Anecdotes to Evidence: Demonstrating the Impact of Environmental Education
- Network Innovation
Christy Merrick, Director of the Natural Start Alliance of the North American Association for Environmental Education, and Nicole Ardoin, Professor at Stanford University's School of Education and the Woods Institute of the Environment, are working together on a project to quantify and demonstrate the impacts of environmental education on student achievement and environmental outcomes. The environmental education community has long struggled with quantifying its impacts beyond anecdotal evidence, and this has limited its capacity to inform policy and appeal to funders and other influential partners. With a $4,000 Switzer Network Innovation Grant, Christy and Nicole will convene a meeting of partners and a communications professional to develop a plan for a research project that will pull together existing data on the impacts of environmental education on student achievement and environmental conservation, and summarize it in an accessible format. In so doing, the team will also identify gaps in research where more information is needed to pinpoint what works in environmental education, and will develop a set of best practices for educators. Working with a communications specialist, they will develop an outreach plan to reach appropriate government officials, policy makers, educators, and others who influence education policy nationwide.