|| Minnesota EE
How environmental education
works in Minnesota
Capacity building for EE in Minnesota:
The goal for environmental education (EE) in Minnesota and throughout the United
States is to develop an environmentally literate citizenry.
Environmental literacy is possessing knowledge about the environment
and issues related to it; being capable of, and inclined to, further self-
directed environmental learning and/or action. (North American Association
for Environmental Education)
The state of Minnesota has defined goals for its citizens in regards to environmental
literacy. They are contained in State Goals for Environmental Education
Stat. §115A.073). Pupils and citizens should be able to apply informed decision-making
processes to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. In order to do so, citizens should:
Capacity building for EE
- understand ecological systems
- understand the cause and effect relationship between human attitudes and
behavior and the environment
- be able to evaluate alternative responses to environmental issues before
deciding on alternative courses of action
- understand the effects of multiple uses of the environment
The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance’s (OEA) strategy to
achieve this goal of environmental literacy is to focus our work on "capacity
building" for environmental education—developing effective organizations
and individual leaders in order to achieve comprehensive EE programs at the
state, regional and local level.
Through comprehensive efforts Minnesotans are better able to learn about and
make decisions concerning their environment. There are four areas of concentration
to the OEA's EE capacity-building efforts:
- Providing, leveraging and developing resources for educators.
- Fostering coordination and partnerships.
- Furthering communication among EE providers.
- Delivering skill-building opportunities.
resources to educators
Providing resources and access to resources is vital to delivering fair, current,
and accurate environmental education. The OEA offers extensive resources through
a variety of venues.
is a wealth of hands-on resources. From videos to fact sheets to curricula to
CD-ROMs, the Clearinghouse and its staff offer incredible amounts of information
and guidance. Many resources may be accessed through the Education Clearinghouse
1-800-877-6300 or 651-215-0232.
SEEK: Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge: http://mnseek.net.
SEEK is Minnesota's online, interactive directory of EE resources. At present,
SEEK has 160 partners (environmental and education organizations and agencies)
that post their resources, from activity guides to job opportunities, on this
well-traveled web site. It is a site that is emulated by many states throughout
the United States. SEEK is a gathering place for environmental educators.
GreenPrint for Minnesota: State Plan for Environmental Education
offers guidance to individuals, organizations, and agencies that deliver or
support environmental education in Minnesota. The GreenPrint is designed to
foster and expand partnerships to produce and provide EE programs and materials
to Minnesota citizens. The 2001 revised GreenPrint reflects the input of over
900 stakeholders. Implementation of the GreenPrint will provide Minnesotans
with the knowledge and skills to become active and engaged citizens to help
keep our communities healthy and vital.
Literacy Scope and Sequence is a series of EE concepts that support
an understanding of our environment through a systems framework. The framework
is built upon a set of sequenced benchmarks that define the scope of environmental
knowledge students need to be environmentally literate. Highlighting the interrelations
of the natural and social systems, the scope and sequence is a great tool for
formal and non-formal educators. It is the first of its kind in the U.S.
are another tool the OEA uses to support EE. Many projects, programs, and resources
would not have been developed without grant assistance. From waste minimization
programs on college campuses to environmental literacy research, these grants
have made a difference. Here are number of EE products from past OEA grants.
- The Minnesota
Report Card on Environmental Literacy documents the results of the first
statewide survey concerning environmental literacy of adults in Minnesota.
A random sample of 1,000 Minnesota adults was surveyed in 2001 for knowledge
about, attitudes toward, and behaviors related to the environment.
Wonders: A Guide to Early Childhood for Environmental Educators. This
is a tool to aid environmental educators in designing developmentally appropriate
programs and activities for early childhood.
- ESL resources.
Environmental education is for people of all cultures. The OEA has funded
the development of these free resources using environmental issues as their
integrating concept. These workbooks are intended for students in English
as a second language (ESL) and limited English proficiency (LEP) classes.
coordination and partnerships
Offering coordination and serving as a catalyst for EE providers is the second
component of capacity building. The OEA furthers this through a variety of programs.
Environmental Education Advisory Board (EEAB) is composed of 11
citizen members and 9 agency representatives. This board, which originated the
GreenPrint and SEEK, is housed at the OEA and serves to advise the director
and EEAB participants. It is a great vehicle to foster coordinated EE partnerships
Partners include 160 organization, agencies, institutions, and
individuals who provide EE to Minnesotans. See the list of partners on the SEEK
Grantees and people involved in EE grant projects. See OEA's
list of awarded grants.
Environment as an Integrating
Context for Learning (EIC). In partnership with the Department
of Children, Families and Learning and the national State Education and Environment
Roundtable (SEER), the OEA works with Minnesota schools to implement an educational
approach that combines best practices with the local environment while simultaneously
addressing content standards from multiple disciplines. EIC uses the school's
natural and socio-cultural settings to engage students in schoolwork that they
perceive as relevant to their daily lives, thus increasing their motivation
for learning and academic achievement.
communication among EE providers
With all the organizations, agencies, and individuals working to educate Minnesotans
on environmental issues, communication channels and opportunities are imperative
to successful EE. OEA's focus on communicating information to others is apparent
in many of its activities.
The SEEK Bulletin is a bi-monthly email newsletter offering
new and time-worthy environmental education items pulled from the SEEK website.
Sign up to receive the SEEK Bulletin: www.seek.state.mn.us/email.cfm.
The Environmental Education Workshops and Brown Bags are promoted
through email notices. If you would like to receive these notices, email OEA's
Jerome Davis <email@example.com>
and ask to be placed on the EE Events member list. Please include your name,
title, organization,d ivision/department, mailing address (valid street address
or PO Box), city, state, zip, county, and phone number.
Environmental Education Advisory Board gives agencies and citizens,
along with the public, a chance to communicate on issues at hand within their
organizations and at the state level.
Personal communication is considered key in learning what
is needed by and what is available to Minnesotans. One-on-one assistance with
others working in the environmental field is an important element in delivering
effective, relevant environmental education.
The ability to effectively educate others on environmental issue takes more
than technical environmental knowledge. It requires education skills and the
ability to communicate. The OEA offers a variety of skill-building programs.
Workshops are given monthly by the OEA because of the expressed
need of our customers. Over 800 people representing state, local, and federal
government, nonprofits, business, consultants, and educators have participated
in these workshops, with many return participants. These workshops provide fundamental
educational skills for those individuals that are trained as scientists, technical
specialists, and researchers, as well as up-to-date education tools for the
trained educators seeking assistance in honing their skills in order to better
educate their audiences.
Regional EE workshops. The regional OEA environmental education staff in greater
Minnesota provides regional EE workshops, developed in partnership with other
local organizations, according to the needs of the particular audiences. Having
access to these opportunities, without the time and costs associated with traveling
to the Twin Cities, is highly valued by EE professionals in Greater Minnesota.
One-on-one skill-building assistance is offered as the situation warrants.
The OEA environmental education team is very knowledgeable in the field of environmental education
and open to sharing their expertise.
For information on national EE Capacity Building, visit the
National Environmental Education Advancement Project (NEEAP).
Privacy Statement | SEEK is a program of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency