What a year it’s been! This year has seen a group of passionate and experienced (yet ever curious!) environmental educators meet, quickly become friends and co-workers, laugh, explore, and learn together. We are not done with our program, but when we look back at where we started, how far we’ve come (and all that we’ve done), it is that much more exciting to keep moving forward as a group.
Our coursework included a mixture of biology, environmental education, and education courses, as well as a few other elective courses. Just this past spring quarter, we took our choice(s) of biology electives including Ornithology, Soil science, Aquatic ecology, and Origins and diversity of land plants. Our three core education courses (Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment I and II, and Human Development) were already done, though those of us pursuing teaching licensure continued taking more education courses. Other elective courses over the course of the year included Grant-writing, Non-profit accounting, Storytelling, and more.
Together, we took several environmental education courses, from Special Methods of EE to Trends in EE. These classes pushed us to develop and apply new skills and expand and deepen our understanding and knowledge of EE. For example, in Special Methods of EE, we all designed an interpretive sign, ranging in topic from bees to fire to the local Darlingtonia. In Trends of EE, we discussed Blumstein and Saylan’s The Failure of EE (and how we can fix it), and in Concepts of EE, we wrote our own philosophy of EE and designed a teaching unit around a location and topics of our choice. Many of us also started our internships, known as Practical Applications in EE, at various locations, including Crater Lake NP. Leadership in EE credits were also applied to projects that we took on or a specific interest that we chose to develop in support of our Fall in the Field program.
We also are well on our way to being ready to start our Fall in the Field program. Our graduate program strives to develop not just the naturalist knowledge that every environmental educator should have, but also the skill in delivering EE programs in such a way that considers that audience and is relevant and engaging. What better way to develop those skills then to ask a group of graduate students to develop a place-based curriculum, organize and market the program, and then deliver and evaluate that program?
The process of developing our Fall in the Field program has led us to problem-solve, anticipate and settle any issues, and yet ultimately grow closer than ever. For more information on our graduate program, click here, and for more information on the 2012 Fall in the Field, click here. Over our summer break, stay tuned to hear from individual grad students reflect on their internships and other experiences.