Reinventing the Wheel: Next Steps in Building Comprehensive State and Provincial EE Programs

Resource
Reinventing the Wheel
Reinventing the Wheel

Abby Ruskey was in graduate school in 1992 when she helped invent the wheel—a model of structural, programmatic, and funding elements that are commonly combined in successful state-level EE programs. Over the years, this model has helped guide the development of strong programs capable of weaving EE into the fabric of state and local education systems, and sustaining those efforts over time. Today, Ruskey is among the state environmental education leaders who are reinventing that wheel. Ongoing efforts to build capacity within state EE organizations and programs, combined with renewed excitement and purpose prompted by the “No Child Left Inside” campaign have brought renewed interest in the unfinished task of building comprehensive state EE programs. “As interest builds again around state capacity building and reenergizing state EE organizations, this is a perfect time to update the wheel to reflect changes in the EE field, education, and society,” Ruskey observed. This article reviews the evolution of the idea and practice of comprehensive state-level EE programs, and surveys new activity that promises to advance both the “science” of EE capacity building and the effectiveness of state EE programs and leadership.