Whether you're new to the field of conservation education, or an old hand -- we can all use opportunities to learn new skills, polish old skills, and expand our network of colleagues and mentors. The following resources can start you in the right direction!
Forest Service Professional Development Opportunities
A Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC) is a year-long professional development program for educators focused on place-based education. Teachers who participate in FFEC develop curricula that foster student understanding of and appreciation for the public lands in their communities. The teacher-developed curricula integrate hands-on, natural and cultural explorations that address concepts in ecology, sense of place, stewardship, and civics. At the heart of the FFEC program is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of “place” are more eager to learn and be involved in the stewardship of their communities and public lands.
The FFEC program began in the northeast, and includes the following partners: Green Mountain National Forest, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, National Park Service Conservation Study Institute, Northeast Natural Resource Center of the National Wildlife Federation, Northern Forest Center, and Shelburne Farms. In 2009, the FFEC program will be replicated on the Helena National Forest in Montana. The Texas Forest Service and Grasslands also offers the program. Read a success story from Vermont at the Groton State Forest.
Environmental Education Professional Organizations
North American Association for Environmental Education
NAAEE is the professional association for environmental education. NAAEE members promote professional excellence in nonformal organizations, K-12 classrooms, universities (both instructors and students), government agencies, and corporate settings throughout North America and in over 55 other countries. Since 1971, the Association has created opportunities for its members to improve their skills in creating and delivering programs and services that teach people how to think, not what to think. As the leading professional environmental education organization, NAAEE provides a wealth of professional development resources through their excellent Web site.
EE-LINK is environmental education on the internet! A program of the National Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), EE-Link provides a wealth of resources and links for professional development of teachers and non-formal educators.
Environmental Education and Training Partnership
The Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP) identifies and implements essential training and support services for educators to foster environmental literacy through America's schools, nature centers, government agencies and other institutions. As a consortium of leading national EE organizations, EETAP delivers environmental education training and support to education professionals for the purpose of increasing public knowledge about environmental issues, and enhancing the critical thinking skills necessary for individuals and their communities to make responsible environmental decisions.
EETAP On-line Environmental Education Courses
Supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, EETAP conducts a wide range of on-line professional development courses for environmental education. These excellent, college-level courses are provided and administered by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
National Association for Interpretation
The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is a not-for-profit 501c3 professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources in settings such as parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, and historical sites. For more than 50 years, NAI has encouraged networking, training, and collaboration among members and partners in support of our mission: inspiring leadership and excellence to advance heritage interpretation as a profession. As the leading professional organization for interpretation, NAI provides a great deal of overlap with the environmental education community.
Federal Agency Partners
National Conservation Training Center - US Fish & Wildlife Service
The National Conservation Training Center, located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia offers a wide array of training opportunities for all Federal land management agencies. A program of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the NCTC provides both on-site courses and distance-learning courses. Visit their catalog to see if there are offerings that can help you do your job better!
Training in Curriculum
Project Learning Tree®
Project Learning Tree is an award winning, multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in PreK-grade 12. PLT, a program of the American Forest Foundation, is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad. PLT continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence. The curriculum materials provide the tools educators need to bring the environment into the classroom and their students into the environment. Topics range from forests, wildlife, and water, to community planning, waste management and energy.
PLT is a network of 3,000 grassroots volunteers and over 120 state coordinators that work with formal and nonformal educators, school staff, state agencies, foresters, businesses, civic organizations, museums, nature centers, and youth groups to provide professional development programs. To date, more than 500,000 educators are trained in using PLT materials, reaching approximately 26 million students in the United States and abroad. PLT improves student learning. Visit the PLT website to find out how you can receive training in the use of this terrific resource.
Project WILD is a wildlife-focused conservation education program for K-12 educators and their students. It is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. It is based on the premise that young people and educators have a vital interest in learning about our natural world. A national network of State Wildlife Agency Sponsors ensures that Project WILD is available nationwide --training educators in the many facets of the program. Emphasizing wildlife because of its intrinsic value, Project WILD addresses the need for human beings to develop as responsible citizens of our planet.
The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators, and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet – water. Project WET is committed to global water education that is implemented at the community level. Visit their website to find out how to attend a Project WET workshop in your community.