Northeast MN K-12 Environmental Education Needs Assessment Project

Peter Smerud Wolf Ridge ELC Kevin Zak Wolf Ridge ELC

Project Partners

Grants
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Public v. private Application processes Reporting & Finances

Teacher Survey
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Development
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‰

‰

EE in the US: A survey of pre-service teacher education programs (McKeown-Ice, 2000) An EE Needs Assessment of K-12 Teachers in Kentucky (Meichtry & Harrell, 2002) Environmental Education and Pre-service Teacher Preparation: A National Study (Heimlich,
McKeown-Ice, Braus, Barringer-Smith, & Olivolo, 2004)

Teacher Survey
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School
Grade Level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)
Area 1: EE at your school
‰ ‰ ‰ ‰

„

Teaching Methods Presently doing at school Content Knowledge EE Resources

Teacher Survey
„

Area 2: Environmental Education Needs
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EE Resources EE Professional Development
„ „ „ „

Content
Teaching Methods
Other resources
Opportunities

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Area 3: Potential Barriers to EE

Teacher Survey
„ „ „ „ „

56 schools visited Principals distributed surveys to teachers 114 surveys distributed 56 surveys returned (49%) Qualitative & Quantitative

EE at your School

Rank: Low (1) – High (5) 4.20 2.88 3.02 3.43

Teaching Methods 1. Comfort teaching EE 2. Other teachers actively teaching EE 3. Other teachers comfortable teaching EE 4. Administrators committed to providing EE

Presently do at my school

Question (n=56) Teach about the environment Stewardship Projects Visit ELCs & Nature Centers Teach outdoors Use outdoor school site EE guest speakers/programs Published EE curriculum Created own EE curriculum # 52 33 36 43 38 29 21 26 % 93% 59% 64% 77% 68% 52% 38% 46%

Presently do at my school (#s)

Question # Once per year 2-5 per year Once per month Once per week Seasonal Unitbased Integrated X only Not used

Teach about environment

52

2

2

8

11

3

14

8

4

4

Stewardship Projects

33

4

17

2

1

3

0

3

3

23

Visit ELCs & Nature Centers Teach outdoors

36

17

12

4

0

2

0

0

1

20

43

0

7

12

6

8

3

2

5

13

Presently do at my school (#s)

Question # Once per year 2-5 per year Once per month Once per week Seasonal Unitbased Integrated X only Not used

Use outdoor school site

38

2

4

9

6

4

1

3

9

18

EE guest speakers/ Programs Published EE curriculum Created own EE curriculum

29

9

12

3

3

0

1

0

1

27

21

2

7

1

1

0

3

1

6

35

26

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

30

Level of Content Knowledge
Topic Outdoor recreation (x-c skiing, hiking, etc.) General environmental issues (climate change, acid rain, etc.) Wildlife Personal growth and team building Physical sciences (weather, chemistry, etc.) Contemporary interactions of humans upon natural resources (forestry, recreation, development, mining, etc.) Aquatic ecosystems Earth Sciences (geology, watershed, etc.) Birds Historical interactions of human culture(s) upon natural resources (fur trade, logging, mining, etc.) Specific coastal resource management issues (fisheries, forestry, development, etc.) Rank 1 (low) – 5 (high) 3.91 3.70 3.51 3.50 3.49 3.45 3.31 3.28 3.25

3.24

3.02

EE Published Resources

Resource Great Lake Aquarium Lake Effects Wolf Ridge Lesson Plans L. Superior/Duluth Streams curriculum Project WET Project WILD Project Learning Tree A Greenprint for Minnesota MN Environmental Literacy Scope & Sequence North American Association for Env. Ed Guidelines for Excellence Leopold Education Project Unaware 15 13 19 10 11 11 31 25 30 34 % 27% 23% 34% 18% 20% 20% 55% 45% 54% 61% Not used 23 21 18 18 16 20 17 20 20 18 % 41% 38% 32% 32% 29% 36% 30% 36% 36% 32% Rank: Low (1) – High (5) 2.19 2.14 2.06 2.31 2.26 2.50 2.29 2.20 1.33 1.67

EE Resource Needs

EE Resource Needs Funding for EE activities & resources Field trip opportunities Speakers EE professional development & training Meetings with colleagues to share, network, & learn EE curriculum resources & supplies Lesson plans and written curriculum ideas Mailings regarding EE information & opportunities Development of teacher networks Student clubs Outdoor school site Rank: Low (1) – High (5) 4.21 3.91 3.80 3.59 3.59 3.53 3.48 3.31 3.26 2.98 2.83

EE Professional Development Needs

EE Professional Development Needs Specific coastal resource management issues (fisheries, forestry, development, etc.) Aquatic ecosystems Birds Current interactions of humans upon natural resources (forestry, recreation, development, mining, etc.) Historical interactions of human culture(s) upon natural resources (fur trade, logging, mining, etc.) Earth Sciences (geology, watershed, etc.) Wildlife Physical sciences (weather, chemistry, etc.) General env. issues (climate change, acid rain, etc.) Value of & rationale for environmental education Personal growth and team building Outdoor recreation (x-c skiing, hiking, etc.)
Rank: Low (1) – High (5)

3.33 3.25 3.11 3.11 3.09 3.07 3.04 2.98 2.96 2.76 2.76 2.51

EE Professional Development Needs

Rank: Low (1) – High (5) 3.41 3.24 3.19 3.13 3.13 3.11 3.08

Methods Outdoor teaching methods Place-based education Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) Outdoor motivation strategies Hands-on experiential education Classroom management outdoors Inquiry based learning

EE Professional Development Needs

Other resources Funding sources Transportation to an outdoor EE site off campus Grant writing EE equipment resources Integrating EE with other subjects Alignment of EE with MN Academic Standards Availability and use of written EE curriculum Internet resources relating to EE Development & use of outdoor EE site on campus Teaching about environmental issues Flexibility within daily school schedule Rank: Low (1) – High (5) 4.21 3.83 3.69 3.67 3.41 3.38 3.30 3.25 3.25 3.15 3.02

EE Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Development Opportunities Teacher in-service during school year Summer workshops University courses for credit Weekend workshops during school year Rank: least likely (1) – most likely (5) 4.05 3.46 2.96 2.39

Potential Barriers to EE

Barriers to teaching EE Inadequate funding Lack of access to transportation Lack of time amidst required core subjects Inadequate EE equipment resources Inadequate planning time Current structure of daily school schedule Inadequate written curriculum EE resources Lack of content knowledge about coastal environment Inadequate compensation for my efforts Difficulty making EE relevant to core subjects Does not address state academic standards Lack of fellow teacher support in your school Lack of administrative support Beyond the provisions in my contract Safety concerns associated with outdoor activities Lack of parent support in your school Rank: minor (1) – major (5) 4.16 3.61 3.55 3.50 3.48 3.35 3.19 3.02 2.62 2.61 2.54 2.30 2.13 2.00 2.00 1.94

EE Curriculum Resources

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Resource List Recommendations

Community Meetings
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4 Parent, Teacher, Student Organizations
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Kenwood Edison Elementary, Duluth (K-6) Silver Bay Public Schools, Silver Bay (K-12) Ordean Middle School, Duluth (6-8) Hermantown Elementary & Middle School, Hermantown (K-8)

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36 participants

EE Content Needs
Topic General environmental issues (climate change, acid rain, etc.) Contemporary interactions of humans upon natural resources (forestry, recreation, development, mining, etc.) Outdoor recreation (x-c skiing, hiking, etc.) Wildlife Earth Sciences (geology, watershed, etc.) Aquatic ecosystems Personal growth and team building Physical sciences (weather, chemistry, etc.) Specific coastal resource management issues (fisheries, forestry, development, etc.) Historical interactions of human culture(s) upon natural resources (fur trade, logging, mining, etc.) Birds Rank: Less (1) – More (5) 4.19 4.19 4.06 4.03 4.00 3.94 3.91 3.86 3.85 3.64 3.60

EE Resource Needs

EE Resource Needs Field trip opportunities Funding for EE activities & resources Speakers Student clubs EE professional development & training Outdoor school site EE curriculum resources & supplies Development of teacher networks Meetings with colleagues to share, network, & learn Lesson plans and written curriculum ideas Mailings regarding EE information & opportunities Rank: less (1) – more (5) 4.61 4.47 4.31 4.06 4.00 4.00 3.91 3.78 3.71 3.67 3.47

Community Meetings - Feedback
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What is happening?
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‰ ‰

EE occurs because of personal interest from teachers
Field trips
Parent & administrative support for EE

Community Meetings - Feedback

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Where to teach EE?
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Guest speakers Field trips Integrated with current curriculum Afterschool clubs Family nights

Community Meetings - Feedback
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Current Barriers?
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Funding Full Curriculum/Time Current EE opportunities (What’s available?) Transportation Professional Development Volunteers

Next steps …
Guide future research
„ Collaborative partnerships with individual schools/districts to address needs „ Develop new programs to address needs
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Next steps …
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Development of an EE resource network Seek funding resources

Q & A

Contact Info:
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Peter Smerud (smerud@wolf-ridge.org) Kevin Zak (kzak@d.umn.edu)