In its bid to increase the environmental awareness and enable educators to deliver high-quality environmental education, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will spend up to $10.8 million over the next five years in its National Environmental Education and Training Program (NEETP), informally known as the Office of Environmental Education’s teacher training program.
The EPA has selected the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) to operate the program called “ee360” that seeks to provide environmental education training and support to environmental educators in the U.S. under a five-year cooperative agreement. This is the sixth multi-year cooperative agreement awarded by the EPA till date.
According to the U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “Environmental educators help learners of all ages understand and value the ecosystems around them. The teacher training program gives educators access to the best classroom and out-of-classroom materials and professional development opportunities, focused on using the environment as a platform for learning science, technology, engineering and math skills to improve decision-making.”
In its official website, the EPA mentions this program to be designed to include mandated functions and activities as part of the overall program. These include:
- Delivering in-service educator training that builds on existing quality EE programs.
- Delivering pre-service educator training that enables student teachers and faculty in education departments at colleges and universities to effectively include EE in their teaching.
- Developing, promoting and/or providing training on the national EE Guidelines for Excellence, which seek to improve the quality of EE. Supporting state “infrastructure” that enables educators to effectively teach about environmental issues (referred to as “state capacity building”).
- Developing and institutionalizing a materials review process that identifies, evaluates, and promotes quality EE materials.
- Supporting accreditation efforts to include EE in college and university teacher preparation programs.
- Supporting states in developing their own environmental educator certification programs.
- Facilitating access to EE information and materials online by expanding and enhancing existing resource centres.
As a nature friendly organization working continuously towards raising the environmental awareness across the globe, IOUF along with its partners the Universidad Azteca and the Universidad Central de Nicaragua, welcomes this initiative and considers it to be one of many towards a green sustainable future.