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Measuring the Effectiveness of North American Environmental Education Programs with Respect to the Parameters of Environmental Literacy

Funding: 
$288,417
Year: 
2008

The North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) will assess environmental literacy levels of middle school students and compare the results to baseline data collected nationwide in 2007. In this study the research team will solicit and select a purposeful sample of schools and other program sites that represent the following categories: (1) Networks, e.g., Lieberman schools, Earth Force/Green Schools, Blue Ribbon School, etc.; (2) Programs, e.g. WET, WILD, PLT, IEEIA, etc.); (3) environmentally focused Charter and Magnet Schools; and (4) Independent Schools.

The North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) will assess environmental literacy levels of middle school students and compare the results to baseline data collected nationwide in 2007. In this study the research team will solicit and select a purposeful sample of schools and other program sites that represent the following categories: (1) Networks, e.g., Lieberman schools, Earth Force/Green Schools, Blue Ribbon School, etc.; (2) Programs, e.g. WET, WILD, PLT, IEEIA, etc.); (3) environmentally focused Charter and Magnet Schools; and (4) Independent Schools. By comparing 2008 programmatic assessments to the established 2007 base-line levels of environmental literacy (while investigating the variables that may contribute to school wide or classroom levels of literacy), the field of environmental education and NOAA may make future curricular and program decisions that are grounded in sound scientific data. The Research Team will review these results and generate a report to be submitted to NOAA and NAAEE (and other partners as needed). These results comprise a presentation at the annual NAAEE Conference and other venues. Articles will be submitted to professional newsletters and journals.

Competition: 2008: National Environmental Literacy Assessment
Award Number: 
NA08SEC4690026
Grant Dates: 
01/01/2008 to 12/31/2010
PI: 
Ms. Darlene Dorsey
State: District of Columbia   County: District of Columbia   District: DC00 
Partners:   Florida Institute of Technology, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith University of Wisconsin (UW–Platteville)

Secondary Analyses of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment: Phase I & II Students, Teachers, Programs and School Survey

Funding: 
$151,699
Year: 
2012

Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form.

Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form. The primary outcomes of these phases were to identify general levels of environmental literacy (measured by the MSELS) and to compare these levels both within and across the studies. Through the comparison of these data sets, we could identify schools in which grade level cohorts of students displayed markedly higher levels of environmental literacy variables than their peer cohorts at other schools. However, questions remain concerning the magnitude and influence of variables that were reported on those survey forms, as well as the relationships among variables measured by the MSELS scales. The major research questions that will guide this Phase are: 1) To what extent do the variables measured by these Forms during Phase One and Two appear to have contributed to or influenced students' environmental literacy scores; 2) How do these variables appear to interact with each other; and 3) What are the relative contributions of knowledge, affect, and skill variables to actual commitment or behavior. The resulting analyses of this study will be shared both through peer-reviewed publications as well as appropriate professional conferences.

Competition: 2010: NOAA Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2010 - 2011
Award Number: 
NA12SEC0080018
Grant Dates: 
05/01/2012 to 04/30/2014
PI: 
Dr. William McBeth Ph.D
State: District of Columbia   County: District of Columbia   District: DC00 
Partners:   University of Wisconsin (UW–Platteville)

HEARTForce: Hazard Education, Awareness & Resilience Taskforce

Funding: 
$500,000
Year: 
2018

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities.

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities. Our engagement model empowers youth i) to envision community resilience through immersive scenario-based role play based on a solid understanding of the relevant science, ii) to learn about natural hazards through engaging Colorado-focused lessons, iii) to initiate conversations about hazard preparedness from within communities, and iv) to develop and implement student-led resilience action projects. The project team is developing instructional materials for middle and high school students: four lesson plans focused on different hazards (fire, flood, drought, extreme heat), four complementary scenario-based role-play games with a focus on youth empowerment and a teacher workshop based on these materials. Each school implementation follows a sequence in which the lesson plan activities are conducted, followed by a scenario-based role play game and reflection. Building on their experience with the game, students develop resilience strategies for their community and present those at a community Resilience Expo. The project has the following three objectives: 1) Increase Colorado secondary teachers’ knowledge and confidence to teach about local natural hazards, and to facilitate discussions about community resilience; 2) Increase Colorado youth’s understanding of natural hazards, their community’s vulnerability, and their involvement in resilience planning efforts, and 3) Enhance the capacity and empowerment of young people in Colorado to engage in dialogue with their peers, families, and community stakeholders about community resilience issues and identify, develop, and implement resilience actions. A needs assessment disseminated to Colorado teachers guides the project team in the development of all instructional materials and allows for customizing the content to teacher needs. The project evaluation explores the efficacy of the program model and studies the impact of the project activities on students and teachers. Specifically, the evaluation studies students’ confidence and ability to engage in dialogue around community resilience, level to which students increase their understanding of natural hazards and resilience planning, and the ways in which teachers increase their content knowledge and confidence in teaching about natural hazards. The project fills a critical gap in Colorado’s resilience planning which does not include teachers and youth. The project is guided by partners from the NOAA RISA program Western Water Assessment, seven NOAA science advisors, Science on the Sphere collaborators, and is being implemented together with over 20 community partners, school partners and collaborators from across Colorado. Over the course of the three-year program, the project activities will train and support 140 teachers, engage 400+ students and result in 11 Resilience Expo events across Colorado, from primarily rural communities. The instructional units and the games will be used in classrooms with 600+ students.

Competition: 2018: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA18SEC0080007
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2018 to 10/31/2021
PI: 
Dr. Anne Gold (Reuther)
State: Colorado   County: Boulder   District: CO02 
Partners:   Earth Force, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks / The Wild Center, NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO), NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Boulder, Colorado Forecast Office, NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) / NOAA Planet Stewards, Foothills United Way, City of Boulder / Office of Emergency Management, University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell / Climate Change Initiative, Wild Rose Education, Roaring Fork School District No. Re-1 / Glenwood Springs Middle School, Montrose County Re-1j School District / Montrose High School, Gunnison Watershed Re1J School District / Gunnison Middle School, Early College of Arvada, St. Vrain Valley Re 1j School District / Westview Middle School, Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park High School, Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park Middle School, Garfield County / Community Development, Gunnison County / Office of Emergency Management, City of Arvada / Office of the City Manager, City of Longmont / Public Works & Natural Resources, Larimer County / Office of Emergency Management, City of Boulder / Resilient Boulder, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Education & Outreach, Mountain Studies Institute, University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Western Water Assessment, Adams State University / Luter Bean Museum / Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, Northeast Colorado BOCES Western Colorado University