What is Environmental Education?

The Siskiyou Environmental Education Center focuses on providing environmental education to southwestern Oregon and beyond. But what does environmental education actually entail? It is a huge discipline and there exists many interpretations about what is meant by “environmental education.”

What is your definition of environmental education?

Is it science?  Is it experiential?  Is it in the classroom?  Are politics involved?  Is it advocacy?  Is team building involved?  Is it the same as outdoor education?  Who is the audience?  What is the goal?

My definition:

Environmental education inspires people to care about the environment.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

Environmental education is the study of the relationships and interactions between dynamic natural and human systems.

Northern American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE):

Environmental education (EE) teaches children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment, and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Environmental education is a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving, and take action to improve the environment. As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions.


Environmental education (EE) refers to organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably.

Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education:

Environmental education may best be defined as a process directed at creating awareness and understanding about environmental issues that leads to responsible individual and group actions. 

Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

Environmental education is a process by which people develop awareness, concern and knowledge of the environment… and learn to use this understanding to preserve, conserve and utilize the environment in a sustainable manner for the benefit of present and future generations.

Cohort 6 learning about Hobart Bluff from their elders in Cohort 5.
Cohort 6 learning about Hobart Bluff from their elders in Cohort 5.

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