Southeastern Section - 67th Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 10-8
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BECHTEL, Randy, North Carolina Geological Survey, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612 and STADELMAN, Steve A., Youngsville, NC 27596

There is a strong connection between Geoscience Education and Environmental Education and, in North Carolina, content and concepts from both are integrated into the Essential Science Standards for K-12 (i.e. the state science curriculum). Geoscience Education (GE) has been the focus of research in recent years to improve teaching methods in support of student success, to promote effective communication of the geosciences, and promote the geosciences as a career path. Environmental Education (EE) offers techniques and methodologies to assist a GE presenter to effectively address a wider range of audiences. Per the Guidelines for Excellence for Nonformal Programs by the National Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE) (2009), “EE is learner-centered and provides participants with opportunities to construct their own understanding through hands-on, minds-on investigations. Engaged in direct experiences, learners are challenged to use higher order thinking skills. Environmental education provides real-world contexts and issues from which concepts and skills can be learned.”

The Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence are a set of documents to assist program developers and presenters by providing best practices for communicating with a wide range of audiences. These audiences include: (1) K-12 formal teachers and their students; (2) non-formal educators including park rangers, science museum staff, scout leaders and their audiences of all-ages such as homeschool groups, community groups, and civic organizations; and (3) college and university classes. Geologists are often asked to present to these audiences and, as the authors know from personal experience, applying concepts from the EE guidelines can aid program development and presentation. The guidelines are produced in various versions addressing specific audience needs. NAAEE offers Guidelines training both online (free) and in workshops (free or low cost) through their state-level affiliates. In North Carolina, additional training is available through the N.C. Environmental Education Certification program, who also aligns their programs with NAAEE Guidelines. This poster covers the key elements of the EE guidelines and provides GE examples from N.C.