EdVentures for Educators
Why This Project Matters
Supporting teachers to help them develop understanding and expertise in environmental science education can pay enormous dividends. Teachers are in an excellent position to encourage students to become environmental stewards. However, integrating environmental science education into school curriculums can be a complex and time-consuming task.
To tackle this challenge, EdVentures for Educators is planning an immersive two-day professional development education event for October 2019, hosted by Environmental Education Association of Illinois (EEAI). Thirty-five teachers will work in teams to integrate environmental science education into curriculums. The training will be three-pronged and include academic instruction, field experience, and leadership development.
Why is SFI Involved?
The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program is supporting the EdVentures for Educators project led by the Environmental Education Association of Illinois.The association along with the U.S. Forest Service and Southern Illinois University will train teachers to engage students in environmental education through Project Learning Tree (PLT) activities. PLT is an initiative of SFI that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase youth understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it.
EdVentures for Educators will also include field experiences in Shawnee National Forest and an immersive education experience at Southern Illinois University’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center. Participants will complete the training with an implementation plan for environmental education activities aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Educators will participate in ongoing learning and community activities to strengthen the quality and implementation of environmental education, outdoor learning, and community resource connections.
How the Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
EEAI is the state affiliate organization for the North American Association for Environmental Education, which provides an online network of thousands of educators who will be exposed to EdVentures for Educators. EEAI also serves as the state sponsor for the PLT program in Illinois. The project plan and outcomes will be shared with other educators and states that might be interested in replicating this project. The project will also include follow-up webinars, collaborative teaching calls, online discussion forums, surveys to determine program effectiveness, and best practices for implementing new curriculum. Teaching teams who work with diverse audiences of underserved student populations will be given priority.
This partnership includes educators, researchers, conservationists, and government.
- Project lead: Environmental Education Association of Illinois
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Champaign County Forest Preserve District
- U.S. Forest Service — Shawnee National Forest
- Southern Illinois University — Touch of Nature Environmental Center
- Madison County Regional Office of Education