Environmental Education Programs
for Kids and Youth
The key to furthering one’s knowledge about good practices that help sustain the environment is through environmental education. By taking part in programs that are specifically designed to help people explore environmental issues, engage in problem-solving, and encourage them to take action and improve the environment, individuals can make positive contributions to society (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Many of these environmental education programs are aimed at children to instill a sustainable education from an early age.
Below are two programs that are designed to further one’s environmental education.
As a growing phenomenon, Eco-Schools encourages young people to engage in their environment by allowing them the opportunity to actively protect it. Through this environmental education program, students will experience a sense of pride and achievement at being able to have a voice in environmental management policies of their schools.
By combining learning with hands-on experiences, the entire program is run according to an all-inclusive, participatory approach involving students, teachers, and the local community. Some of the projects created by Eco-Schools include The Great Plant Hunt, a campaign in which focuses on biodiversity with an emphasis on plants, and also the Litter Less Campaign, which educates students on the challenges of litter and waste in their communities.
Eco-Schools is an international program with campuses participating from all over the world and those interested in joining can contact Eco-Schools directly to see if the program is offered in their location.
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is one of America’s leading organizations in lifelong environmental. They create opportunities for people to experience and learn about the environment in ways that improve their lives and the health of the planet. NEEF offers a program called Greening STEM Hub!, in which formal and non-formal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is bridged together to focus on real world-challenges within the natural environment.
Challenges addressed include an investigation into the impacts of acid deposition and air pollution at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and discovering species of small undocumented carnivores at the Saguaro National monument. The program is available for schools and organizations within the United States to implement, but for it to be effective there must be partnerships between the school and organizations within the community.
For those who don’t reside in the United States, or don’t have access to a school that is associated with NEEF, there are numerous free online resources on the NEEF website that provides an experience similar to environmental education programs for students in grades K-12. With different lesson plans aimed at different age groups, students can expect a fun and interactive way to learn about environmental education.
Environmental education is something that everyone can benefit from, regardless of their age. Beginning one’s environmental education at a young is an excellent way to promote the importance of sustaining the environment. By taking part in one of several environmental education programs offered, children and young adults can gain a thorough understanding of what it means to be environmentally friendly and how to inspire others in their communities to take action that will reduce harm to the environment.
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