While out-of-school time programs can be powerful settings for young people to develop environmental literacy skills, few youth-serving organizations have the expertise to teach environmental literacy. Facilitating relationships between these organizations and environmental education experts is one way to foster young people’s engagement with the natural world and encourage them to become change agents in their communities. Yet little research has examined how to facilitate these relationships.
EDC served as the evaluation partner to the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grants Program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and administered by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), this initiative helped environmental education organizations partner with 21st CCLC youth in afterschool, weekend, and summer program settings. EDC used a culturally responsive approach to help NOAA and NAAEE understand program implementation, identify potential areas for improvement, and guide future initiatives.
As the evaluation partner, EDC:
- Documented ways in which NOAA’s Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) framework, originally designed for formal school settings, was implemented in 21st CCLC settings
- Examined the extent to which outcomes for environmental education organization staff, 21st CCLC staff, and 21st CCLC students were reached
- Provided feedback to NAAEE, NOAA, and the U.S. Department of Education to guide program improvement and learning
- Produced an executive summary that is published on the NAEEE’s website
- Helped partners identify areas of strength and opportunities for future programs
- Helped grantees and partners learn about the extent to which EEO and 21st CCLC staff strengthened their confidence and capacity to implement environmental education programming
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North American Association for Environmental Education