Knowledge of biological systems can connect the practical application of designing products, addressing environmental concerns, and demystifying science to spark the imagination of young learners. Technologies inspired by nature (biomimicry) and the design of safer products and processes (green chemistry) provide an avenue to teach STEAM concepts in a dynamic manner.

What are the benefits and challenges of a research-practice partnership (RPP)? This presentation focuses on an RPP between university-based researchers and urban environmental educators. We focus on the process of collaboratively investigating a problem of practice: how do relational processes between educators, youth, and place support environmental interest development? Our RPP emphasizes parity between researchers and practitioners, open communication about research design and implementation, and co-design of program interventions. Our setting was a paid summer internship designed to support development of youth environmental interest. Data collection included participant observation, youth and educator interviews, and artifact analysis. We discuss specific strategies for project collaboration, such as early and ongoing project meetings, co-design of program activities that meet both research and educational goals, and the collaborative analysis of artifacts, such as field journals.

The faces, experiences, and abilities of your visitors are changing. Are you stumped by how to create activities that are great for all learners? Join this session to discover and apply instructional strategies for English Learners and students receiving Special Education services to your teaching in the outdoor classroom.

Let's inspire people to take action on climate through a focus on solutions and hope, rather than data and fear. Come get a dose of optimism as we take about the climate solutions happening around the World that provide the sense of empowerment and agency we need to tackle the climate issue.

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

As schools provide students with choice, support the development of critical thinking skills and promote project-based learning, incorporating a focus on sustainability is a natural progression of the learning process. In 2012, the US Department of Education (DoE) developed a federal outreach initiative entitled Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) that promotes sustainability, healthy living, and collaborative efforts. This research focuses on case studies of K-6 schools that have been awarded the Green Ribbon School designation and how these schools build a foundation for adopting and continuing sustainable principles. Nine thematic categories were found to be the driving factors that supported the GRS success in their sustainable policies. The themes from this research help to articulate the conditions needed to create and advance sustainability initiatives.

Increased pressure from state testing has created barriers to gaining district wide support and participation for in-class environmental education programming. This session explores the key factors we have uncovered in cultivating strong school-based partnerships that allow for measured effectiveness for in-school environmental education programs.

Empowering diverse youth and adults towards environmental action is vital to building resilient communities. But, to what degree do citizen environmental efforts in environmental action programs make a collective ecological and community impact? We quantified the impacts of 167 conservation efforts by intergenerational partnerships in UCONN’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy.

We introduce the STEM Identity Profile Instrument, an inventory-style survey that yields a combination of E-STEM related affiliations (altruist, conservationist, tinkerer, designer, inventor, and investigator). We used the instrument during out-of-school, E-STEM learning to shape curricular design and study how youth made sense of their E-STEM-linked identity work.

Experts predict a gap in STEM workers prepared to deal with complex environmental issues. It’s critical that informal learning centers increase capacity to work with schools. Riverbend’s Philadelphia Children Access Nature program is a catalyst for change, using a comprehensive supports and aquaponics in the classroom.


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