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National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education

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Presentation on theme: "National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education

2 Presenters Bora Simmons National Project for Ed McCrea Bill Seaman
Excellence in EE Ed McCrea Environmental Education & Conservation Global Bill Seaman University of Florida

3 Quick Tour of Adobe Connect

4 Primary Sponsors: U.S. EPA Office of Environmental Education
EECapacity EPA funded national EE training program housed in Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab

5 Other Partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service
National Environmental Education Foundation State EE Associations Organizational partners – such as EECG, Project Learning Tree, Arbor Day Foundation, Project WILD, Keep America Beautiful, Project WET

6 Tell us a bit about yourself…

7 Promoting excellence in environmental education

8 Our Collective Wisdom Developed Guidelines through a public participatory process Engaging educators in a deep discussion about quality environmental education practice Building EE as a profession

9 Guidelines for Excellence Publications

10 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence

11 How familiar are you with the guidelines?

12 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
A Resource That Provides: Recommendations for developing and administering high quality nonformal EE programs A tool that can be used to ensure a firm foundation for new programs or to trigger improvements in existing ones Developed through a broad-based review and comment process

13 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
Six Key Characteristics 1) Needs Assessment 2) Organizational Needs and Capacities 3) Program Scope and Structure 4) Program Delivery Resources 5) Program Quality and Appropriateness 6) Evaluation

14 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
1) Needs Assessment 1.1) Environmental Issue or Condition 1.2) Inventory of Existing Programs & Materials 1.3) Audience Needs

15 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
2) Organizational Needs and Capacities 2.1) Consistent with Organizational Priorities 2.2) Organization’s Need for the Program Identified 2.3) Organization’s Existing Resources Inventoried

16 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
3) Program Scope and Structure 3.1) Goals and Objectives for the Program 3.2) Fit with Goals and Objectives of EE 3.3) Program Format and Delivery 3.4) Partnerships and Collaboration

17 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
4) Program Delivery Resources 4.1) Assessment of Resource Needs 4.2) Quality Instructional Staff 4.3) Facilities Management 4.4) Provision of Support Materials 4.5) Emergency Planning

18 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
5) Program Quality and Appropriateness 5.1) Quality Instructional Materials & Techniques 5.2) Field Testing 5.3) Promotion, Marketing, and Dissemination 5.4) Sustainability

19 Nonformal Environmental Education Programs
6) Evaluation 6.1) Determination of Evaluation Strategies 6.2) Effective Evaluation Techniques & Criteria 6.3) Use of Evaluation Results

20 Excellence in Nonformal EE: Guidelines Embraced in an Unlikely Place

21 Communities of Faith Stepping Up in Earth Stewardship
Alliance of Religions and Conservation (11 faiths of the world) Mainline U.S. denominations all engaged Ecological Society of America: ‘Faith community is one of three key partners that science will have to engage…to address…disruptions’

22 Case study for applying EE nonformal guidelines
Earth Care Congregations program, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Since 2010, >80 “certifications” “Earth Care Congregations: A Guide to Greening Presbyterian Churches”

23 NAAEE Roundtable 40th Annual Conference, October 2011
A note concerning methods… Table constructed, listing the six Characteristics, all 22 Specific Actions, and 65 of the 100+ Indicators Content and format of a selected Earth Care Congregation and the national denomination program assessed against the Indicators in the table (6 pages) See website:

24 Matching EE Guidelines and Program Performance…
1. Needs Assessment (1 example) Specific Action (SA) 1.1. Three levels of confirming need for program Denomination headquarters Local church “environment committee” Local church governing body (Session) 2. Organizational Needs and Capacities (1 ex.) SA 2.1. Goals and priorities of parent organization Adoption of landmark document, “Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice,” for denomination Earth Care Congregations guidebook, training, etc.

25 Matching EE Guidelines and Program Performance…
3. Program Scope and Structure (2 examples) SA 3.2. Overall EE fit The four strands and “The Last Mountain” movie—Questioning, Knowledge, Skills, Responsibility SA Partnerships EPA Energy Star Congregations program invited Presbyterian Church to partner in national webinar 4. Program Delivery Resources (1 example) SA 4.2. Training Attend NAAEE!

26 Matching EE Guidelines and Program Performance…
5. Program Quality and Appropriateness (1 ex.) SA 5.1. Soundness “Pedagogic soundness””Staffing” Adult Education Committee: Former school board member, master’s level Director of Christian Education, classroom teachers, Girl Scout leader 6. Evaluation (not necessarily the weak link) SA Use results Community potluck, trash fairy, and recycling guilt! SA Share results Town Landcare Comm. Membership

27 Lessons & Benefits Of 65 Indicators, 94% conformance (surprise!)
Using in hindsight: Better late than never; gaps spottedrevise practices (“improvements”) Front end: Planning guidance for new effort (“foundation”) Engagement with “literacy”: Access to NAAEE resources Entrée for this stakeholder with mainstream practices and potential partners (e.g., local colleges, Town, professional societies) Finally…a morale booster; thanks, NAAEE!

Self evaluation of the program by staff Outside evaluation of the program by an independent evaluator

PROS— Involves the people who know the most about the program Allows the staff to gain an understanding of what a good program actually is as they work through the evaluation Facilitates collaboration and discussion among staff about the quality of their program

30 Self Evaluation by Staff (cont.)
PROS – Encourages the staff to consider needed improvements and how to implement them Less pressure and little senses of “gotcha” Provides material for a more detailed look at the program using the guidelines

31 Self Evaluation by Staff (cont.)
CONS— Brings out the rose colored glasses Requires a motivated and willing staff with at least some knowledge (and agreement with) basics such as setting objectives for the program

Pros— Provides a rationale and background for the evaluation so findings don’t appear arbitrary Allows staff to follow up on evaluation using guidelines for more details Shows management what yardstick will be used by the evaluator

Cons (most related to the use of an outside evaluator, not to the Guidelines themselves)— Creates a top down, “gotcha” situation Blocks full participation by staff Allows little direct involvement and learning about the program and changes needed

34 Self Assessment Using Nonformal Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence as a set of potential benchmarks, carefully reflect on your program development efforts. To what extent do you/does your organization incorporate each of the following steps when designing and implementing an environmental education program? Key: N…Never S…Sometimes M…Most of the time A….Always #1 Needs Assessment N S M A Identify environmental issue(s) to be addressed Inventory existing programs Seek input from community and potential audience(s) #2 Assessment of organizational needs and capacities Consider goals and priorities of parent organization Identify parent organization’s need for the program Determine resources and capacities of parent organization #3 Determination of the program scope and structure Develop program goals and objectives Assess overall fit with field of EE (e.g., use Excellence in Environmental Education: Guidelines for Learning (Pre K-12)) Determine format, techniques, and training needs Explore potential for partnerships #4 Program delivery resources Assess logistical and resource needs Assess staff competencies and training needs (e.g., use Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators). Safe and appropriate facilities are available Arrange needed facilities, supplies, and equipment Emergency plans are in place. #5 Program quality and appropriateness Obtain or develop educationally sound materials (e.g., use Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence). Field test new instructional materials Promote, market and disseminate program Develop sustainability strategies #6 Evaluation Develop evaluation strategies, techniques, and criteria Implement practical program evaluation Use evaluation results in the development of programs

35 Pulling it All Together Self-Assessment Part II
Now that you have completed the first checklist, what do you know? Take a few minutes to tally the results of your self-assessment in the table provided below. This should provide you with an overview of the results of your self-assessment. Self Assessment Summary – Starting with Key Characteristic #1 on the first checklist, add up the total number of check marks for each of the four columns: Never, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always. Enter the total number in the appropriate column of this chart. Key: N…Never S…Sometimes M…Most of the time A….Always N S M A #1 Needs Assessment (3 guidelines) #2 Assessment of organizational needs and capacities (3 guidelines) #3 Determination of the program scope and structure (4 guidelines) #4 Program delivery resources (5 guidelines) #5 Program quality and appropriateness (4 guidelines) #6 Evaluation (3 guidelines)

36 Self-Assessment Part III
Now that you have summarized your self-assessment, what can you say about the strengths and weaknesses of your program development process? Identify any changes you might make to the program design and implementation process. Areas of Strength Areas that Need to be Enhanced/Strengthened Specific Actions to Address Self-Assessment

Want to Learn More? Offer a workshop thru our Guidelines Trainers’ Bureau Access information thru EELinked Attend another webinar




41 Future Webinars Early Childhood EE Programs: Guidelines for Excellence
June 26th 4:00pm (Eastern) Early Childhood EE Programs: Guidelines for Excellence Register at:

42 Get Involved: Community EE Guidelines
For more information: Akiima Price

43 Questions?

44 Join us at the NAAEE Conference

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