Manuscript: Urban environmental education


I have just submitted a manuscript entitled “Urban environmental education” (co-author: M. Krasny) to the Journal of Environmental Education. We reviewed a great deal of academic literature mentioning the term “urban environmental education” and found several trends in this field of research and practice. We are awaiting responses from referees, but you already can download the manuscript here: 2013-UEE-submitted

Here is the abstract:  “As increasing numbers of people are living and experiencing the environment in cities, diverse urban environmental education practices are emerging. We conducted a systematic literature review and synthesis of academic publications to better understand the goals guiding environmental education practices in cities. Five broad trends in urban environmental education reflecting different goals were identified: (1) City as Classroom, (2) Problem Solving, (3) Environmental Stewardship, (4) Youth and Community Development, and (5) City as Social-Ecological System. The first two trends reflect broader currents in environmental education; other three trends emerged in large part from practices taking place in cities. This paper uncovers rich traditions of urban environmental education mostly in the American context, and provides a framework for this important area of educational practice and research.”




My dissertation is finished, and available to download: 2013-dissertation. I sincerely thank everyone who helped me during my PhD research on urban environmental education and sense of place! Below I would like to copy the acknowledgements section from my dissertation.

Kudryavtsev, A. (2013). Urban environmental education and sense of place. (PhD dissertation), Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. (Download: 2013-dissertation)


This dissertation was a collaborative effort. I am indebted to many great people, programs, and organizations that provided tremendous support to this work. I am happy to have this opportunity to thank at least some of them.

My deep gratitude goes to my research committee. I profoundly thank my committee chair Dr. Marianne Krasny, who is a hard-working, honest, resourceful, and adventurous person and advisor. Marianne inspired my interest in interdisciplinary research, especially connecting ideas about natural resources, education, and communities. She helped me find or apply for several fellowships, grant programs and professional networks. She supported my research presentations in conferences and seminars in Durban, South Africa (2007), Virginia Beach, Virginia (2007), Shanghai, China (2010), Durham, North Carolina (2011), Uppsala, Sweden (2013), and Marrakech, Morocco (2013), as well as my project presentations at the Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnership fellowship workshops in Vermont (2008) and South Carolina (2009), and several seminars and symposia at Cornell University. Marianne always found time to work with me and other graduate students, despite being incredibly busy as Department Chair, and managing multi-million dollar national research and outreach projects, including Garden Mosaics and EECapacity. She provided feedback on my papers and responded to my emails almost instantly, sometimes at five o’clock in the morning and on weekends. She made my participation possible in very rewarding projects, such as the EECapacity workshops, and helped me develop and facilitate two online professional development courses: “Environmental Education in Urban Communities” in Fall 2010 and Fall 2012, and “Measuring Environmental Education Outcomes” in Fall 2012 sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Marianne is a great scholar, leader, and mentor; working with her was an exceptional honor.

I acknowledge and thank my other extremely supportive committee members—Dr. Richard Stedman, Dr. Scott Peters, and Dr. Mark Bain—who helped me move through my research by offering their expertise in development sociology, education, natural resources, research methods, and other areas. Richard Stedman introduced me to the sense of place literature, as well as environmental psychology and sociology in general. It is incredibly exciting to do research about sense of place because connection to places is fundamental to being human. I am also glad that most people can understand and appreciate my research because everyone intuitively knows what a place is, and everyone has personal ties to some meaningful places in cities, in wild areas, or elsewhere. Scott Peters taught me about community education and development, and helped me understand and appreciate the narrative research method. Scott’s insights into the narratives approach were important for my dissertation project. Learning about narratives was also significant on a more personal level because we all learn through stories. Narrative approach helps me better understand people, professional biographies, organizations, communities, discourses, and the whole of society from a different perspective. Mark Bain helped me to think about the urban environment using the system approach, and to relate sense of place and ecosystem-level outcomes of urban environmental education to human well-being. I am profoundly sad that Mark recently passed away; he is missed by many. I also appreciate that my committee supported me in using both quantitative and qualitative methods, allowing me to explore my research questions from diverse perspectives.

I am happy that my research site was New York City, which I proudly call “my research laboratory.” No place in the world can compare to this vibrant and diverse global city. New York City is an ideal place to study and explore urban environmental education because of the diversity of educational practices, approaches, and ideas that are found there. I am enormously grateful to many outstanding environmental educators, community leaders and students in New York City who contributed to this research, including Adam Green, Adam Liebowitz, Adelaida “Addy” Guance, Andre Rivera, Anthony “Tony” Archino, Anne-Marie Runfola, Carol Kennedy, Celina “Cicy” Medina, Chrissy Word, Damian Griffin, Danny Peralta, Dawn Henning, Elizabeth “Alex” Severino, Govin Baichu, Jennifer Beaugrand, Jennifer Plewka, Julien Terrell, Nia Terrelonge, Sharon De La Cruz, Stephen Oliveira, and Victor Davila. They all possess remarkable expertise in social and environmental issues in urban communities, and in urban environmental education. They wholeheartedly endorsed this research project, wrote letters of support for my grant applications, contributed to my research proposal, shared their narratives, administered the sense of place surveys, and shared their passion and knowledge about urban communities, environmental education, urban environment, the Bronx, and New York City. Without their expertise, enthusiasm, and support this work would not have been possible. They and other staff members welcomed me to be part of their urban environmental education programs in their organizations, including the Bronx River Alliance, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Rocking the Boat, Phipps Community Development Corporation, Satellite Academy High School, THE POINT Community Development Corporation, and Mosholu Preservation Corporation. I thank all of the students in urban environmental education programs in these organizations who helped me learn about urban environmental education through informal communication or by participating in my surveys and narrative inquiry.

Because this research project was participatory, I had the opportunity to become part of the communities in my research site. One of many related meaningful moments was when Jennifer Plewka gave me the key for the Drew Gardens gate, which is perhaps the most diverse community garden in the South Bronx in terms of participants, plants, ecosystems, and community activities. To me, this key symbolizes that I became a member of local environmental communities in the Bronx—one of the people who cares about nature and people in New York City. Another gift I received from a member of the Bronx community is a skateboard made by Victor Davila, one of the high school students who participated in my narrative interviews. Victor organized EcoRyders, an environmental education program that teaches younger students how to assemble and paint skateboards, and to use skateboards to explore the South Bronx neighborhoods and ride to community gardens to help gardeners. The painting on my skateboard features the New York City skyline and urban trees.

During my time at Cornell University, I moved in and out of New York City several times, and lived in the city for about two years total. Many of the places I visited and the people I met in New York City influenced my research, became part of my own identity, and represent my place meaning for this city—including communities in the Bronx, many environmental leaders and other community members, the Bronx River, the whole of New York City, Midtown, Downtown, Lower East Side, Harlem, wilderness sites, skyscrapers, architecture, museums, diverse cultures and languages, UN Headquarters, community gardens, oyster reefs, the High Line park, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, Time Square, Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, City Hall, New York Harbor, the Atlantic Ocean in Breezy Point, Hudson River, community gardens, the subway, busy streets, green roofs, beautiful waterfronts, and boats on the Bronx River. I am thankful that I experienced first-hand all of these things and learned many stories about them, including from local people and academic publications. All of these interactions and relationships influenced my view of the urban environment and how I wrote this dissertation.

My communications with my Bronx research partners kept me going during this project. I would like to share some excerpts that brightened my days, informally validated this research, and helped me remember why our work together is valuable. Chrissy Word (Rocking the Boat, email sent on September 2, 2010) once wrote to me, “You’ll be missed around RTB! I really appreciate your hard work and commitment to both your research and to the organizations and people that are a part of it. I also look forward to seeing the results of your research and to any future opportunities to work with you again in the future.” In another email (October 26, 2011), Chrissy mentioned, “I must say that your research really helps to inform my work at RTB as well as Butterfly Project.” Damian Griffin (Bronx River Alliance, excerpt from an audio recording on August 20, 2010) said, “I’d like to tell you that I think you’ve been a big help in bringing all these organizations [along the Bronx River] together. You’ve been a really good conduit, connection between the organizations. So you’ve become a part of environmental education in the Bronx. I think that’s really neat. You’ve done this really interesting… the study itself is great. The ideas that were brought are interesting and important. And just your physical being here and moving between and looking has become like a necessary instrument. I don’t know how you are going to ever leave and not come back.” Jennifer Plewka (Phipps CDC, email sent on January 6, 2011) mentioned, “We all miss you Alex, The Bronx is not the same without our favorite super-motivated Siberian.” Carol Kennedy (Satellite Academy High School, email sent on 8/2/2010) noted, “Thanks so much for making [my project] part of your [research] program. Your input made my experiences (and the students) richer (just what an objective observer does not want to hear).” Adam Green (Rocking the Boat, excerpt from an audio recording on 9/8/2010) told me, “I am fascinated actually to… at some point hear your observations… having spent as much time with the different organizations as you have – you should be a consultant now to the funding agencies and you would probably be able to give them some good perspective.” Thank you all for these kind words of encouragement. It has been an honor to work with you!

During my program at Cornell University, I enjoyed exchanging research ideas with many fellow graduate students, some of whom have already become professors in different universities. Among them are Eunju Lee, Jason Corwin, Jennifer Shirk, Jesse Delia, Keith Tidball, Kendra Liddicoat, Lilly Briggs, Olivia Aguilar, Philip Silva, Santi “Joy” Saypanya, Tania Schusler, and Yue Li. They would often provide feedback on my research ideas, manuscripts, and practice presentations, or just cheer me up. It was also great to share office space, work as a fellow teaching assistant, or chat about research and teaching ideas with Brandon Kraft, Christine Moskell, Darrick “Nighthawk” Evensen, Phuntsho Thinley, Steve Raciti, and some other cool characters among graduate students in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). I also had fun exchanging environmental ideas with Sihai Wang and Zafri Hassan on our one month, 11,000 mile road trip around the United States in summer 2012—while visiting National Parks and National Seashores, including Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Point Reyes, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Gulf Island, Everglades, Great Smoky, and Mammoth Cave—and while visiting several cities such as Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Tucson, New Orleans, Key West, Miami, and Columbus. Because people learn much about certain places in comparison to other places, my travel experiences in the United States helped me to better understand and appreciate New York City as my research site.

I also acknowledge Drs. James Lassoie, Joseph Yavitt, Steven Wolf, and Timothy Fahey, professors in DNR, as well as Suzanne Wapner—for whom I worked as a teaching assistant and whose outstanding teaching and research approaches influenced my scholarship. I also thank the whole DNR, including everybody in the DNR Graduate Student Association, for being such a great intellectual and supportive community. The annual DNR Graduate Student Association Research Symposium, and weekly DNR seminars were particularly helpful events in advancing my own research.

This dissertation would not have been possible without immense resources provided by the Cornell University Library. Particularly, Mann Library provided me with state-of-the-art information technologies, useful workshops on information search and management, comfortable workspace, supportive atmosphere, place for collaboration with other students, and a beautiful view of Beebe Lake. I would like to thank staff at Mann Library, especially Betsy Bush and Tom Clausen along with other people at the circulation desk who were incredibly professional and always served patrons with a smile, as well as other behind-the-scenes staff who processed my multiple requests for material purchases, borrowing, and delivery when I was reviewing large amounts of literature. Browsing the library collection shelves was one of my favorite pastimes, which often led to discovering relevant books, articles, or authors that I was not aware of. I am glad that the library had an electronic subscription to most journals in my research area. Indeed, Mann Library with its specialization on environmental and interdisciplinary research areas was an ideal library to support my project. When some materials were not available, librarians would always positively respond to my request to subscribe additional journals or purchase books related to my dissertation. Through a rapid delivery system, the Cornell University Library also gave me free access to books and other materials at Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. I think that at different times some books were delivered to me from all of these universities, which helped me conduct thorough literature reviews for my dissertation, including the review on urban environmental education, and review on sense of place. I am also grateful to the New York Public Library, whose famous main branch building on Fifth Avenue I used as my office for an entire summer. Yet I also acknowledge other information resources that are often taken for granted, such as Google Scholar, ERIC, other online databases, and Wikipedia, which facilitated my research.

I also thank the Cornell University Graduate School, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and faculty in different departments at Cornell University. Many people including DNR directors of graduate studies Dr. Clifford Kraft and Dr. Shorna Broussard Allred, and DNR assistants Erin Kelly, Meghan Baumer, and Sarah Gould provided ongoing, efficient administrative and informational support; they promptly and professionally handled any issues and made everybody feel welcome. Françoise Vermeylen at the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit helped me with statistics and the survey design. Sara Schaffzin helped me edit two chapters in this dissertation, and improve my academic writing skills. Some course instructors also indirectly shaped my work. Dr. Shelley Feldman’s course on comparative epistemologies was particularly challenging; although for this course I got the lowest grade of my college life (B+), I eventually started to appreciate different ways of thinking about knowledge and social research. Dr. Douglas Gurak’s course inspired me about the power and beauty of statistical methods. I am thankful to instructors at Cornell who taught me some Spanish and French, which helped me to communicate with some Spanish-speaking community members in the Bronx and with French-speaking participants of international conferences. I am also grateful to the whole education system at Cornell University and in the United States for enabling me to ask novel and interdisciplinary research questions, and giving me the best institutional support possible to answer these questions.

Sometimes I stop for a moment and realize that very few people the opportunity to go to an Ivy League school, work with the top scholars in the world, get the best intellectual support, and conduct research on one of the most interesting topics in one of the most exciting cities in the world. I wish more people were as lucky as I am, I wish more people had so many opportunities to learn, explore, and contribute to something meaningful. In addition, I also received a lot of support from different experts from outside the university. For example, professionals from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Natural Resources Group, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Education Advisory Council, Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, Trees New York, New York Restoration Project, Central Park Conservancy, New York Harbor School, The Battery Conservancy, and numerous other organizations helped me to better understand the city and the connections between people and the urban environment.

My special thanks go to a number of individuals and organizations that helped me better understand urban environmental education through internships, workshops, or our exchange of ideas. Gretchen Ferenz, Director of the Urban Environment Program at Cornell University Cooperative Extension—New York City, generously shared with me her environmental education network in the city and introduced me to numerous educational organizations, including in the Bronx and Manhattan. Gretchen also shared her passion for public service and working with underserved urban communities, and her inspiration about nature in New York City when she served as my internship supervisor during two or three summers in the city—when I had my own cubicle space in a building on 34th Street near the Empire State Building. I also happily listened to meaningful environmental stories from her husband Tom Fox, a great environmental leader; a founder of New York City Water Taxi; and advocate for open space, waterfront access, parks, greenways and community gardens in New York City. Christine Alfsen-Norodom, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and Specialist at UNESCO Office in New York, shared with me many brave ideas about organizing the urban environment and education during my internship in UNESCO. Dr. Thomas Elmqvist of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm University helped me and some of my research participants understand our research and practice through the framework of resilience, and invited us to conduct a presentation at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. All these people and other environmental leaders in New York City and elsewhere believed in my abilities and endorsed my project, which gave me confidence to pursue this project in the city.

Numerous ideas in my research were inspired by my brief or long-term communication and work with awesome people in different research institutions, the North American Association for Environmental Education, the EECapacity project, and other environmental organizations. These people include Arjen Wals, Akiima Price, Augusto “Gus” Medina, Bora Simmons, Joe Heimlich, Justin Dillon, John Fraser, Jose “Pepe” Marcos-Iga, Judy Braus, Karen Hollweg, Martha Monroe, Omari Washington, Paul Hart, Rue Mapp, and Thomas Marcinkowski. Though they may not realize it, their generosity in sharing their professional stories, insights, and advice shaped the direction and form of this research project. I also thank editors and anonymous reviewers in two journals, Environmental Education Research and Ecosphere, whose constructive, critical, and positive feedback helped me revise two chapters, and publish them in these journals. Preliminary feedback from an editor in the Journal of Environmental Education helped me to significantly improve the chapter and manuscript on urban environmental education.

Many other people helped me in different ways during my field research in the Bronx, New York City. I thank all of the people who I informally met during my time in the Bronx for our conversations that directly or indirectly contributed to my project. I thank my landlord Sam Leon in the Bronx and his family, who provided my room in their house in the South Bronx near Yankee Stadium and the Grand Concourse—a room that was always ready for me whenever I needed to move to the Bronx to conduct research. This elderly gentleman is a great example of local community leaders—he voluntarily cleaned and washed the street on his block, built a flower garden between his house and a Puerto Rican theater, and watered street trees planted by MillionTreesNYC. His family and neighbors also helped me understand the history of immigrant communities in the Bronx and improve my Spanish, which actually helped me connect with some people in my research site. During three summers in the Bronx, Sam’s pigeons and parrots in a huge cage outside the house under my windows made sure that I woke up around four o’clock in the morning and start thinking about my research.

Although sitting at my desk and writing this dissertation was an enjoyable experience, some other activities outside my office were more memorable. Years later, I think I will remember that my program at Cornell University offered me opportunities to make friends with many researchers throughout the United States, to boat with students on the Bronx River, to participate in creative environmental education activities in the Bronx, to discuss with Marianne Krasny on the top of the Empire State Building whether Midtown Manhattan counts as a natural ecosystem, to explore with environmental educators several green roofs and green buildings in New York City, to attend the General Assembly meetings at the United Nations, to go into the crown of the Statue of Liberty, to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to watch sea lions in San Francisco, to climb up the Eiffel Tower in Paris and to walk on the Great Wall of China on the way to research conferences, to get lost with my environmental friends in the mazes of Marrakech, to hike with Cornell students in the White Mountains and the Adirondack Park, to enjoy the beautiful Cornell campus, and to have fun conversations with my fellow graduate students in Fernow Hall at Cornell University. I am thankful for these events inspiring my research.

Partial funding for this study was provided by the Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnership at the University of California, Berkeley. During this fellowship and through related workshops, I received valuable suggestions on my research from Carl Wilmsen, Dreamal Worthen, Heidi Ballard, Jill Belsky, Jonathan Long, Louise Fortmann, and Marla Emery. After this fellowship I still keep in touch with some of these wonderful mentors. The Cornell Urban Scholars Program (CUSP) in the Department of City and Regional Planning sponsored my preliminary work in New York City communities, and I thank program leaders Kenneth Reardon and Richard Kiely for introducing me to participatory research methods that benefit researchers and serve communities. CUSP was much more than a source of funding; it connected me to great leaders in the city, and included great events such as a research presentation at the Cornell University Tower Club on Wall Street, and a reception at New York City Hall (2007). Other funding for my research came from research assistantships through EECapacity, a national environmental education training program funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency; as well as from the Cornell University Graduate School, including several conference travel grants.

Above all, I sincerely thank my family. My mom and dad know little about my research, but know much about how to support me through our daily phone calls all these years during my studies at Cornell University. I think that a great deal of energy and motivation to work on my dissertation was based on my childhood nature-based experiences with my parents and grandparents. Perhaps I would not have studied environmental education if my close and extended family had not awakened my interest in the environment from an early age. While growing up mostly in cities, I developed a strong interest in learning about nature, different places, and different lifestyles—maybe because my family always had a vegetable or fruit garden wherever we lived; because as a child I spent most summers holydays with my grandparents in a small Siberian village up north and sometimes in towns near the Black Sea down south; and because my family often traveled by car, air, and ship in Siberian and Caucasian remote and developed areas. In some sense, my dissertation work is a continuation of my long-term journey through which I experience all kinds of people and places. I am thankful to my adventurous, open-minded, and warm-hearted parents who value learning, and who supported me in many meaningful ways during my many years of education. And I am thankful to my grandparents who encouraged my love for nature, offered an example of persistence and excellence, and shared meaningful stories and wisdom—which continues to inspire me.

All people and organizations mentioned above—and probably many other people who I forgot to acknowledge—should know that this dissertation is as much theirs as mine.

Elevated parks in Paris and New York



If you find yourself in Paris or New York, I would recommend exploring and comparing two similar parks that I have visited: one in New York (the High Line park) and in Paris (Promenade plantée). Both parks are built on top of obsolete railway infrastructure above the street level. Both parks are sources of inspiration for environmentalists, artists, and other residents. If you want to learn more about the High Line, here are two good books:

  • David, J., & Hammond, R. (2011). High Line: The inside story of New York City’s park in the sky. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • La Farge, A. (2012). On the High Line: Exploring America’s most original urban park (pp. 218). New York: Thames & Hudson.

Environmental education books


I was asked to share the most essential books on environmental education. I did not have such a list of books. So I put together some literature on environmental education that I consider important to understand this field. I have not read all of these books, but at least skimmed through them. Some of these publications are for researchers, others for educators. I would like to copy this list here, although this list is not complete, and probably it is missing some other important books. But I think some of these books could be included into a summer reading list for undergraduate students in environmental education programs, or could be useful for environmental educators. Please let me know if you want to add any other important environmental education books to this list:

  1. Ardoin, N., & Merrick, C. (2011-2012). Environmental education research bulletins. Issues 1-3, San Francisco: NatureBridge.
  2. Bakshi, T.S., & Naveh, Z. (Eds.). (1978). Environmental education: Principles, methods, and applications. New York: Plenum Press.
  3. Braus, J.A., & Wood, D. (1993). Environmental education in the schools: Creating a program that works. Washington, D.C.: NAAEE.
  4. Carson, R. (1965). The sense of wonder. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
  5. Clarke, P. (2012). Education for sustainability: Becoming naturally smart. London: Routledge.
  6. Clayton, S., & Myers, G. (2009). Conservation psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  7. Cornell, J.B. (1979). Sharing nature with children: A parents’ and teachers’ nature-awareness guidebook. Nevada City, California: Ananda Publications.
  8. Clover, D.E., de O. Jayme, B., Hall, B.L., & Follen, S. (2013). The nature of transformation: Environmental adult education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  9. Dickinson, J.L., & Bonney, R. (Eds.). (2012). Citizen science: Public participation in environmental research. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
  10. Elder, J.L. (2003). A field guide to environmental literacy: Making strategic investments in environmental education: Environmental Education Coalition.
  11. Falk, J.H., Heimlich, J.E., & Foutz, S. (Eds.). (2009). Free-choice learning and the environment. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
  12. Goleman, D., Bennett, L., & Barlow, Z. (2012). Ecoliterate: How educators are cultivating emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  13. Gruenewald, D.A., & Smith, G.A. (2008). Place-based education in the global age: Local diversity. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  14. Hayward, B.M. (2012). Children, citizenship and environment: Nurturing a democratic imagination in a changing world. London: Routledge.
  15. Hoot, J.L., & Szente, J. (Eds.). (2010). The Earth is our home: Children caring for the environment. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.
  16. Hungerford, H.R., Bluhm, W.J., Volk, T.L., & Ramsay, K. (Eds.). (2001). Essential readings in environmental education (2nd ed.). Champain, Illinois: Stipes Publishing.
  17. Johnson, E.A., & Mappin, M.J. (Eds.). (2005). Environmental education and advocacy: Changing perspectives of ecology and education. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  18. Leou, M.J. (2005). Readings in environmental education: An urban model. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
  19. Louv R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
  20. Louv, R. (2011). The nature principle: Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  21. Meier, D.R., & Sisk-Hilton, S. (Eds.). (2013). Nature education with young children: Integrating inquiry and practice. New York: Routledge.
  22. Nabhan, G.P., & Trimble, S. (1994). The geography of childhood: Why children need wild places. Boston: Beacon Press.
  23. Orr, D.W. (1992). Ecological literacy: Education and the transition to a postmodern world. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press.
  24. Orr, D.W. (1994). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  25. Palmer, J.A. (1998). Environmental education in the 21st century: Theory, practice, progress and promise. London: Routledge.
  26. Palmer, J., & Neal, P. (1994). The handbook of environmental education. London: Routledge.
  27. Patrick, P.G., & Dale Tunnicliffe, S. (2013). Zoo talk. Dordrecht: Springer.
  28. Rickinson, M., Lundholm, C., & Hopwood, N. (2009). Environmental learning: Insights from research into the student experience. Dordrecht: Springer.
  29. Robottom, I. (Ed.). (1987). Environmental education: Practice and possibility. Deakin University, Victoria, Australia: Deakin University Press.
  30. Saveland, R.N. (Ed.). (1974). Handbook of environmental education with international case studies. London: John Wiley & Sons.
  31. Saylan, C., & Blumstein, D.T. (2011). The failure of environmental education (and how we can fix it). Berkeley, California: University of California Press.
  32. Schoenfeld, C. (Ed.). (1971). Outlines of environmental education: From the 1969-70 and 1970-71 issues of the Journal of environmental education. Madison, Wisconsin: Dembar Educational Research Services.
  33. Sobel, D. (2005). Place-based education: Connecting classrooms and communities. Great Barrington, Massachusetts: The Orion Society.
  34. Sobel, D. (2008). Childhood and nature: Design principles for educators. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.
  35. Stone, M.K. (2009). Smart by nature: Schooling for sustainability. Healdsburg, California: Watershed Media.
  36. Stone, M.K., & Barlow, Z. (2005). Ecological literacy: Educating our children for a sustainable world. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
  37. Schlottmann, C. (2012). Conceptual challenges for environmental education: Advocacy, autonomy, implicit education and values. New York: Peter Lang.
  38. Smith, G.A., & Sobel, D. (2010). Place- and community-based education in schools. New York: Routledge.
  39. Stevenson, R.B., Brody, M., Dillon, J., & Wals, A.E.J. (Eds.). (2013). International handbook of research on environmental education. New York and London: Routledge.
  40. Thomashow, M. (2002). Bringing the biosphere home: Learning to perceive global environmental change. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  41. Thompson, P.J. (Ed.). (1997). Environmental education for the 21st century: International and interdisciplinary perspectives. New York: Peter Lang.
  42. Wilke, R.J. (Ed.). (1993). Environmental education teacher resource handbook: A practical guide for K-12 environmental education. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Outcomes of environmental education

What are desired outcomes of environmental education? Many believe that the main goal of environmental education is to develop knowledge and attitudes that contribute to pro-environmental behavior. However, educators also mention many other potential outcomes of environmental education beyond behavior. Last semester, I taught (along with Marianne Krasny as a guest instructor) a professional development online course for environmental educators. The course entitled “Measuring Environmental Education Outcomes” was part of the EECapacity project. The syllabus is available here (PDF): 2012-MEEO-Syllabus.pdf.

Below are some of environmental education outcomes that were mentioned by the course participants from all over the U.S., as well as other desired outcomes that I learned from some urban environmental education programs in New York City and from the literature. For example, some educators suggest that participation in environmental stewardship or nature experiences per se are legitimate outcomes (or even goals) of environmental education. Now, what are desired outcomes of your environmental education program? Do you see them listed below, or are they different?

Some desired outcomes of environmental education (click to enlarge):



I have just arrived to the U.S. On the way from JFK to Ithaca NY, I decided to stop by the new World Trade Center Memorial site. Falling water in two pools cancels the noise of the city, and a forest of trees on the Memorial Plaza brings more nature to this site. Trees are seen as “a symbol of hope and rebirth” and also play an important educational function by reminding us that the city is part of nature.

From city to wilderness



Interestingly, in Russia many cities end abruptly into wilderness. Forest begins right after you leave densely built urban areas. There are few suburbs similar to what you see in the U.S. Below is a photo that I took a few weeks ago from my window facing east in one of my hometowns (Tomsk, Siberia, Russia), a city of half million residents. The temperature is -40 degrees, birch trees. The apartment is on the fifth floor, and this is the last building on our street. The wilderness begins right behind the building. The second photo is from the same apartment, but from another window in the opposite direction looking west. I think in Russia and the U.S. people have distinct approaches to how cities and suburbs should be developed.