teachers and students focusing on improved academic achievement and striving to meet new academic standards.