Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2007 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts


Understanding urban the environmental education landscape: A multi-city program inventory
 
Berkowitz, Alan
Co-Authors: Alan R. Berkowitz, Dawn Chavez, Heather Langford, Janie Gordon, Tara Tayyabkhan
 
Abstract: BES, through Parks and People and IES, has been an active member of the Urban Ecology Collaborative’s Education Working Group along with partners in Boston, New Haven, New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington DC. In 2005 we carried out a study to better understand the "urban environmental education system" of each region. The goals were to: 1) Identify partners and achievements in urban environmental education (EE) for building intra- and inter-city networks. 2) Identify gaps in terms of topics covered, delivery methods and education services provided, and audiences served (age, demographic, geographic/neighborhood). 3) Assess the capacity of the urban EE provider community to make a significant contribution to sustainable delivery of urban EE programming. 4) Determine the needs in terms of resources and funds, for sustaining and/or expanding the work of the community. Results will be presented as they pertain to some of our key hypotheses, including: 1) The community of EE providers and their resources are critical to providing at least a minimum level of urban EE programming in cities. 2) The community of EE providers is only loosely and incompletely coordinated in any given city, and functions almost entirely isolated from the community in other cities. 3) There is considerable variation in the audiences and location of EE programs, with clear and troubling gaps. 4) Intentional effort of urban EE providers to reach into under-served communities is crucial and may be the only way that they get any access to urban EE resources and experiences for their youth.