Environmental Education Certification Program holds graduation ceremony
Education Cabinet Deputy Secretary Laura E. Owens presented diplomas to 33 nonformal environmental educators at the ceremony on February 22 at the Holiday Inn in Elizabethtown. Graduates of the program included cooperative extension agents; zoo, public forest, library and park staff; and others interested in teaching about the environment in a nonformal setting.
“Kentucky has one of only three standards-based certification courses for environmental educators in the nation, so we have been real pioneers in this area. This certification course is the only one that is based on completing actual courses and assessments. These graduates are to be commended for completing a rigorous program that other states, as well as the national level, are looking to emulate,” stated Deputy Secretary Owens.
“This certification program began in March of 2004. Until then there had never been any specific preparation to be an environmental educator in Kentucky. Ours is the first course-based, standards-aligned program in the U.S. And now with our second graduating class, we have 70 certified environmental educators,” stated Jane Eller, Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC) executive director.
The three courses that make up the program are based on national guidelines http://naaee.org/pages/npeee/new_ee.html developed by the North American Association for Environmental Education. Five major assessments are required to be certified including a written test, a set of 15 short essays, a debate that looks at various sides of current Kentucky environmental issues, a comprehensive unit of study, and a test of environmental literacy.
The KEEC, an agency in the Kentucky Education Cabinet, was established in 1995 to improve Kentuckians’ understanding of the environment. Their mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to make their own informed environmental decisions. For more information on the certification program, visit http://www.keec.ky.gov or contact KEEC Executive Director Jane Eller at (502) 564-5937, or by e-mail, email@example.com .