I am compiling urban environmental education resources. Would you mind sharing any that come to mind, including a brief description and/or why you think it's a great resource?
Urban EE resources
Iowa has a constant battle between natural resources and agriculture. The view that many citizens share is that public land/parks/trails are wasted land that should be put into agriculture. Environmental educators are the face of this issue in our community and may get asked questions about the value of seemingly "wasted" public land.
The Nature Conservancy commissioned a report funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation entitled "Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Activities in Iowa". A team from Iowa State University wrote an valuable report researching the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Iowa from the jobs that the construction creates to the dollar amount brought into the community from visitors to the area. Their economic research is broken down into state vs county resources as well as recreation type (trails, water trails, parks, fishing, hunting etc.). There is data provided by county so a EE professional could look up their county and have a dollar amount for the economic impact in their county alone.
This resource is great for providing hard evidence in the form of dollars and visitor numbers for the importance of recreation areas as opposed to agricultural areas.
This resource is specific to Iowa but I believe that it would provide an accurate estimate for other states in the midwest. It would be a useful jumping off point for an EE professional to use in a different state. It would also provide the base information for conduction research specific to your own home state or county.
(2012) Otto, Tyler, Erickson. "Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Activities In Iowa". Department of Economics, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University. http://www.card.iastate.edu/research/resource-and-environmental/items/DN...
This website links you to the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education:
This organization was started through New York University to promote environmental literacy and sustainability. The organization also provides year-round programs to help teachers incorporate EE into their classrooms and provides EE opportunities for teachers through field work, courses, and experiences in urban EE. This website lists various resources for educators, including projects the Collaborative has funded, curriculum links and videos, career information for students, and journals and publications on environmental education. This website seems to be a place where many resources on environmental education have all been listed here to make it a “one-stop-shop” for finding information when building lesson plans.
The one thing I have noticed is that some of the links are out of date or don’t work. While the website has been updated this year, there are some parts of it that seem a little out of date. A lot of the links listed, though, are ones that can still be useful for educators. It seems that this organization might provide funds for projects at schools, so the organization itself may be a great resource for teachers interested in started certain urban EE projects or programs. I also liked that other urban EE centers and organizations were listed, which makes it easy to find places that teachers can either visit or reach out to when planning lessons. One of my favorite parts of the website was a Google maps that had EE resources pinned already for you. If you lived in the NYC area, you could see exactly where resources were, which saves someone a lot of time looking up places. This website has put together a lot of information in one place to make it easier for someone starting out in EE, so anyone looking for resources in NYC or other places could use it for many different lesson ideas. While it is focused on NYC, there are a lot of resources that can be applied to other places, too.
Instead of looking for a website, I looked for urban environmental education social media resources. I discovered the Urban EE Collective group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/urbaneecollective/. Similar to EE Pro, this group on Facebook is a place for practitioners and students to come together to share ideas, resources, programs, people, best practices, and innovative community work. Scrolling down the group's history, there are posts linking to jobs, articles about innovative work happening around the world, grant opportunities, and questions that group members have about the work they do where they are seeking answers. There are presently over 2,500 members, which means that if you join you are in touch with quite a large group.
I think this is a good resource if you already use Facebook. Facebook is useful in that it compiles all of your friends and organizational links into your homepage feature, allowing you to prioritize which information you want and that you do not. So, the ease of access to information is nice. But, information in this context is only as rich as the community that is generating and supporting it. Looking at some of the posts, there do not seem to be a high number of "likes" or comments. Perhaps if the group moderator posted something about asking which resources the group would like to see, other members could start focusing on what content is most engaging.
The only one that came to my mind was the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the article of Conserving The Future as mentioned in the list of resources.
I believe that this organization not only has an outstanding repore with the public, but has many resources to ensure that EE practices can be taken and taught by nature centers, schools, environmental stations, and to many families. In the resource article that was provided, the read was mainly how the efforts put in now can be echoed in the future generations for conservation practices. If people want to enjoy nature and wildlife for future generations, it is pertinent that we must show them how to protect, conserve, and manage what we hold most dear.
The Department of USFW reaches unlimited number of public and private sectors of the population and has worldly influences on their management, preservation, and conservation. The USFW Service has many different types of resources and materials that can be applied to Urban EE. One commonly known resource that can be applied to elementary school and higher is the Duck Stamp contests. Students are able to enter into a duck stamp drawing/ photo contest and out of hundreds of submissions one is chosen to the next duck stamp in our nation. Its one unique way to get our youth more exposed to the wildlife and nature aspect of our environment.
On the page of the USFWS, there are multiple links you can choose from to learn about, get permits, and see the emergency endangered species list within your area/region. Even though this is most likely a common resource to know about, its really good to understand the importance of knowing just how great your resources can be.
Recently I've been working on a gardening for birds initiative and have come across quite a few differente helpful organizations like KidsGardening.org and Nature Works Everywhere (part of the Nature Conservancy). I especially like Nature Works Everywhere. They not only provide lesson plans, but also accompany many of their resources with videos and tutorials. They also have a great search function which pulls up some helpful urban gardening lesson plans and designs: https://www.natureworkseverywhere.org/resources/?tag=urban.
I found a great resource called UrbanHabitats.org, an electronic journal on the biology of human habitats around the world. This on-line journal was recently taken over by Eagle Hill Publications, a magazine publisher that currently publishes the journals "Northeastern Naturalist", "Southeastern Naturalist", and "Caribbean Naturalist". (Note: the name of this online journal will be changing soon to "UrbanNaturalist".) The on-line journal has some excellent issues such as "Green Roofs & Biodiversity", "Birds in the Urban Environment", and "Urban Floras", and many others. I discovered the website when I was searching for urban environmental education lesson plans, and found an article called "Bringing the Urban Environment Into the Classroom: Learning From an Estuarine Mesocosm" (http://www.urbanhabitats.org/v03n01/classroom_pdf). The lesson plan provides background on the importance of nurturing biophilia in school children through hands-on environmental education activities, in addition to detailing the materials, procedure, evaluation, results from a pilot test of the program, and follow up lesson ideas. The website is a wealth of information for educators who are working in urban habitats.