The Role of Outreach Education in Achieving Environmental Literacy
Wood-Arendt, Ann Elizabeth
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Teachers of all disciplines are instrumental in shaping the characters and behaviors of future citizens. One of the greatest challenges facing environmental educators is relating to a population that is increasingly insulated from the natural world. An environmental education needs assessment of schools located in an urban watershed found that inadequate educator knowledge of environmental issues, lack of state proficiency standards for environmental education, and lack of funding for environmental projects are barriers hampering the achievement of environmental education objectives. Respondents to the Hunting Creek Watershed Environmental Education Needs Questionnaire desire greater knowledge of and access to non-biased, science-based resources for teaching environmental education. Outreach environmental education can fill the gap created by lack of teacher certification, lack of curriculum standards, and diminishing education budgets. Environmental literacy can be achieved through use of the tools provided by outreach environmental educators.