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):



Urban EE framework


What is urban environmental education? Let’s take a look at what the literature says. Read our recent literature review.

Kudryavtsev A., Krasny M. (2012). Urban environmental education: preliminary literature review. Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab, Ithaca, NY.

DOWNLOAD (PDF file): 2012-UEE-review.pdf

Sense of place survey

Q&A: How can I measure SENSE OF PLACE among participants of my urban environmental education program? One option would be to adapt a sense of place survey from this article (see page 4): Kudryavtsev, A., Krasny, M.E., & Stedman, R.C. (2012). The impact of environmental education on sense of place among urban youth. Ecosphere, 3(4). doi: 10.1890/ES11-00318.1

DOWNLOAD ARTICLE (PDF file): 2012-survey-article.pdf

Also, watch a related video: https://urbanee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/sense-of-place-survey


Measuring instruments

Participants of an EECapacity’s online course created several tools such as surveys to measure outcomes of EE. For example, these tools evaluate students’ environmental journals, interest to spend time in nature, and environmental research competence. Check out these tools, feel free to use or adapt for your EE program. Course: Measuring Environmental Education Outcomes (fall 2012); instructors Alex Kudryavtsev and Marianne Krasny; the EECapacity project (http://eecapacity.net).

DOWNLOAD INSTRUMENTS (PDF file): 2012-MEEO-tools.pdf


22 lesson plans

Download 22 lesson plans for urban environmental education programs. They have been developed by participants of the EECapacity’s “Environmental Education in Urban Communities” online course in fall 2012. I have taught this course during 12 weeks along with guest instructors Marianne Krasny and Akiima Price, the EECapacity project (http://eecapacity.net). Feel free to share this document. Use this reference: “EECapacity (2012) 22 lesson plans for urban environmental education. EECapacity, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.”

Download PDF file: 2012-EEUC-lessons


Community EE Guidelines

This fall, Marianne Krasny, Akiima Price, and I were teaching an online course “Environmental Education in Urban Communities.” Environmental educators and leaders educators from all over the U.S. who participated in this course developed their versions of the future Guidelines for Excellence focused on environmental education in communities. These guidelines are NOT official, yet they offer plenty of great ideas. I’d like to thank all educators who developed these guidelines. If you organize an environmental education program, you may want to take a look. This online course was organized by the EECapacity project (http://eecapacity.net)

DOWNLOAD GUIDELINES (PDF file): Guidelines.pdf


Community Environmental Education Guidelines

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) created the Guidelines for Excellence to improve the quality of environmental education. The Guidelines cover such topics as environmental literacy, professional development of environmental educators, and implementation of non-formal environmental education. Now, Bora Simmons and Akiima Price lead a project on developing a new set of Guidelines on Community Environmental Education. Watch this video, which I filmed last year at the NAAEE conference: