California Environmental Education Interagency Network
October 27, 2011, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 4102, Sacramento, CA 95814
Lead: Anne Stephens
Note taker: Susan Knadle
Timekeeper: Anne Stephens
Backup Lead: Jim Greco
- Welcome, Introductions, Agenda Review
Annie Kohut Frankel
Lana McAllister (phone)
Carolyn Kolstad (phone)
Chris Parry (phone)
Sharon Jang (phone)
- Brainstorm Session II for Nature Bridge
What are the barriers and/or obstacles that have prevented EE from becoming more permeated throughout our communities and readily accepted as a ligitimate strategy toward:
- Academic improvement
- Environmental conservation
- Resource Management
Jason: Different terminology and groups have positioned themselves differently: nature education vs science education. This dilutes the field and the public doesn’t understand that there is a connection and that it is all environmental education. Better branding of our efforts is important.
Donna: An example is that the National Association of State Park Directors have initiated a branding campaign called America’s State Parks and the change resulted in national visibility.
Jason: Collaboration or lack of it is another factor. Collaboration is usually not driven by directors of individual organizations. Even funding is set up for individual organizations, so it is not set up to “raise all boats.”
Anne: Anne gave examples of CEEIN successes through collaboration. Environmentality was a collaboration between CEEIN and Disney, but Disney’s idea had no education in it. CEEIN added the education part.
Jason: It is easy for a government agency to jettison environmental education because they think NGOs will take over. Maybe that was true 10 years ago, but not today.
Anne: Outdoor schools can’t even charge for school-related activities since the Lara Bill passed, so they have to cut back in time students can attend.
Sharon Jang: USEPA had to cut back the environmental education grant program to $200,000.
Someone: Environmental License Plates used to generate millions, but CDE only gets $320,000 now, and it may not go to student programs. Restoration efforts of agency programs now get much of the money.
What are major research gaps that exist that could help strengthen the field if filled?
Jason: This is a longitudinal question. We need data on how environmental education changes behavior positively. Lots of research is not make public and/or make known to other groups. There is a need to have data on program delivery and outcomes. At North Western University programs for 7th graders were geared for science student teachers or social studies student teachers. The programs in social studies always achieved more positive outcomes than those in science. Thus, programs in science should include social studies aspects – but how to act on this?
Another problem is how to get information given out of the “science speak” language and into practioner language. Another issue is how to get directors of programs to be more inclusive of science with social studies. We need to train the practioners. The environmental education field does not have “best practices.” If there is a best way to teach the water cycle, it is not known. Everyone does it their own way.
Donna: Donna will send us an article from Physics Today on climate change (Richard CJ Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol, “Communicating the Science of Climate Change”) that discusses the problem of “science speak” and layman’s interpretation of the terminology. The bottom line is that scientists need to avoid words that have one definition in everyday language, but another in scientific terminology if they want laymen to understand the points they want to make.
Jason: Another problem is the many different interpretations of “professional development.” It may be practitioners choosing activities first vs starting from concepts and choosing activities that illustrate the concept. Professional development for teachers who self-select for outdoor schools already understand so one is “preaching to the choir.” There needs to be a way to get teachers who might not self-select to learn about environmental education. This the next circle outside of the circle of those who already love the environment. Jason said that when he was in Washington, D.C. at USEPA, the people he talked with could not identify one person who would be a knowledgeable spokesperson at a meeting on environmental literacy.
Kay: The NAAEE is a proponent of environmental literacy. They may be able to pull together practitioners.
Jason: Strategizing is important – what can people in the field do?
Annie: It would be helpful for Jason to give us task/issue questions that we can discuss at future CEEIN meetings.
- Branding the issue of environmental education is most important
- Making the messaging and the policy consistent must be done
Research Piece – What can be done?
- Public school vs private schools
- Need for a forum for interested people to talk to each other.
- There are 278 different groups in the Bay Area and twice that in Southern CA.
- Carolyn said there is a group called Science by Nature in Mountain View, CA.
- Information has been gathered by NGOs for the school district to implement
- ResourceCommons.org is the national portal
A book on the subject that is controversial is “Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It) by Charles Saylan and Daniel T. Blumstein."
- The problem is money!
- The problem is also not looking for common elements in all of the networks
Jason: Solving these problem will “raise all boats” in terms of money rather than move the same pot of money from one group to another.
These are some of the groups at the conference Jason attended:
- National Georgraphic
- US Fish & Wildlife
- US EPA
- American Forest Foundation
- What’s New In Your World
CSTA: CEEIN members thought it was mostly well-attended (except the 8 a.m. programs). Michelle got the CEEIN brochure to people at CSTA.
- Committee Reports and Discussion
- Administration and Organization-none
- Communications and Outreach-none
- Legislation and Diversity:
- SB 300, the Hancock bill was signed by Governor Brown. It authorizes the state to modify the new State science standards after the science standards are adopted.
- EEI updates - Natalie
Application for grant to support evaluation of EEI program:
Ask people what EEI staff should want to learn from the EEI evaluation.
It is desirable to provide something that is useful to others in environmental education.
A Facebook page has been launched to tell teachers and students when EEI staff will be at what
Conferences and the content of the conferences
The Green School Summit:
Curriculum and Facilities portions were well attended by teachers and administrators
It was the same week as CSTA
Also attending were lots of partnership academy teachers and their administrators
Steinberg Bill passed and awarded $2.3 million to develop green acadamies.
EEI has gotten $250,000 from fines
- Ed gave out brochures on Climate Change.
- Natalie gave out brochures on EEI.