Background: What is Environmental Education?
Environmental Education is the study of the relationships and interactions between dynamic natural and human systems.
Environmental Literacy is the successful outcome of such study.
Environmental Science focuses specifically on the scientific aspects of environmental education.
Characteristics of Environmental Education
- Includes learning in the field as well as the classroom
- Incorporates the teaching methods of outdoor education, experiential education, and place-based education
- Is inherently interdisciplinary
- Promotes school/community partnerships
- Is hands-on, student-centered, inquiry driven, engages higher level thinking skills, and relevant to students everyday lives
- Develops awareness, increases knowledge, builds skills, and creates the capacity for stewardship and good citizenship regarding the environment upon which we depend for life support.
- Helps address the causes of “nature deficit disorder”
- Boosts student achievement in math, science, reading, writing and social studies (1)
Characteristics of Environmental Science
- Integrates core concepts and principles of biology, chemistry, earth systems science, economics, geography and physics.
- Addresses current issues such as global climate change, sustainable growth, human health, biodiversity, air and water pollution, conservation of natural resources, waste management, etc.
(1) Lieberman, G. A., & Hoody, M. A. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. San Diego: State Education and Environment Roundtable.