Early childhood

Initiatives promoting environmental adult education (EAE) through professional development (PD) ensures educators have the knowledge and skills to inform their audience about environmental literacy and stewardship. However, no research has focused on reflective experiences of an EAE PD from educator participants at least five years after participation. Analysis using the contextual lenses of EAE, outdoor experiential learning, and transformative learning theories led to five emergent themes: (a) becoming a more effective educator; (b) increasing awareness of conservation importance; (c) experiencing positive emotional effects; (d) augmenting behaviors that impact the environment; and (e) having positive experiences at the EAE PD location. These findings may ignite new means for approaching curriculum specific content with heightened attention on the value of conserving natural resources.

Animals feature prominently in the lives of children. What type of messaging are educators sending to children when they guide encounters with animals? Are children truly learning to care and respect the more-than-human world or are we further disconnecting children from nature and unknowingly promoting the idea of human exceptionalism?

This research project investigates how scientist-led programs for rural families in libraries and museums make local science issues visible and relevant to families. Specifically, this study provides findings related to how scientists (STEM professionals) can be positioned to facilitate families’ personally-relevant connections to water quality issues during groundwater-themed science workshops.

Penn State University- Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

When researching, evaluating, and designing environmental education programs we often focus on knowledge, attitude, and behavior changes. This session will challenge participants to look at current research processes (including their own) to identify the pros and cons of these measures of effectiveness, with particular emphasis on affective measures.

Connecting place, people and story, through the design of inclusive outdoor spaces for schools, communities, and parks. Designing with the 8 senses and the Autism Design Guidelines to allow for collaboration and connections with nature in an educationally intentional way. Discuss types of outdoor space that afford learning for all age groups, nimble spaces with inter-related programming. All of course from the perspective of a landscape architect.

Explore simple ways for your school to work together to decrease landfill waste, energy waste, and water waste. From young learners to middle schoolers, your school can work together through guided inquiry activities and integrated curriculum extensions to create a more sustainable school using many tools you already have.     

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