Placed-based learning is a critical tool for a well-rounded student. The key is for students to experience first-hand the anthropogenic impact of ecosystem interactions with instruction from knowledgeable researchers, educators and professionals. These interactions help students demystify the work involved in developing a sustainability framework for the future.
The Tiblisi Declaration (1977) is considered a framework of understanding to help create environmentally literate citizens for those in the environmental education and sustainability field. It states five clear objectives that should be targeted in educational programs delivered by institutions. Awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills and participation. Through awareness and the pursuit of knowledge, attitudes are developed which in turn directs individuals to develop skills to be able to enact change through participation.
Providing opportunities for students to gain access to environmental professionals creates a cadre of eco-literate students. Through transdisciplinary academic learning, programs like those offered at FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center can assist in the development of the next generation of scientists, educators and policy makers.
FAU Pine Jog Center in partnership with FAU MacArthur Campus, FAU Harbor Branch and Center for Environmental Students Riverwoods Field Laboratory offers a summer academic research and field methods institute for 9-12 Grade students. Called H2O to Go!, the program introduces students to scientists who are working in the field of environmental research to enable them to develop an understanding of the interconnectedness and complexity of South Florida water systems and the environmental issues facing them.
Students are exposed to research tools engineered by FAU that are currently being tested as solutions to Florida’s environmental challenges. The program is designed to give students an experience not easily obtained by the general population and provides a competitive edge to students interested in life science, engineering, oceanography, and research.
The efficacy of offering intensive residential experiences for students has been very popular with millennials. Enhancing the year round academic experience with a rigorous residential component offered by a local state university is a replicable model for all states. It provides high school students their “next step” in understanding the opportunities to grow as a professional in a field and serves as an inspiration for learning.
More information on dual enrollment opportunities available through FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education can be found at www.pinejog.fau.edu or contact Christopher Hill at 561-686-6600.
By Christopher Hill, FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, Education Program Coordinator
Christopher Hill is a 12 year environmental education professional with FAU Pine Jog Center. His primary focus is in development of residential programming to enhance year round learning for 5-16 Grade students. He also coordinates the Pine Jog Graduate Assistantship program for students participating in the M.Ed Environmental Education program at FAU.