Washington State's schools
This thesis describes the origin, evolution, and subsequent development of the Environmental Education movement in the State of Washington. In the latter stages of this thesis, the main emphasis shifts to studying the role of Office of the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the evolution and delivery of Environmental Education Programs in Washington State's schools.
However, since it has been truthfully said that "the past is the key to the future", I'm starting this paper by exploring the history of the precursors of Environmental Education movement in the United States. The report itself is broken into four main parts and a summary.
Part One: How did the Environmental Education (EE) movement Evolve?
Part One deals with the foundations and evolution of the environmental education movement. The Environmental Education movement was born in the turmoil of the sixties and fueled by the environmental movement. The Environmental Education movement wasn't a wholly new concept. It is founded on concepts drawn from the nature study, outdoor education and conservation education movements.
This portion of the paper deals with the Superientendent of Public Instruction's (SPI) early involvement in the founding of the EE movement. It shows how the EE movement developed in our state and explores how other agencies supported and fostered its development.
Part Three: Environmental education (EE) joins the SPI team: 1968 to 1990
This section review's SPI's efforts to develop an interdisciplinary Environmental Education program in the state's K-12 school curriculum. It ends by explaining how the mandate for Environmental Education, WAC 180-50-115 (6), came into being.
Part Four: After the Mandate: 1990 -1994
The Mandate was passed in 1990 - what actually happened as a result? The narrative ends by trying to piece together events that happened since the state's mandate. It goes over some of the obfuscating factors Environmental Education faces in its struggle to obtain a firm footing in the curriculum base of the school districts throughout the state.
Conclusion - what might happen to help effect the Mandate
Acknowledgements - many people have worked to make this paper real.
References - many hours of one on one interviews went into this project
About the Author - a quick glimpse
Errors: I take full responsibility for all errors in this thesis, whether they be of omission or commission. Historical research involves scratching around in dusty old places, like a person's recollections, file drawers, or libraries. Sometimes the story doesn't jibe between "definitive" information sources. (After all history is human!) In fact if I discovered one thing in this study, it was that history is like jello, once you feel you have a hold on it, it slops between your fingers. In the same respect, jello can be molded in any shape one chooses, whether one is an author, or an onlooker. But in any event, all the mistakes are mine, and I am more than willing to admit to them and change them, given new definitive information.
Names of individuals are included in this thesis to clarify lines of authority, demonstrate cross institutional cooperation, and give life to the people behind the early historical portion of the text. I have attempted to minimize the actual naming of individuals in the latter portion of this report (post 1975) for two reasons:
1. So many people have contributed to the development of Washington State's Environmental Education program that I feel compelled to recognize everyone if I recognized anyone! Recognizing everyone is impossible, so I chose to work with the world of the possible.
2. There have been so many people, public, and private organizations involved in this saga that to include them all would exceed the central purpose of this paper.
If you notice any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, please send them to John Schmied, c/o Skyview Junior High School, 21404 35th Ave SE, Bothell, WA, 98021-7869, presently email@example.com
The roots of Environmental Education are buried deep in three movements, each of which still exist in some form in our common schools today. They are:
- Nature study
- Conservation education
- Outdoor education
Each movement developed apart, yet at times partially merged with the others in thought, methods, and application throughout the past half century. A collision of social, economic, scientific, and environmental values in the 1960's caused large segments of each of these three movements to merge and slowly evolve into another movement which is now known as Environmental Education. In the final stages of its birth in the late 60's, the nascent Environmental Education movement was shaped by a nation wide imperative to act on environmental problems. This twist made the new movement become something much more sophisticated than any of its original components.
Nature study - discovering how things relate in a natural setting.
Nature study is an educational reform movement which focuses on taking children into the natural world for an academically integrated study of nature centered around a specific organism. Plants and animals, observed in their natural habitat, are the usual objects of students engaged in Nature study. These studies involve an organism's life history, distribution, and adaptations to the environment. They include observations of weather, habitat, migration, hibernation, soil testing, as well as other habits and the creature's natural surroundings. Nature study does not involve itself with processes of technical science, like dissection, quantitative analysis, and the search for natural laws, nor does it study objects out of context. The phrase "Nature study" may have been derived from the German word Naturkunde , which means nature knowledge. The term came into wide use by 1889. Nature studies are normally done in elementary schools. (Good, 1956, Pulliam, 1982) These studies have long been combined with the Arts as each naturally lends strength and understanding to one another in a student's mind.
The Nature study movement has no landmark beginning. It evolved from a long series of cultural developments in education thought and practice, possibly dating back to Aristotle. (Good, 1956) A list of some of the important people involved in this evolutionary process during the past two centuries, and a very brief sketch of their work, follows:
Johann H. Pestallozzi's (1746-1827) students relied on making actual observations of plants, animals, music, tools, and the natural environment to develop observation, imagination, and reasoning faculties. (Pulliam, 1982)
Johann F. Herbart (1776-1834) developed the core curriculum concept as a way to "co-relate" with other subjects in the curriculum. (Pulliam, 1982)
Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) and his students, created and brought the natural history museums into the schools for use as examples. Agassiz is sometimes thought to be the father of Nature study in the United States.
Edward Austin Sheldon (1823-1897) while in Oswego, NY in the 1850's., developed object teaching, a method in which a teacher begins a lesson with a familiar object and moves to an abstract description. i.e. Geography is learned from the local community outward. Object teaching was a forerunner to both nature study and modern elementary science.
Colonel Francis W. Parker (1837-1902) while in Quincy, IL. in the 1880's, introduced science and the arts into the curriculum while combining subjects, and focusing on encouraging a pupil self-expression.
H. H. Straight (1846-1886) worked with Edward Sheldon at Oswego, NY. and Colonel Parker in Illinois's Cook County Schools. Straight developed a method to stress the unity of nature to students. Straight took students out of the school and into the field where they made direct observations and inferences of how living things depend on natural conditions.
Wilbur S. Jackman (1855-1907), a teacher with Col. Parker at the University of Chicago, refined Straight's work with his 1894 book Nature Study for the Common Schools. This book on field work followed the succession of natural phenomena through the entire year. Jackman's book did much to publicize the Nature study concept in the United States. (Good, 1956)
Following Jackman's efforts, the concept of Nature study spread across the country. Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) at Cornell, one of the great proponents of Nature study programs, wrote The Nature Study Idea (1903) as a short practical primer for teachers interested in nature study programs. Anna Botsford Comstock followed the primer up with the Handbook of Nature Study in 1911, as a teachers guide. It was consistantly and widely used until World War II. (Comstock, 1939, Good, 1956)
Nature study gradually went out of fashion in the late 40's and early 50's due to the mistaken interpretation that it was mainly an artsy, nature loving movement, berefit of significant science content. The most important cause of Nature study's eventual loss of supporters was that Nature study programs work well in smaller more rural schools, but requires larger schools to undergo significant changes in organization to work effectively. (These changes are against the trend towards "efficiency" and towards "effectiveness".) Nature study has experienced a renewal recently. (Disinger, 1983) However proponents in larger schools still experience tremendous difficulty when developing Nature study programs. These problems, include staff inexperience in delivering Nature Study/Science based curriculums of this sort, school design, siting unfavorable to teaching of Nature study, increasingly urban setting of schools with consequent safety concerns, "bioengineering of school sites" (the human landscaping of school sites vs natural preserves) , and the continual need for parent volunteer/leaders.
(Readers might realize by now that discovery learning, learning centers, hands on learning, and integration of the curriculum are not, by any means, new ideas.)
Outdoor Education: Social maturity, Nature appreciation and Leadership:
The Outdoor education movement has similar origins and purposes as nature study. However, its approach is defined as "The use of resources outside the classroom for educational purposes" while Nature study has never been limited in this manner. Or, to quote L. B. Sharp's definition to, " teach outdoors what is best taught outdoors, and teach indoors what is most appropriate there". The Outdoor education movement began in the late 1920's, primarily as a means of getting students to learn how to integrate their knowledge through practical experience with nature. (Disinger, 1983) Outdoor education became more popular in the schools after World War II when the nation applied some of the leadership techniques they have learned during the depression and war years to education.
Outdoor education has been closely identified with John Dewey's (1859-1952) learning by doing philosophies. It appears the greatest factor distinguishing Outdoor education from Nature study is "... it's consistent application of all components and subjects across the curriculum, art, music, mathematics, science, etc (outdoors). " (Swan, 1975)
Outdoor education programs excel as a means of teaching social interactions, maturation, and leadership. The change in learning environment often changes who the informal leaders in a learning team are. There are many documented cases of individuals failing at academic subjects taught within the environment of the school that became model students in an outdoor education centered program. Presently Outdoor education programs in Washington State are often targeted, but not limited to, fifth and sixth graders. (Smith, 1994; McDonald, 1994)
The school camping movement is often thought of as being a complete course in Outdoor education. It is not. It is a way of delivering short term outdoor education to students. This is both the strength and weakness of this movement. Kids get inspired by seeing and doing things in a real setting, yet the experience is ephemeral and educators often think they have completed their duty to the environment after their students have attended these 3 to 5 day long camps. In addition camps are very expensive to run and operate, thus prime candidates for budget downsizing. In Washington State many public camps have been threatened with closure by a dwindling supply of dollars, like Cispus was in 1980-84. (Disinger, 1983; Kennedy, 1994)
Conservation Education - Conservation comes from education
The roots of the Conservation education movement are found within federal resource agencies and influenced by private organizations, like the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League, and the American Zoological Society, rather than the schools. (It's pretty obvious that the emphasis these dichotomous organizations had on the topic were, at times, radically different!) Conservation education courses show students the importance of conserving our natural resources (traditionally the water, soil, forests, and wildlife) for the best use possible. (Now the focus is shifting to sustainability, the practical defination of which has still to be agreed upon!) Some early pioneers and influential organizations were: (Funderburk, 1948)
George Marsh in 1864 wrote Man and Nature, or Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. In it Marsh stressed the idea that nature tends to exist in a balance, which humans upset.
Franklin Benjamin Hough - First forestry agent in the United States. His 1870 survey found the nation's forest resources were rapidly being depleted. As a result, he stressed the need for forestry education in the schools.
Carl Schurz - Secretary of the Interior 1887. Schurz proposed the first legislation to protect public forests, and was violently opposed in Congress.
Bernard Fearnow, Chief of the Division of Forestry in 1886, helped establish national forests and worked to get attention focused on the economy of resources.
Gifford Pinchot - Chief of the Division of Forestry 1896 and President of the National Conservation Association in 1910. Leader of the forest conservation movement just after the turn of the century. Pinchot implemented the policy of conservation for use, instead of preservation, in the national forests. (Pinchot's decision caused a firestorm of criticism from private organizations like the Sierra Club, etc and a century long debate on the topic of conservation vs preservation of natural resources that promises to last well into the next century!)
- Dr. Charles R. Van Hise, president of the University of Wisconsin, author of the 1910 treatise, The Conservation of the Natural Resources in the United States. This book served as the principal education instrument for the conservation movement in the first quarter of the 20th century.
- Hugh Hammond Bennett - Bureau of Soils, later Chief of the Soil Conservation Service in 1935, labored for twenty five years to open the eyes of the nation to the causes and devastating effects of soil erosion, finally succeeded in convincing scientists and public alike during the devastation of the Dust Bowl era.
- During this time period many famous authors, conservationists, and explorers like Thoreau, John Muir of the Sierra Club, and Burroughs developed an interest in the general public for a consistant conservation ethic to be factored in public policy decisions. This part of the Conservation education movement was spectacularly successful in Washington State. The interest generated in the general public resulted in the Federal preservation of large islands of natural habitat in our State (Mt Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks, for example) so that students and the general public can study and enjoy our native plants and animals.
The conservation movement flourished between 1890 and 1915 and much legislation was introduced, but not many Conservation education programs resulted from this effort, except in the field of Human resource conservation. This offshoot of the conservation movement spread to the schools of the nation and is now called Health education. The Conservation education programs that existed, as mentioned before, were established at the college level, often in geography departments. Public school (K-12) leadership appears to have felt no responsibility to conservation education during this time. The major legacy of the conservation movement during this period was the federal application of science to natural resource problems. (Funderburk, 1948)
The idea of Conservation education languished after 1920. A few states, notably Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia, passed laws requiring public schools to teach forest and wildlife conservation. However, a change in educational philosophy was occurring. By the 1930's it was widely recognized that schools should give attention to current economic and social problems. Many leaders in education believed that schools had a responsibility to seek solutions for current problems. (Funderburk, 1948)
By 1935 the National Education Association, Educational Policies Commission stated:
Forests, soils, grasslands, water, minerals, oils fish, game, and scenic beauty are among the rich natural endowments of the area of the North American Continent covered by the United States...... general knowledge of appropriate remedial and preventive conservation procedures are among the marks of the educated citizen. Since future welfare and safety depends on those things, the schools may well assume considerable responsibility for checking the ravages upon the heritage of the nation made by ignorance, indifference, carelessness, and unbridled selfishness. (quoted in Funderburk, 1948)
It took the dust storms of the early 1930's to finally generate a national consciousness to the seriousness of soil erosion and resource depletion. Then the conservation education movement quickly developed a broad governmental base, more by necessity then design, spanning the full spectrum of resource agencies from the Soil Conservation Service to the Bureau of Land Management. Simultaneously organizations spread across the political spectrum like the American Forester's Association, the National Conservation Association, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League, and the American Zoological Society also were using their influence on the schools to get courses in conservation education started. Consequently the nation's focus rapidly shifted to education as a solution to natural resource problems, especially in the areas of soil, water, forest and wildlife conservation. The United States Office of Education became actively involved in promoting this new subject to the nation's educators. (Funderburk, 1948)
In the late 1930's federally sponsored Conservation education programs, sometimes called resource education programs, flourished in the United States schools. These programs were often delivered by state and federal natural resource agency personnel, rather then teachers. Conservation education fell out of favor in the middle 1960's, for various reasons. One was the impression that the resource agencies were too strongly tied to business concerns, thus unable to effectively deal with the emerging challenges to the environment. Another reason was the impression, fostered by newly emerging environmental advocates, that conservation advocates didn't have the philosophical base to move beyond solutions that involved simply conserving certain specific natural resources for future use.
Ebb and Flow
The chart below demonstrates the approximate time when each of these education movements were popular.
Environmental Education arises from ecological disaster
In the 1940's and 1950's the three
complementary avenues of education described before became
differentially infused in the curriculum of many of the public
school systems in the United States. Different grades often
focused on different educational approaches, for example Nature
study was mainly done in the elementary grades (K-6), Outdoor
education in the middle grades (6-8) and Conservation education in
the upper grades, especially in college levels.
In the early 1960's the forces generated by the perceptive writings of Aldo Leopold in "A Sand County Almanac" and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" nourished a populist movement that united a broad front of conservationists, scientists, outdoor organizations, and the general citizenry. This mix of entities was continuously fueled by writings from a variety of new and old authors like Edward Abbey, Paul Ehrlich, Barry Commoner, John Muir, and Henry Thoreau. In addition the major ecological disasters of the time, for example the massive environmental damage caused by M/V Torrey Canyon oil spill, Agent Orange, and the documented DDT damage to Peregrine falcon, Osprey, and Bald Eagle populations stirred public opinion strongly, to the point of citizen activism. (The unrest caused by dissatisfaction with our leaders due to the US involvement in Vietnam also added fuel to the fire.) Thus in an era of heightened social and political tensions, much like those present in the US during the 1930's, the Environmental movement surfaced. The Environmental movement itself was a constantly changing, multifaceted vocal group of citizen activists who represented many organizations and interests, coupled with a desire to protect our environment from the waste products of an ever growing population, polluting businesses, government organizations, and unscrupulous developers.
The popular environmental movement began to enter the nation's school systems in the mid 1960's. Environmentalist philosophies impressed many of the scientists and educators who taught the amorphous blend of nature study, conservation, and outdoor education extant in the nation's schools at the time. These scientists and educators took the ideas of each of these movements, then overlaid an action and sustainability component on each. This, coupled with the inherent conservatism of our schools produced an environmentally oriented movement in the nation's schools which coalesced by the late 1960's and is now known as the Environmental Education movement. Thus, today's Environmental Education movement represents an incomplete merger of the concepts of nature study, conservation education, outdoor education and tempered environmental activism.
What is the goal of Environmental education?
The evolving goal of Environmental Education is to foster an environmentally literate citizenry which will work together in building an acceptable quality of life for all people. Thus, the basic aim of Environmental Education is:
understand the complex nature of the natural and built environments resulting from the interaction of their physical, biological, social, economic, and cultural aspects, and
acquire knowledge, values, attitudes, and practical skills, and
to participate in a responsible and effective way in anticipating and solving environmental problems, and in management of the quality of the environment. (Stapp, et al, 1979)
Environmental Education practitioners strive to go beyond imparting a balanced portrait of interdisciplinary environmental knowledge, concepts, and values. They attempt to get students to demonstrate synthesis of the knowledge, concepts and values presented, then ask students to demonstrate how to individually and collectively take direct action for the purpose of improving the quality of our environment.
Perhaps because of the action segment of Environmental Education's goals, the movement is sometimes viewed as an activist movement. Additionally it is important to recall that the Environmental Education movement consists of a broad range of constituencies, constituencies that often differ radically in methods and goals.
Part Two: The evolution of Environmental Education in the Washington State
schools: 1930 to 1968
Origins: Nature Study, Conservation Education and Outdoor Education
The origin of Nature Study in Washington's public schools is difficult to determine, however it appears that Nature study was actively used as a method of instruction in the elementary schools in the 1930's. Ellen Swallow is reported to have had distributed an instructional program early in this period. (Angell, 1994) Nature study methods are still used in our elementary schools, hardly modified from the form used in the earlier part of the century.
The entry of Conservation education programs in Washington's schools seems to have occurred during the 1930's although there are reports of resource agency personnel, like U.S.F.S. Monte Cristo District Ranger Ed Anderson, giving conservation education programs for community service groups as early as the 1920's. (Lindgren, pers corr, 1994) However, one of the earliest records of the development of conservation education curriculums for Washington state schools surfaces with creation of the Northwest Regional Council in September 1938 by the Pacific Northwest Regional Planning Commission. The Planning Commission was motivated by the serious exhaustion of natural resources, soil, forests and fish that was readily apparent in the region. (Funderburk, 1948)
The Northwest Regional Council stimulated public awareness in the basic problems of the Pacific Northwest by distributing materials, coordinating conservation efforts, and acting as a clearing house of conservation information. The Northwest Regional Council developed materials for teachers like Seattle Schools Discover the Region and Pacific Northwest Resources in Outline. Finally the Council sponsored teacher-training conference/workshops, a lecture series, and a summer workshop series. Their efforts convinced the Washington Education Association and the Inland Empire Education Association to sponsor conferences featuring "Resources and Education" as a central theme. Interestingly enough, the Council folded in 1944 when the initial grant became exhausted and it was discovered that local support could not be secured on grounds compatible with the Council's objectives. (Funderburk, 1948)
There were conservation education programs in Washington schools as early as 1946. In one project, Seattle's Cleveland High School students performed a reforestation project on a 160 acre clearcut bought by the school. (Funderburk, 1948, Smith, 1994)
The Outdoor education movement seems to have developed in Washington State in the late 1930's. The first recorded outdoor school in the United States was conducted in 1939 in Taneum Canyon, WA. on Forest Service land. The project was coordinated by Dr. Don Thompson of Central Washington University and Mr. Carl Jensen of Highline School District. (Hunter, 1971)
Highline School District pursued a vigorous summer outdoor education program at Lake Wilderness in 1939-40 and Lake Tapps in 1941. Their program was curtailed during World War II. From 1945 to 1951 Highline used Camp Waskowitz, a vacated Civilian Conservation Camp (C.C.C.) located near North Bend for two to four weeks of summer camping. (Reis, 1958)
Pearl Wanamaker, Superintendent of Public Instruction (1941-1956), actively supported education programs focused on student leadership development. During the 1940's the Washington State legislature made funds available through the Superintendent of Public Instruction for summer outdoor education programs at various locations. Ms Wanamaker had strong influence in the set up of permanent outdoor education facilities. (Hunter, 1971; Smith, pers comm, 1994, Hupe, pers comm, 1994)
In 1948 SPI and the Kellogg Foundation assisted the Highline School District by funding a week long pilot program on outdoor education at Camp Waskowitz. (Gold and Robertson, 1950) A film recording this event , called "Classroom in the Cascades", was widely used throughout the nation. (Hunter, 1971)
Outdoor Camps succeed through Leadership and public involvement:
After trying its own pilot project in 1955, Highline, lead by Carl Jensen, began a summer program at Camp Waskowitz. (Camp Waskowitz was named after a much admired University of Washington quarterback, Fritz Waskowitz, who was killed in World War II) In 1958 the Highline School District purchased the 10 acres Camp Waskowitz was located on to set up a permanent outdoor education site. This acquisition was made without public funding. Since then Highline School District's commitment to outdoor and conservation education lead them to continually expand the Camp Waskowitz grounds to its present 372 acres. The Waskowitz curriculum, created by Richard Sullivan, is based on years of outdoor experience. It uses an outdoor/conservation education core curriculum as a base for discussing environmental issues. Today, all Highline 6th grade students spend one school week at Camp Waskowitz. Before and after their experience at the camp the students work through an in class curriculum. Student campers are trained by high school leaders who have passed Waskowitz's Leadership course. Waskowitz has been immaculately kept and is in the process of expanding its program. (Highline, 1994, Highline, undated; Jones, pers comm, 1994)
One can easily imagine how practical application of Conservation education themes will fit neatly into an Outdoor education program. Thus it was natural for this movement to merge into Washington's Outdoor education program. Conservation education themes found their way into textbooks by the mid 1940's, usually at the High school level. (Smith, 1994)
In 1948, the Snohomish County Schools Outdoor Education Program established Camp Silverton-Waldheim. It is located near Monte Cristo on the site of one of the first U. S. Forest Service tree nurseries which operated there between 1909-1916. Camp Silverton-Waldheim was sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Bennett, the county school superintendent. Through her tireless efforts Silverton-Waldheim was funded, rebuilt, and refurbished through private and public donations. Once the camp was opened for the summer, Western Washington University's School of Education supplied students from the teaching certification program to serve as camp counselors. They received student teaching credit in return. Andy Holland was the camp's first director.
Harold Smith, one of Camp Silverton's first camp counselors, became the camp's director in 1950. H. Marion "Tiny " Thornton served as college supervisor of WWU's teaching program at the camp. They prepared the camp's curriculum jointly. By 1950 the camp's enrollment was 500 students. All schools in the Snohomish county school district supported the outdoor education camp in the 1950's and 1960's. The program was very successful and received community wide support. When Intermediate School Districts (ISD) were established, ISD 109 took over the operation of the camp. In 1973 ISD 109 chose to divest itself of responsibility for Camp Silverton. Everett School District volunteered to assume responsibility for the camp. Camp Silverton now sponsors 2-3 day outdoor programs for 5th and 6th grade students in addition to summer programs and non-school leased activities. (Hunter, 1971; Torgerson, pers comm, 1994; Smith, pers comm, 1994)
In 1957 the Snohomish County Outdoor Education Policy Committee, headed by Mrs. Dorothy Bennett, successfully negotiated with Mr. Bert Cole, Land Commissioner of the State Department of Natural Resources to lease another camp. The rationale for the addition of this new camp, a salt water site located in Dugualla Bay, Whidbey Island, was that its setting provided a natural complement to Camp Silverton-Waldheim which was often snowbound for half the year. Once the lease was approved, the Whidbey Island site was delegated for use by the schools in the five northwest counties. These counties banded together to create the Northwest Environmental Education Center Consortium of schools in 1967. Bill Stocklin, one of the early visionaries in the Environmental Education movement, directed activities at NEEC for the Consortium and was paid 10 cents per pupil for his efforts. (Angell, pers comm, 1994; Smith, pers comm, 1994)
Workshops and Cooperation
In 1952 the first statewide workshop for teachers on outdoor education was held at Rustic Inn, near Easton, WA. It was organized by SPI's Joseph Lassoie. Both SPI and Central Washington State sponsored this workshop. Central later held these summer workshops in Hidden Valley, WA. (Lassoie, 1992; Hupe, 1994)
Many outdoor education teacher workshops, camps, and other outdoor education oriented events took place in the 50's. Outdoor and Conservation education training was delivered by teams of dedicated resource agency instructors who gave frequent weekend workshops to teachers throughout Washington. Al O'Donnell, Department of Natural Resources, and Russ Hupe, Department of Game, were among the first resource agency instructors to lend their expertise to the cause, although at first they did so without backing from their agencies. Later O'Donnell and Hupe did everything from delivering conservation talks to assisting in university sponsored teacher workshops. It appears Ernie McDonald, Anne Heisler, and Gerry Kelly of the U.S. Forest Service and Bea Graves and Wes Spencer of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service were a few of the other hard working instructors active during this period. As an outgrowth of these programs, formal outdoor education programs were established in Auburn, Omak, Spokane and many other school districts around the state. These programs used local area parks like Millersylvania, Sun Lakes, and Perrygin Lake, and also formal camp settings like Camps Casey, Seymour, Orkila, Evergreen and Wooten. (Hunter, 1971; Lassoie, 1994; Hupe, pers comm, 1994)
By 1969 over 15,000 Washington students participated in outdoor education camps and over 34,000 were involved in some aspect of outdoor and conservation education.
Expanding four walls: Building an interdisciplinary outdoor education curriculum for use in schools:
Shoreline School District ran a limited outdoor education program with volunteers since 1963 at the Whidbey Island site. This program was so enthusiastically received by both the community and the schools that by 1966 Shoreline saw a need to expand their outdoor program. However, they didn't have the necessary funds to accomplish the task. It just so happened that Congress had just passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, Public Law 89 - 10, which had funds for program development grants under Title III. Seeing a great opportunity, Shoreline, with the support and cooperation of the five northwestern counties, applied for and was later given a grant to develop an expanded outdoor education program curriculum. (Shoreline, 1966)
Shoreline worked with the SPI's Conservation Guidelines Committee, headed by Dick Bowers, to bring in a group of educators from all over the state to develop two outdoor education manuals. One, published by SPI, contained Elementary "On School site" activities. The second manual, called "Interdisciplinary Outdoor Education", was developed for use in "In district sites" and "Regional sites". The goal of both writing teams was to allow the educator to extend the four walls of the "classroom into the museums, the theaters, art galleries, parks, rivers and mountains." Their program included multiple K-12 activities from social studies, language arts, foreign language, dramatics, music, art, industrial arts, mathematics, and science. (Shoreline, 1966)
The idea of expanding four walls has been used to enrich school curriculums for many years. This effort placed the theme into a modern setting.
The Outdoor School Program grows into the schools
By the late 1960's Ernie McDonald of the U. S. Forest Service mustered together an ad hoc interagency training team that included many of the people mentioned previously. They had created a strong demand in the state school community for their expertise. One of the big attractions to these programs was the focus by the instructors in letting teachers learn process skills so they could practically incorporate inquiry learning into their school settings. Their strategy was to have the teachers see, then do a skill, like an ecological plot study. They gave out lesson plans and lab sheets (many developed by Ernie's wife Char who was a teacher herself) which teachers could easily incorporate in their repertoire. Popular, they were swamped with requests for workshops and courses on top of their other duties. The overburdened state and federal resource agencies found they no longer had the personnel time nor dollars to support this intense level of commitment. (Hupe pers comm, 1994; Heisler pers comm, 1994)
As a solution, Ernie McDonald, USFS, joined with the various resource agencies to develop a program with supporting curriculum materials to train teachers and other agency personnel to train others. In 1971 the USFS sponsored a meeting, which included the new SPI Environmental Education Supervisors, and many other resource agencies to Cispus to design and write Investigating Your Environment. Many of the inquiry based ideas developed and tested in the workshops held during the previous two decades came to rest in this comprehensive series. By 1976 Investigating Your Environment had developed such a strong following that the USFS distributed it as a nationwide model. The development of Investigating Your Environment, which had come about as somewhat of a defense mechanism for overtaxed agency personnel, yielded a best seller. This popular curriculum was updated and revised in 1994. (Heisler pers comm, 1994)
It is clear that a large share of the credit for Washington state's strong conservation awareness base prior to passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 should be given to our Federal and State resource agents. The support they gave to our state's teachers was significant. Especially since their home agencies view of these efforts ranged across the spectrum from very supportive to vehemently opposed. (Hunter, 1971; Hupe, pers comm, 1994; McDonald, pers comm, 1994)
It is also important to note that many of our state's teachers deserve credit for originating and conducting most of our early outdoor education programs and schools. The teachers were the ones that were actually out doing the work of crafting, creating, environmentally aware citizens. Thus Washington State's teachers led the way in the 1970's by developing and delivering Environmental Education programs primarily as a result of their initiative, dedication, and strong personal interest above any special training they'd received. Once trained, they trained other teachers and cascaded the information across Washington state. They produced programs in ecology, population dynamics, waste disposal and fuel/energy resource conservation. Their students in the 50's, 60's and 70's became Washington's environmentally conscious citizens of the 70's, 80's and 90's.
By the late 1960's Louis Bruno (SPI) and Chester Babcock (Asst. SPI) recognized that it was important for teachers to have someone turn to on environmental education matters on SPI's staff. (Prior to this other curriculum advisors had helped out in these matters.) Consequently, in 1969, Louis Bruno (SPI) appointed William J. Hunter as the first Outdoor Environmental Education Supervisor in the United States. Hunter's position was funded cooperatively for the first two years through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by agreement between Superintendent Bruno and DNR Director Bert Cole. This agreement demonstrates the long-standing commitment DNR had in supporting education in the state. (Kennedy, pers comm, 1994; Angell, pers comm, 1994, Garner, pers comm, 1994)
The Environmental Education Supervisor's job description included: (Hunter, 1971)
- performing in service teacher training
- developing Environmental Education curriculum for teachers, and
- developing outdoor sites for the Environmental Education program,
Much of Mr. Hunter's time was spent trying to develop the state's first guide for environmental educators. It was named Environmental Education Guidelines for the Public Schools of Washington and released in early 1970. These guidelines outline:
- general themes educators could use in writing curriculum and
- goals for SPI's Environmental Education program which reflect the job description above
While the guidelines neglected to focus in on just what SPI meant by Environmental Education, two trends are evident. One was represented by the statement "Environmental Education is essentially multi disciplinary; thus it is an academic hybrid." The other was SPI's strong emphasis on outdoor education as a basis for Environmental Education. (Washington, 1970a)
The State Acquires its own Environmental Education Learning Center
Work on the Guidelines was still in progress when, in the early summer of 1969, the exciting possibility that SPI could add the use of a full time outdoor learning center to their environmental education resource inventory surfaced. This center became to be known as Cispus. (Lassoie, 1992)
(Cispus's acquisition and subsequent use is a great story itself. This story is well presented in Joseph P. Lassoie's "A History of Cispus Learning Center". Since Cispus's story gives an insight on how things can eventually work out if people persist, I included it in some detail in this study.)
Cispus , a former Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Job Corps camp, is nestled in the beautiful Cispus Valley eleven miles south of Randle, WA. in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The present camp was originally built in October, 1935 by the CCC. The campsite was used as a base camp for bridge, road, and trail building crews until it was decommissioned in 1941 with the start of the United States involvement in World War II. On 20 June 1965 Cispus was officially reopened as a federal Job Corps conservation center. In preparation for the Job Corps trainees, the camp was completely overhauled and new buildings were built to replace those that had deteriorated over the years. The Job Corps trainees were chiefly disadvantaged minority males. Their duties at Cispus were to acquire adequate academic and vocational skills to compete in the job market, and to renew and maintain what their CCC counterparts had built. However, the Job Corps idea lost its appeal due to less then adequate results and, on 30 June 1969, Cispus was shut down again. (Lassoie, 1992)
Cispus reverted back to US Forest Service control, but not for long. Ernie McDonald, USFS chief of education and Robert Tokarcyzk, Gifford Pinchot National Forest supervisor, thought the site ideal for an Environmental Education center. They quickly approached Louis Bruno (SPI) with the idea, and Bruno immediately realized the potential in Cispus too. However, acquiring Cispus required legislative approval during an off year for the legislature; a feat which requires strong political backing. Bruno mustered this backing by soliciting letters of support from community leaders throughout the state. Next Bruno approached Senator Martin Durkin, head of the Senate Ways and Means committee, and eventually won his backing for the idea. The support of Sen. Durkin's staff assistant, Mike Lowry, was key in pulling off this feat. With Senator Durkin championing the idea, acquisition of Cispus by SPI was approved by the Legislature. Unfortunately additional funding was not, and SPI had to take the funds out of hide. The Forest Service issued a special use permit to OSPI on 18 July 70 to operate Cispus as an Environmental learning center. Lloyd "Stub" Rowley, formerly Director of Physical Education for the Ellensburg public schools, was selected as Director of Cispus. Jim Unterwegner of the USFS was loaned to act as program consultant and resident instructor to assist SPI. (Lassoie, 1992)
Things were happening pretty quick so Superintendent Bruno set up a Cispus Consortium, representing public and private organizations, to help the state guide the future development of Cispus and the state's Environmental Education efforts. Two advisory committees were set up for Cispus and two for state. Cispus's were for Appropriate use and Teacher development. The state's committees were named the Environmental Education advisory committee, and the Statewide Environmental Curriculum advisory committee. (Lassoie, 1992)
Cispus main functions were to:
- provide facilities for student and teacher training programs
- to consult with teachers on environmental training and program
- develop a state resource center for Environmental Education media
- promote interagency cooperation and train resource agency personnel to serve as consultants for environmental education community and school
With these guidelines in mind, Mr. Rowley began rounding up local school districts who were interested in creating outdoor Environmental Education programs of their own. Louis Bruno ensured there was plenty of money for student transportation to support the effort.
The first State Plan For Environmental Education
Teacher orientation and commitment to environmental studies
Ensure cross organizational, institutional involvement
Generate community support and involvement
The State plan defines Environmental Education as:
It involves process and content from all of the disciplines.
It is uniquely comprehensive and complex.
It deals with human interactions and the intricate implications of man's
manipulation of the environment.
It includes the cultivation of a dedicated commitment to the continuing improvement of the quality of our surroundings. (Washington, 1970b)
This definition leaves one wondering just what Environmental Education really is, and for good cause. This problem of figuring out just what Environmental Education means was, and still is, widespread. (Disinger, 1983; Pemberton, 1991; Ramsey et. al. 1992; Disinger, 1993)
SPI's Environmental Education Program expands and adds new players
In 1970 the Superintendent of Public Instruction received legislative approval to fund the Environmental Education Supervisor position in house. This approval included Cispus and another outdoor learning center supervisor. The third supervisor was to facilitate construction of a Northwest Environmental Education Center (NEEC) at the Whidbey Island site. (Another outdoor facility in Tri Cities was proposed, but deleted.) (Hunter, 1971)
During this period Bill Hunter fell ill and James M. Garner, SPI Science coordinator, filled in on a part time basis. In September 1971 Harold Smith and Mr. Garner recommended David Kennedy, formerly Science and outdoor education coordinator in the Olympia school district, be hired as Mr. Hunter's replacement. They also recommended Tony Angell, formerly a Language arts teacher and Environmental Education coordinator with Shoreline School district, be hired to serve as Supervisor of Environmental Education programs, Northwest section, and Northwest Environmental Education Center director. Cispus, which had reported directly to Louis Bruno, was reassigned to report to Harold Smith. Thus, the entire SPI Environmental Education program was grouped in one section. (Garner, pers comm, 1994; Smith, pers comm, 1994)
The figure below shows how SPI Environmental Education operations were organized in September 1971.
SPI's Environmental Education supervisors get to work
After arriving on scene the new SPI Environmental Education staff met to develop a philosophy on where they wanted to head with environmental education. All agreed the main focus of their program was to be interdisciplinary. Workshops, programs, and curriculum development were to stress this point. Washington State Environmental Education programs were also focused on developing curriculum around critical issues that weren't already being addressed by other programs. Since curriculums were scarce at the time, the field was pretty open. (Angell, 1994; Kennedy, 1994)
SPI's Environmental Education staff had to hit the field running since earlier in the year the State Legislature, in Senate concurrent resolution No 12, required SPI to examine methods and assist in the efforts with public and private agencies to provide support for Environmental Education programs in the State of Washington. SPI reported back in December 1971. Their reply showed: (Washington, 1972)
Schools were focusing their environmental efforts on a single, brief outdoor resident program, few schools had active multi grade level efforts.
NEEC use was limited due to school levy failures in the area.
SPI was working to help build new, multidisciplinary curriculums.
Many public agencies and private concerns were supporting SPI
The conclusions weren't subtle at all. They stated, "Constraints exist in solving environmental problems and meeting environmental education needs."
A long list of challenges to overcome was identified. They included: (Washington, 1972)
Environmental Education was potentially controversial and this potential might inhibit inclusion in school curriculums.
A critical shortage of useful Environmental Education curriculum materials.
Minimal funding was devoted to the effort due to low public demand.
SPI was optimistic, as well as pragmatic. They were ready to provide the leadership necessary to organize and develop Environmental Education programs in Washington. However, they stated, there were no simple solutions to the complex environmental problems the state faced. (Washington, 1972)
SPI proposed a Master Plan be developed since no firm goals, guidelines, funding or implementation model existed. In the interim SPI stated it would continue efforts to infuse practical, relevant, Environmental Education programs in curriculums statewide. Their plan focused on helping teachers develop much needed curriculum materials as much as possible, and on generating broad based support in the community for funding support. (Washington, 1972)
The economy fails
About this time the Boeing bust came to full ebb. Levies were failing across the state. Many longtime residents suddenly found themselves unemployed. The economy faltered, the housing market collapsed, and there was a large exodus of working age people leaving the state. Enrollments dropped and state tax revenues plummeted. This caused the Legislature and the Governor severe consternation. They were forced to look twice at every state expenditure to assure the state got the most out of its dwindling tax dollars. The figure gives a glimpse of the situation the state was in during the early 1970's.
Hopes of Legislative support to build NEEC into a full fledged Environmental Education center began to fade quickly. Then SPI was forced to decide whether to spend its money for NEEC site development or for keeping staff onboard. The decision was obvious. The people were to remain onboard to keep the program and alive to fight for dollars another day. In the meantime they "remained in the game" as active participants. The Environmental Education staff continued to use initiative and innovation to locate and obtain funding for program development. (Kennedy, pers comms, 1994)
Participating in cooperative projects with other organizations was one avenue SPI pursued vigorously. For example SPI worked with Ernie McDonald's USFS training team doing teacher training workshops. They did teacher training under the auspices of Huxley College. Other Huxley staff members, like Claire Dyckman, team taught in these courses. Professor John Miles of Huxley assisted by serving as a program consultant. (Eventually these early relationships were to return great benefits in support over the years.) SPI staff sought grants to fund curriculum development whenever possible. Soon SPI was awarded a few small grants and they developed their first products. They were named Teaching Population Concepts and Population Task Cards. Since overpopulation was a major issue in the public eye and curriculums were non existent, these products garnered immediate success. (Tanner, 1974; Angell, pers comms, 1994; Kennedy, pers comms, 1994)
Some of SPI's cooperative efforts were learning experiences. Many of the resource agencies still focused on their bread and butter programs. Thus their training programs were often limited to basic conservation education themes like, soil, water, forests, etc. So SPI staff had to learn how to weave their interdisciplinary message into the fabric of these programs. Also, one of the cooperative projects SPI was deeply involved in took an unexpected turn, and SPI found themselves philosophically opposed to the new emphasis. This project concerned a cooperative multi-state curriculum development program, sponsored by the regional utility associations. SPI's concern centered on the unbalanced emphasis put on nuclear energy in the pilot curriculum. Upon careful consideration, SPI decided to back out of the proceedings. (Kennedy, pers comm, 1994)
Louis Bruno stepped down as SPI in 1974. Frank Brouillet, who was elected on the basis of reducing administration in SPI, took over the reins of authority. Superintendent Brouillet reviewed his Environmental Education operations and wasn't totally convinced this new "brand" of education was needed. Brouillet investigated SPI's programs and eventually decided to support the Environmental Education program. This was the first in the series of uphill battles SPI's Environmental Education program was to face. (Angell, pers comms, 1994)
Superintendent Brouillet relied on a popular tactic to reduce administration, regulatory control. Heretofore previous SPI administrations relied on policies being effected through the personal leadership of the state's school superintendents and principals to regulate the school system. SPI also relied on having active subject matter specialists in the field with the front line teachers. Brouillet decided that SPI's position was leadership, policy setting, and advisement only and took action to see that this was accomplished. A disadvantage of this system was many of the policies SPI set actually weren't regulated at all. This situation was not popular with the union. On one side, by instituting regulatory control, Superintendent Brouillet achieved personnel reductions mainly through eliminating or modifying field advisor's jobs. Thus School districts were expected hire personnel to take up the slack. In theory, only a few state workers would needed to assume the position of regulators. However, a disadvantage of the new system is that it assumed teachers would know, understand, and comply with the ever growing stack of regulations that were being created! They couldn't and more compliance personnel were needed. However, subsequent budget cuts struck deep and funds available for compliance jobs became victims of the cuts. Presently the SPI compliance staff, one person, is insufficient to inspect what the state expects our teachers to do! Thus former reliance on the personal leadership of the State's superintendents and principals by SPI was replaced with an almost total reliance by SPI on regulations. (Smith, 1994; Garner, 1994) Compliance became questionable. (The upshot is that leadership is hard to describe and impossible to regulate!)
One of the interesting spin-offs of Superintendent Brouillet's campaign promise came when the legislature, in 1974, * with SPI's blessing, directed SPI to transfer both the Northwest section Supervisor/NEEC and Cispus portions of the Environmental Education program to the control of Educational Service Districts, making these personnel and their operations outside SPI contractors. Thus, Tony Angell, and Lloyd Rawley no longer counted on the rolls of SPI! The net result was that now there was yet another administrative link in the Environmental Education chain of operations. However, this extra link actually proved to be somewhat helpful since the ESDs were physically closer and able to provide better service than SPI. The down side was that technically the State had done away with two of their three Environmental Education Supervisors.(Lassoie, 1992) Finally, the NEEC Learning Center concept faded away since it failed to receive legislative support for building construction. The NEEC site continued as a day use area. (Angell, pers comms, 1994) * Chap. 91, Sec. 5, Laws of 1974, 1st Extraordinary Session.
During the next few years the SPI staff became involved in many new projects. Dave Kennedy, participated in the development of several major curriculums, USFS's Investigating Your Environment, American Forest Protection Association's Project Learning Tree, and Western Regional Environmental Education Association's Project Wild. (Heisler, pers comms, 1994; Ferguson, pers comms, 1994)
Even before the demise of the NEEC learning center concept in 1974, it was clear the roles of school district liaison, resource person, and curriculum/workshop designer assumed by Tony Angell, the Supervisor, Northwest section were valuable to the education community. Thus Supervisor, Northwest section was located in an office in the Shoreline school district on lease arrangement to pursue these roles. Over the next decade SPI was awarded a series of small grants for creation of new curriculums. Supervisor, Northwest section coordinated the development of about 3/4 of them. Historically, SPI has found particular success with their Energy, Food, and You and Clean Water, Streams and Fish curriculums. (Angell, pers comms, 1994)
SPI's early curriculums were successful for two reasons. First, the field was curriculum poor for Environmental Education materials. Public awareness was growing and new concerns, like overpopulation, energy shortages, and riparian zone protection were emerging into the nation's consciousness yearly. There was literally nothing available to teach students about emerging issues. One thing SPI's Environmental Education staff excelled at during this period was being one step ahead of the power curve when it came to producing curriculums to teach these emerging issues. They showed an incredible ability to get top notch talent on line to develop outstanding programs for the changing times. Cutting edge curriculums were ready when teachers needed them. Second, SPI involved teachers in the curriculum development process, before and after publication. Revisions were made regularly, incorporating user suggestions. Thus users developed ownership in these publications. (Angell pers comm, 1994; Schuldt, pers comm, 1994)
This figure shows the subject areas SPI developed or cooperated in developing curriculums. A more complete list of SPI's printed curriculum materials is in the appendix.
In 1976 SPI identified its priorities for future operations in: Environmental Education in the State of Washington: A State of the Art Report. Most important was curriculum development, especially a K-12 pilot program in Edmonds SD, and operation of Cispus. It was reported that "Outdoor Environmental Education programs are pervasive throughout the state. The concentration is mainly at the 5th and 6th grade levels.... for a period of three days to a week." Some of the positive outcomes of these programs were increased awareness of the need for social skills, basic ecology, and field identification. Other items often included were art, music, environment, and survival. (Note: SPI used its bus driver transportation funds to support transport of students to these camps.) In closing the report pointed out SPI was still conducting Environmental Education operations using the 1970 State Plan, a plan extremely limited in scope and direction. (Washington, 1976a)
Environmental Education becomes a High School option.
Before 1976 Environmental Education was not recognized in either the state laws or the regulations which prescribed which courses were to be taught, or offered as options, in the common schools. (This wasn't unusual, science wasn't prescribed either.) This wasn't a desirable situation as programs specifically recognized in regulations have certain "standing" in budget or planning deliberations over ones that aren't recognized. At this juncture in time it appeared SPI's Environmental Education needed this type of action to give the program more recognition. Practically, Environmental Education was proving a lot harder to infuse in the curriculum then originally thought. The decision came down to what to go for, a change in the law, or the regulation? Should Environmental Education be a mandatory course, or an optional requirement? Harold Smith, SPI Director of Program Operations, mulled it over with his Environmental Education staff and they decided to go for a change in the regulations. They figured recognition in the WAC would create sufficient inertia to move the program forward. (Kennedy pers comm, 1994; Smith, pers comm, 1994)
- On SPI's recommendation, the State Board of Education adopted a change in the regulations (WAC) as follows:
WAC 180-56-026 Areas of study which must be available to students. Each school district shall make the following areas of study available in the secondary program:
.... (5) Environmental education
.... Students need not be required to take course work in the foregoing areas, however, individual students must have the opportunity to enroll in such planned learning experiences.
Thus Environmental Education became a required option in high schools in 1976.
Many educators had trouble understanding what Environmental Education was. They didn't know how to modify or develop curriculums to meet the WAC requirement. So SPI released their "Conceptual Guide to Environmental Education in Washington State Secondary schools - A Guide to Implementation" to help confused educators. The Conceptual Guide stressed the use of a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to accomplish the job. The publication spelled out SPI's four goals for Environmental Education in the secondary schools. They were:
Students should have:
Experience in valuing environmental quality, including the aesthetics of both the unmade and man made environments.
Experience in how personal choices and actions affect environmental quality, to identify and improve opportunities in their own future.
Experience in methods of enacting community responsibility, including all aspects of citizen, government, and business decision making.
SPI defined Environmental Education as a set of learning experiences. This practical, cookbook style approach was intended to give administrators and educators an idea of what Environmental Education really should do for students. (Washington, 1976b; Washington, 1986)
What is Best for the Student? Cispus is saved and lost...
then rescued for good, but not by the State
SPI's Environmental Education team accomplished a lot in the first ten years of operation. Many teacher training workshops were held, presentations made and curriculums developed. Cispus's operation, the outward manifestation of the state's environmental education program, seems to have improved over time. Between 1970 and 1980 over 70,000 students and teachers experienced environmental education training at Cispus. (Lassoie, 1992)
It is important to note that, in the eyes of some people, the Cispus operation represented the traditional social and leadership focus of outdoor and conservation education oriented courses. Individuals with an environmental action oriented emphasis viewed these programs as old fashioned and detracting from the true purpose of an environment education program. On the other hand, others viewed the situation from the perspective of what is right for students. Viewed this way, outdoor environmental education programs were positive, character building, and gave students a unique perspective in viewing environmental issues. (Lassoie, 1992; Smith, pers comm, 1994; Garner, pers comm 1994, Jones pers comm, 1994)
Money was really tight by 1977, and the Legislature asked the Office of Financial
Management to do a program analysis on the operation and usage of Cispus Learning Center.* The OFM auditors chose to include the Northwest environmental education Supervisor/NEEC operations for cost effectiveness too. This study was viewed as a direct attempt by the legislature to generate support to divest Cispus, and the entire environmental education program. The final report and recommendations by OFM surprised everyone. OFM recommended continued support of both operations at the levels requested. In addition, OFM suggested that all statewide related services provided in environmental education to be the sole responsibility of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Washington, 1977) *Chap. 339, Sec. 103, Laws of 1977, 1st Extraordinary Session
The OFM study results saved Washington's Environmental Education program through 1979, but the program was neither out of sight, nor out of mind to the budget conscious legislature. The program was funded again in 1979-1980, but by a slim margin. In 1980 Mt. St. Helens erupted and Cispus received a moderate amount of ashfall. (amazing considering its proximity to the eruption) School districts, fearing for the safety of their students, canceled many sessions. Since Cispus operated on user fees, the loss of income proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. The 1981 session of Legislators seized the opportunity to line Cispus out of the budget. Cispus, unsupported by the state, found itself unable to survive. Thus Cispus, the crown jewel of the State's environmental education program, was ordered to close and revert back to U. S. Forest Service ownership as of midnight, 30 June 1981. (Washington, 1981; Lassoie, 1992)
The divestiture of Cispus by SPI signaled a strong lack of state level support for outdoor/conservation education oriented programs in Washington. Funds SPI had traditionally used for bus driver/student transportation to outdoor camps and field trips were cut, and redistributed to state school districts bundled in blocks that incorporated monies for other projects which were also cut. Thus School districts were forced to prioritize and cut programs. Outdoor environmental education programs often absorbed the brunt of these cuts. (Lassoie, 1972; Kennedy, pers comm, 1994)
Cispus left state ownership, but didn't go away. It was saved because two individuals, both seasoned veterans in nurturing and developing environmental education programs in Washington state refused to let it close, Joseph Lassoie and Harold Smith. When the state cut Cispus funding both men were staff members of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). They both realized the irreparable harm the closing of Cispus would do to Washington's school Environmental Education programs. They acted swiftly to get AWSP sponsorship to take over Cispus's operation. Robert Tokarcyzk of the U. S. Forest Service fully supported their idea, and Lassoie and Smith convinced the AWSP membership that they could pull off this feat. AWSP eventually did, with an incredible amount of effort and outside help, including SPI's. Today Cispus remains a model for the nation's environmental education establishment, but it is no longer the state's. (Lassoie, 1972; Smith, pers comm, 1994; Fortin, pers comm, 1994)
Transitions: The EE program is reduced further
Dave Kennedy, environmental education supervisor at SPI, was named to succeed Jim Garner in the Science curriculum administrator's position in 1978, yet was tasked to still perform his environmental education duties. However, as the years passed, the demands of the science position were too great. He was forced to relinquish his duties in environmental education by 1982. There were no funds for a replacement.
The Northwest environmental education Supervisor/NEEC position barely escaped being slashed by the same budget axe that cut Cispus. Tony Angell, filling the Northwest environmental education Supervisor/NEEC position became the sole Environmental Education supervisor for SPI, on contract. His position was assisted by a half time secretary. Together they ran SPI's entire environmental education program through the 1980's and 1990's. The main duties of this job evolved to curriculum development, revision, and reprinting, acting as a clearing house for environmental education information, and doing some broad based teacher training. The time spent doing in-service teacher programs declined. The Office's name was changed in 1987 to SPI Office of Environmental Education. (Kennedy, 1994; Angell, 1994)
It is clear SPI's 1.5 person Environmental education staff had their hands full just keeping their program afloat in the state's sea of red ink through the eighties. But, new methods of delivering the latest scientific and political thinking to teachers were still tested and used. A WETNET telecommunication course was developed for in service teachers featuring important spokespersons like Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Amory Lovins. A cascade training approach was used to in-service as many teachers as possible on the revised Energy, Food and You curriculum. (Angell, pers comm, 1994)
The Entire Environmental Education Program gets its first
The 1985 session of the Washington State Legislature* required SPI to form a Coordinating Committee for Environmental Education to "develop recommendations to improve environmental education in the state."
* House Bill 1711, 49th Legislature, 1986 session
SPI's report to the Legislature was named the "Status and Needs assessment of Environmental Education in Washington State - 1986" (Washington, 1986a). The Committee formed by SPI was named the Environmental Education Task Force. It accomplished three jobs.
1. Defined an environmentally literate citizen,
2. Reported on an EE program survey of the state's school districts, and
3. Made recommendations on how to clarify and strengthen the state's environmental education program.
This was a very significant report in that the SPI EE Task Force made some great progress in a very short period of time. The definition they produced is the basis of the state's Environmental education program today, so it rates a close reading.
An environmentally literate Washington citizen was defined as one who will: (Washington, 1986a)
I. have a basic understanding of the components of the environment and their interactions. This includes knowledge of:
- natural resources, wildlife, and methods of their conservation;
- principles of ecology, such as biological and geological organization, natural cycles, energy relationships, population dynamics and change;
- the intensifying human impact on the natural world.
II. value the environment as the basis of our physical lives, our economy and our emotional well-being. This valuing includes awareness that:
- human health depends on the health of the environment;
- human wealth springs ultimately from the creative use and aesthetic
appreciation of natural resources;
- contemplation of nature's intricacy and beauty brings intellectual fascination, tranquillity and creative inspiration.
III. understand that personal choice affects environmental quality.
- This understanding includes knowing ways individuals can take responsibility for maintaining environmental health.
IV. know how citizens can act cooperatively on behalf of the environment.
- This knowledge includes the willingness to participate in community and political resolution of environmental issues.
It can be seen from this definition that the process of creating environmentally literate citizens is quite involved. To accomplish all of the stated goals information from many disciplines needs to be learned, felt, synthesized, and acted upon by a student. In addition, the final goal involves action which is rarely, if ever, required of students.
The program survey the EE Task Force did was a big step forward. This is the first and only report card on SPI's entire Environmental Education program. Unfortunately, formal feedback loops are rarely used by government entities, even in these waning days of Total Quality Management, so this survey was really a brave and responsible act.
The EE Task Force, reporting results of their survey of 109 school districts, stated:
- 76% of the school districts had, or were developing, environmental education programs. Few had student learning objectives.
- Most environmental education programs were integrated in science, social studies and health classes. The content of these courses reflected the schools were not sufficiently responsive to the public's most urgent concerns.
- SPI and the natural resource agencies in the state were providing the bulk of the environmental education resources to the school districts. These resources were perceived as being high quality.
- Most respondents, when asked to rate how effective Washington's environmental education programs were in preparing students to deal with contemporary issues, indicated they were only mediocre.
Considering all Washington state school districts had been required to offer an environmental education course as an option to all secondary students since 1976, this was dismal news. It was plain the program was not achieving its goals. But trouble had loomed on the horizon for a long time. SPI itself had predicted trouble in their 1972 response to Senate Resolution No. 12. This survey pointed out how strongly dependent the schools were on SPI and the resource agencies for good curriculum materials. It also showed the process used to effect school district compliance wasn't working. The rating of mediocre by the field was probably expected, especially considering the meager amount of money SPI spent directly on environmental education in the preceding five years, (avg. $65.6K/yr. FY82 - 86 for Northwest supervisor/NEEC, incl. personnel costs), and the long standing lack of clearly defined program goals. (Washington, 1972, Washington, 1976a, Paulsen pers comm, 1994)
The Task Force recommendations springboarded off the dismal survey results and made several good recommendations to strengthen EE programs to the state Legislature. They were to:
2. Update state environmental education guidelines
3. Charge the State Board of Education to mandate environmental education training for initial and continuing teacher certification.
4. Provide funds to allow existing environmental education programs to be marketed fully, especially curriculum materials and teacher training.
5. Define Environmental literacy in the regulations. (WAC 180-56-230)
6. Legislate to create a formal organization of state, local public and private concerns dedicated to the development of environmental education programs.
The 1986 Environmental Education Task Force went out of existence once its mission had been accomplished. (Washington, 1986b)
The Law is changed, by compromise
The 1986 Status and Needs Assessment had some impact on the 1987 Legislature because they quickly acted on one of the recommendations. House Bill No. 770, made the first significant change to amend the common school statute, with respect to Environmental Education. The act, amending RCW 28.05.010 specified [changes underlined]:
All common schools shall give instruction in reading, penmanship .... ,the history of the United States, ..... science with special reference to the environment, and such other studies as may be prescribed by rule or regulation of the state board of education. All teachers shall stress the importance of the cultivation of manners, .......and the worth of kindness to all living creatures and the land....
(Passed the House March 18, 1987, Senate April 15, 1987).
As all things in government, this act represents a compromise. History and science are specifically recognized and environmental education is named, but in a context not originally intended. The upshot of this change is that while environmental education remained an option in the state's secondary schools, all sciences are required to be taught with "special reference to the environment". This had the effect of throwing environmental education firmly into the bailiwick of science teaching. This concept is completely counter to the interdisciplinary paradigm SPI has worked so hard to craft over the years.
The legislature failed to adopt any other recommendations of the 1986 EE Task Force.
SPI took the recommendation of the 1986 EE Task Force to update the Environmental Education Guidelines for Washington Schools for action. They reworked the guidelines into a clearer, more concise publication. These Guidelines, which are still in force, begin with the definition of an environmentally literate citizen and eventually go on to explain how educators can infuse themes into a K-12 program to develop this citizen. (Washington, 1987)
The last tangible development from the 1986 EE Task Force recommendations was the ad hoc creation of another non Environmental Education Task Force. This new Task Force had no formal charter. It was mainly composed of members of the disbanded 86 Task Force. Their main purpose was to provide guidance and assistance in environmental education for the development and implementation of environmental education programs by the state, the schools and the other public and private concerns. (Angell, 1994)
After that flurry of activity, business went on as usual. There was one important difference, however. The coalition of environmental educators, mostly from state and local agencies, although schools and private concerns were represented, in the new Environmental education task force represented a broad base of communications and support for environmental education issues. Like all groups, this one had some hurdles to overcome, but by 1989 an external event caused this group to fuse together. (Ferguson, pers comm, 1994; Ludwig, pers comm, 1994; Angell, pers comm, 1994)
Environment 2010 and the Mandate
The coalescing event was the creation of the Environment 2010 committee by the Governor. Environment 2010's challenge was to describe what the state of the environment should be in the year 2010. Using this as a benchmark, the committee was asked to develop an integrated plan that, if acted upon resolutely, would achieve this vision. During their deliberations the committee soon realized that appropriate, environmentally centered, education was one of the primary vehicles that needed to be employed in order to accomplish the ultimate goal of 2010. As a result, the Environmental Education Task Force (EETF) was asked to develop the portion of the report concerning education. This section, published as chapter 3, made six recommendations to achieve 2010's goals. Four of them specifically concerned SPI: (Washington, 1990a)
1. Require school districts infuse environmental education in grades K-12.
2. Create an environmental education coordinating committee representing government, business, academic communities, etc. to foster communication, coordination and cooperation throughout the state.
3. Require environmental education training as a requirement to obtaining teacher certification.
4. Provide more money to SPI's Office of Environmental Education, agencies, and other institutions that perform in-service and outreach teacher Environmental education training.
Two of these recommendations have been implemented to date.
The first recommendation was immediately acted upon by the State Board of Education and became known as the Resolution on Environmental Education. The process that crafted the development of the Resolution and its enaction into law in 1990 is outlined in the figure below.
Essentially, SPI's Office of Environmental Education approached the State Board of Education with the idea to insert this requirement into the regulations (WAC). The Board asked SPI to develop a resolution. The EE Task Force helped revise and rewrite the resolution. The State's Resource Directors declared in a Memorandum of Understanding to the State Board of Education their support to interdisciplinary environmental education. The State Board of Education, spurred on by the large amount of environmental interest and community awareness generated by the twentieth anniversary of Earth Day and the 2010 process, voted to unanimously pass the resolution. The resolution then passed through all the steps required by the State's Rule Making procedures and was codified into the (WAC) regulations. (Washington, 1990b; Angell pers comm, 1994; Patterson pers comm, 1994; Washington, 1994b)
This action, modified WAC 180-50-115, reads:
WAC 180-50-115 Mandatory areas of study in the common school....
(6) Pursuant to RCW 28A.230.020 instruction about conservation, natural resources, and the environment shall be provided at all grade levels in an interdisciplinary manner through science, the social studies, the humanities, and other appropriate areas with an emphasis on solving the problems of human adaptation to the environment. (Washington, 1994b)
The change in SPI regulations to include the teaching of environmental education, outlined above, was the result of hard work and determined effort by many thoughtful people. It became known as the Mandate. What has happened since? The answer to this question is difficult to determine with certainty, as no reliable, repeatable, assessment measure is used by SPI to check compliance with this regulation. However, in the course of interviewing over two dozen individuals who are, or were, prominent in the field of environmental education (including front line educators) it appears that some of our state's teachers have implemented the mandate on their own, but that a large majority (over 85%?) appear not to have done so. Why? Well, the real devil is in the details of how to do what was legislated to be done. Working out the details of how to teach the 45,000 plus certificated teachers in the State of Washington to comply with the Mandate and then to assure compliance with the Mandate is where we are today. Why? Part of the answer lies in the way this regulation is being supported or influenced by various state entities. The other part of the answer lies in the changing environment teachers work in.
Hurdles and Opportunities: State entities
To begin this discussion, lets introduce some of the major state players, one by one, and try to piece together a picture of what is unfolding in the environmental education arena today.
(Please refer to the figure below to see the relationships of the entities mentioned to one another.)
The Professional Education Advisement Committee. One of the key Environment 2010 recommendations which would effect implementation of the mandate is to make environmental education training a requirement for all pre-service teachers.* This is a crucial recommendation because given enough time, say 20 years, pre-service certification training programs would train the vast majority of the state's teachers in Environmental education. Only teachers transferred into the state would need to get EE training. This recommendation was taken under advisement by SPI and the State Board of Education's Professional Education Advisement Committee (PEAC), which is in charge of such matters. The upshot is that no requirement was ever developed by PEAC. In 1992 PEAC was given dual roles, PEAC and the Performance Based Advisory Committee. The PEAC/Performance Based Committee immediately involved itself in researching the question of when and how Washington State should change its pre-service teacher requirements to a performance based system. The idea of a pre-service Environmental education certification requirement is on hold. (Washington, 1994c; Angell, pers comm, 1994) (*Note: this is the same recommendation the 1986 Environmental Education Task Force made to SPI.)
The Governor's Council on Environmental Education. The Governor acted on the second environmental education recommendation of the Environment 2010 commission by creating a coordinating body called the Governor's Council on Environmental Education. The council's main missions were to:
- establish broad environmental goals and policies,
- serve as a forum for statewide discussion,
- coordinate efficient use of resources, and
- provide recommendations to the Governor, SPI, State Board of Education and Higher Education Coordinating Board on environmental education issues. (Washington, 1990c)
Originally it was thought the Governor's Council on Environmental Education would develop a plan to execute the Mandate. (Ferguson, pers comm, 1994; Angell, pers comm, 1994) What the Governor's Council actually did, with some helpful exceptions, was focus on other, broader, issues like whole watershed projects on the Nooksack River, Hood Canal and Lake Roosevelt. (Hunter, pers comm, 1994; Isenson, pers comm, 1994)
In 1993 the Governor's Council's charter was changed by the Legislature. Their new mission, under state law, RCW 28A.234.010 states the Commission shall:
(1) Raise and distribute public and private funds for the purpose of providing environmental education programs and projects in fish and wildlife preservation and management to public and private elementary and secondary schools, emphasizing the importance of species conservation and fish and wildlife as indicators of ecosystem health; and
(2) Support interdisciplinary programs that integrate fish and wildlife preservation and management with other areas of environmental education. (Washington, 1994b)
It is interesting, and somewhat puzzling, to note that the Legislature would see fit to authorize another entity outside SPI to raise and distribute monies for developing K-12 environmental education programs, especially for programs of such tight focus. This might be construed as an attempt by one governmental entity to capture or redirect another 's politically appealing program (and/or funding). One also wonders why they would desire to allow yet another state entity to create and support the development of environmental education curriculums, since there is already a virtual plethora of excellent state and private curriculums; for example: Clean Water, Streams, and Fish , Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, Living lightly in the City, Project Green, and A Way with Waste.
Consequently it appears the Governor's Council is involved in other issues and is not actively involved in implementing the Mandate.
The OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council. By 1992 it became obvious to SPI that more specific actions needed to be taken if the Mandate was ever to be accomplished. So SPI created an OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council. Their charge specifically required the Council to look at SPI policy, curriculum content, instructional strategies, and coordination of statewide resources and:
- develop a vision and basic assumptions
- create a systemic plan
- develop strategies to implement the plan
- build working relationships both inside and outside OSPI to enhance
fulfillment of the mandate
The goal was to develop a plan that would result in a coordinated support system for districts that would help them implement the mandate. (Washington 1992)
In 1994 the Environmental Education Advisory Council published A Systemic Plan for the Integration of Environmental Education in Washington State Schools. This is the first tangible state effort to focus enough energy to create a plan to accomplish the Mandate. (Washington, 1994d)
The Plan asks to:
Properly train in-service teachers,
Require pre-service teacher training,
Have schools model environmentally sound practices,
Assess the process periodically,
The plan is on the right track. However, there are no public funds appropriated to implement it. (Nor are any likely to be available in the near future because of what the Legislature is presently attempting to accomplish through education reforms.)
The Legislature - Our legislators feel student achievement needs to be improved to keep pace with changes in society, the workplace and the international economy. They also wish to get out of the business of trying to regulate exactly what is to be taught in the classrooms throughout the state. (Jacobson, 1994) To do this they passed the 1993 Education Reform Act (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1209). This legislature overhauls the state's Basic Education Act and outlines how improvement in student achievement is to be accomplished. As part of this law the legislature formed The Commission on Student Learning. The Commission's job is to create a performance based education system for Washington State schools. It is required to:
Develop student assessment and accountability systems to support the new education system.
The goal is to have all the state's school districts completely adopt these performance based goals by school year 2000-2001. It is uncertain if the essential academic learning requirements will recognize environmental education. (Washington, 1994a)
SPI's Office of Environment Education - Has serious challenges facing it.
As stated before, the Office of Environmental Education doesn't have sufficient funding or manning to accomplish its missions of training in-service teachers to implementing the Mandate, doing curriculum revisions, to work in a project coordination capacity, and act as the Environmental education clearing house for the entire state. Short of funding startup programs remain in a perpetual start up state, due to the influx and outflow of personnel in the system. This is what appears to be occurring in this situation.
The Office of Environmental Education has also tried to develop a workable K-12 EE model, complete with assessment for the state school districts to use. It has tried to develop a transferable K-12 model since 1971*. Money woes have cut each attempt short. The best hope in state is the EPA Model Schools project which is in progress now. The goal of this project is to develop a model for each of 19 schools in the state. However the grant runs for 15 months and includes just enough funds to have a state event to showcase the project's efforts. Not enough for state wide infusion. To be successful, this project needs to run long enough for the "model" schools to cascade their models to schools state wide. Funds for other school implementation and curriculum assessment are not available to date.
(*Wisconsin has a time tested planning model available. Wisconsin, 1994)
Third, and perhaps most important, the Office of Environmental Education needs to work with the teacher certification institutions in state to develop a core pre-service environmental education course for these institutions to use in their certification programs. There is no funding to accomplish this initiative to date.
Overall focus: The state has no lead agency with the authority to focus the use of state funds and policies in the field of environmental education; although in its 1977 study of Cispus et. al. OFM recommended SPI be it. (Washington 1977) Besides being plainly politically popular, Environmental education initiatives spell funding for state agencies in a time when funding is tight. Thus, initiatives in K-12 public education compete with short term, dollar intensive, public relations and public information efforts for funds. Consequently the state's efforts are fragmented, multiple program intensive, and seem to lack the close coordination or congruency needed to deliver a cohesive statewide environmental education program to the schools. Additionally one can not regulate an action to take place, and never inspect what was originally expected to take place.
Thus processes and politics in the governmental agencies pose significant hurdles and challenges to implementation of the Mandate. Each hurdle in its own represents an important roadblock in the process of implementation. Together they represent a serious impediment to Mandate accomplishment.
Teachers are where the job of implementing the Mandate will get done. A quick look at their situation reveals they operate in an exceptionally demanding environment. In the past ten years K-12 teachers and administrators have been faced with federal, state and district wide initiatives to require:
Sex education, Health education, HIV/Aids education, personal abuse awareness training, improved students math and science skills, inclusion of special education students in the classroom, in kind training and access to disabled students, computer assisted training, performance based teaching, site based management, and post graduate training in addition to accomplishing the state's Mandate for environmental education.
Simultaneously many of our teachers continually strive to improve their professional techniques by fostering cooperative student learning, critical thinking skills, performing multiple subject integration, using action research methods, and developing conflict resolution skills in students.
For many teachers the flexible facilitation of a quality education process within the confines of their own classrooms is a major challenge. To find time to develop or change one's present curriculum to align with all the existing requirements and initiatives is an even greater challenge. Therefore teachers have to overcome a great deal of inertia and conflicting priorities to accomplish the intent of the Mandate.
If K-12 teachers make time to change their curriculum to accomplish the Mandate they are faced with further challenges.
What themes to focus on, and
How to interlock their curriculum with those of other teachers in the same school at the same and different levels and with other schools in the same district. This last statement is based upon the thought that Environmental education infused throughout the curriculum must have "three dimensional coherency".
The idea of what is contained in an environmental education curriculum has been addressed on the individual (Washington, 1987), school wide, (Ramsey et. al. 1992), and district wide levels (Wisconsin, 1994). The process of how to actually create an environmental education curriculum is left to the individual teacher or school to do on their own. A district wide process is outlined in Wisconsin's Guide. (Wisconsin, 1994).
Although there are many outstanding environmental education curriculums already on the shelf today, a certain amount of curriculum confusion can exist in the selection of the appropriate ones for K-12 infusion. Interlocking curriculums to achieve three dimensional coherency is time and labor intensive and something only teams of teachers appear able to accomplish.
Also, non-science teachers planning to adopt one of the popular ready made environmental education curriculums i.e. Project Learning Tree, Living Lightly in the City, Project Wild, Project Wild Aquatics; Investigating Your Environment, Clean Water, Clean Streams, Energy, Food and You, A-Way with Waste, etc. can find they are faced with curriculums that are predominantly science and social studies intensive. (Simmons, 1989).
Finally it appears personal barriers to implementation may exist. The concept of environmental education smacks of science education to many teachers, especially in light of the requirements of RCW 28.05.010, to teach "science with special reference to the environment". This emphasis can be a bit daunting to those not comfortable with science. The term Environmental education still retains a slight aura of controversiality that may put off some teachers. Also, some teachers still believe a brief outdoor education experience fulfills the entire requirement for environmental education training. Training can overcome these hurdles.
prioritizing their efforts to get time to make changes in their curriculums to accomplish top down driven initiatives,
lack of training in the subject of environmental education,
learning to create the appropriate process to change their curriculums,
coordinating these changes with other teachers teaching at the same and different levels to produce a coherent systematic program.
These hurdles and challenges are more important than any of those mentioned in the previous section since, without effective compliance measures, school administrators and/or teachers effectively control whether this initiative succeeds or fails. (This doesn't mean effective compliance measures alone will implement the Mandate!)
Conclusion: What has to be done to accomplish the Mandate
It appears the 1990 Mandate for Environmental Education probably won't be fully implemented anytime in the near future. There are simply too many "governmental actions" that need to happen before clear direction and help will get to the teachers who, rightfully, are the key players in this scenario.
Here are some of the "ifs" that have to be addressed before the state can accomplish its part in facilitating the Mandate's goals.
1. If the Commission on Student Learning Advisory Committees chooses to recommend school districts use an environmental education oriented approach as a way to integrate the K-12 essential academic learning requirements, implementation of the mandate is more likely.
2. The Legislature's goal towards education is to adopt minimal competencies, not to direct the teaching of specific subjects. (Jacobson, 1994) In its next session the legislature is going through the education regulations with an eye toward removing as many specifics as possible. If the Mandate is left intact, environmental education will continue to have standing, and remain a voice in education's universe.
However, this short history shows regulatory recognition alone is insufficient to completely implement a major structural change to the state's K-12 curriculums. Funding needs to be committed to support workers who will effect the change. Thus the Legislature needs to appropriate funding to support this program.
3. The PEAC/Performance-based Committee should synchronize their state's pre-service certification programs with the student essential academic learning requirements. If a recommendation for an environmental education oriented approach to integration is made by the Commission on Student Learning, the PEAC/Performance-based Committee should follow suit. This is a key hurdle for the successful implementation of the mandate. This action alone could accomplish the goals of the Mandate, although it would take over 20 years to do so.
4. Active support from the Governor's Council on Environmental Education towards accomplishing the Mandate is a must. The Council's original responsibility includes coordinating the efficient and effective use of resources to actively support environmental education. Public information and public relations efforts should take a backseat to public education. Public education support should be focused on areas where the impact will be felt the strongest. The most crucial area is the K-12 schools, public and private. This is where our leaders of the future are trained. So if these issues of focus, and coordination of resources are worked out and agreed upon, the mandate will have the active support of this state's resource agencies .
5. The OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council. Needs to do a simple statewide implementation process model, including the timeline and process assessment proposed in the Systemic Plan. This will set up a glide path for implementation.
6. SPI's Office of Environmental Education. Needs funding to create a workable, transferable K-12 model process and cooperate in the development of a pre-service course with the state's teacher education programs. Need to modify this program to address training for teachers transferring into the state. At this point, the scene will be set to accomplish the Mandate.
Finale: As discussed before, these actions are just preparation for actual accomplishment. Top down administrator intensive initiatives are seldom done on their own. (See the 1994 OSPI network of operations figure above to see what a relatively mild top down administration looks like.) Accomplishment of the Mandate needs to be delegated to the lowest level practicable, along with the where-with-all to do it). This means delegation needs to be made to the school districts for coordination of resources and support and to the schools for action. The teachers need to be trained to make these changes and then left alone to make them.
The recent passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993 has changed the complexity of the entire Environmental Education situation. At this point in the writer's research it is impossible to predict just what will happen to Washington State's Environmental Education programs. The institution of state mandated Mastery tests and the requirement of teachers to teach to the state's Essential Learning Requirements may make the teaching of Environmental Education programs in the curriculum commonplace. However the exclusion of tight language that specifies that Environment Education outcomes are expected to be mastered as part each discipline's Essential Learning Requirements will relegate this program to the back burner. That's because teachers feel they will be graded on how well their students do on the state's benchmark examinations. Thus they will focus their main energy towards making their student's successful on these examinations, rather than other programs...
This paper was done to meet the requirements for graduation in the Institute of Environmental Studies as an Environmental Zoology major. The project was one of search and discovery. To search for people who, over the years, had been involved in this "thing" called environmental education and also to discover what environmental education really was. Quite early in my research I discovered I might be able to get a glancing knowledge of who had been involved in environmental education, but that I might never get a handle on just what environmental education really meant! In any event the project began to take on a life of its own early on, primarily because of all the really fun, interesting, and dedicated people involved in environmental education over the years.
John Edwards, my thesis advisor, who listened to me and helped me look through the fine details and into the big picture.
Jim Karr, for sponsoring me at IES, even though my proposed program of study was a bit unusual.
Tony Angell (SPI EE Supervisor) - for his patience, time, thoughts and determination. Dave Kennedy for the historical documentation, insights and professionalism.
Harold Smith for his editing help, his recall of the early days at Camp Silverton, and of SPI when EE got on the map.
Jim Garner for the tour through the history of Cispus, his days at SPI, a botanical field trip, and his editing help. Lynne Ferguson, (WFPA) for her insights, Anne Heisler (USFS) for her leads and recollections concerning "Investigating Your Environment". Russ Hupe (Dept. of Game) for his thoughts and willingness to help. Rhonda Hunter, (Dept. of Ecology) for her perspectives and ideas. Beverly Isenson - (Gov.'s Council) for the information and leads. Deke Jones (Waskowitz) for his hospitality and an outstanding operation. Diane Ludwig (Dept. of Fish and Wildlife) - for supporting Bear Creek's project and also for her thoughts. Louise Lindgren (Snohomish County Planning) for information on old Camp Silverton, Ernie McDonald (USFS) one of the real motivators. Skip Patterson (SPI) for his time and expertise. Bill Paulsen (SPI) for leads and funding information. Professor Ola Edwards (Univ. Of Wash.) for her thoughts. Marsha Wiley (SPI) for the info on the EPA Model Schools Project. To Larry Torgerson (Everett) for information about Camp Silverton-Waldheim today. Debbie Schuldt (Monroe) and Barb Schultz (Shoreline) for their time, their perseverance, and their exceptional performance in the schools. Also Robert McCready, a university advisor.
Finally to Helen Buttemer, for her inspiration, friendship, and advice. She guided the development of my own teaching and helped me unleash the power inside of me to strike out on my own passage through a tough place in my own life.
So to each and every one of you who helped me, I give my heartfelt thanks!
- The roots of Environmental Education are buried deep in three movements, each of which still exist in our common schools today. They are Nature study, Conservation education, and Outdoor education.
- Nature study is an educational reform movement which focuses on taking children into the natural world for an academically integrated study of nature centered around a specific organism. Plants and animals, observed in their natural habitat, are the usual objects of students engaged in Nature study. The Nature Study movement began in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
- The Outdoor education movement has similar origins and purposes as nature study. Its approach is defined as "The use of resources outside the classroom for educational purposes". The outdoor education movement began in the late 1920's, primarily as a means of getting students to learn how to integrate their knowledge through practical experience with nature.
- The roots of the Conservation education movement are in federal resource agencies and private organizations. Conservation education teaches the importance of conserving natural resources, i.e. water, soil, forests, and wildlife, for the best use possible. Conservation education became a reality due to rising public awareness during the Dust storms of the 1930's.
- These three movements became
differentially infused in the curriculums of the public schools in
the United States in the 1940's and 1950's.
- Environmental education movement represents an incomplete merger of the concepts of nature study, conservation education, outdoor education and tempered environmental activism. A combination of heightened social, economic, and political tensions, as well as environmental disasters, caused this merger in the 1960's .
- The evolving goal of environmental education is to foster an environmentally literate citizenry which will work together in building an acceptable quality of life for all people.
- Environmental education involves acquiring a variety of skills, attitudes and competencies. They are, in brief: knowledge about the environment, learning to value the environment, an understanding that personal choice affects environmental quality, and knowledge of how citizens can act cooperatively for the environment, and willingness to do so. This last attribute is rarely required of students in our schools.
- Washington schools had programs in nature study prior to 1930, conservation education by 1946, and outdoor education by 1948. The Superintendent of Public Instruction actively supported these programs.
- The first two permanent outdoor education camps were Silverton-Waldheim (est.. 1948) and Waskowitz (est.. 1958). They were realized through personal leadership, hard work, and community wide volunteer efforts. Practical conservation education themes were included in their interdisciplinary curriculums.
- In the 1950's and 1960's teacher training workshops were held by state and federal resource agency personnel to support conservation and outdoor education programs. As an outgrowth of these programs, formal outdoor education programs were established throughout the state in many local area parks and camps.
- By the late 1960's a USFS sponsored ad hoc interagency training team had created such a strong demand for their practical training program that the team was overwhelmed with requests. To solve this problem a curriculum was made designed for use in training teachers to be trainers themselves. It was named Investigating your Environment.
- Washington state's strong conservation awareness base built in the 40's, 50's and 60's should be credited in part to our state's teachers and the Federal and State resource agents who helped train them. The cooperation between them was generated by a focus on what was best for the state's students.
- Teachers led the way in school curriculum development in the 1970's by developing and delivering environmental education programs in ecology, population dynamics, waste disposal and fuel/energy resource conservation.
- In 1968 the Superintendent of Public Instruction appointed the first Outdoor Environmental Education Supervisor in the United States, Bill Hunter. Much of Mr. Hunter's time was spent developing the state's first guide for environmental educators.
- Camp Cispus, a former CCC and Job Corps site near Randle, WA. was shut down in June 1969. The Forest Service offered the site to SPI. SPI gathered congressional support and acquired the camp as an environmental education center. In July 1970 SPI was issued a special use permit to operate the camp. Lloyd Rowley was the camps first director. The camp's main function was to provide facilities for student and teacher outdoor environmental education training programs.
- The 1970 State Plan for Environmental Education identified the goals of SPI's program to be: Curriculum development, teacher orientation, cross organizational and institutional involvement, and to generate community support. Their definition of Environmental Education was very vague. This was a perpetual problem that slowed program implementation. Part of the reason for the vagueness in Washington state was that two communities, the outdoor education community and the environmental education community, did not see eye to eye about it... However, even the national experts did not agree on a definition.
- In 1971 SPI added a third staff position to develop an environmental education camp on Whidbey Island, and assist in the development of EE curriculums in the Northwest area of the state. Tony Angell filled this position. Dave Kennedy replaced Bill Hunter. All supervisors assisted in workshops, curriculum development, and presentations. All agreed the emphasis of their efforts would be to create an interdisciplinary program.
- By late 1971 Cispus was operating high capacity loads and getting outstanding comments. However SPI realized the schools seemed to be focusing their environmental efforts on a single, brief outdoor resident program, that few schools had active multi grade level efforts.
- In December 1971, the program identified four major challenges to full implementation of the state's environmental education program. They were:
- The program was viewed as controversial, a possible barrier to inclusion in school
- A shortage of useful Environmental education curriculums
- Minimal funding and low public demand.
- The election of Frank Broulliet signaled a change in SPI's policy toward education. Formerly SPI had relied on maintaining a system the would be available to support teachers in their work, and then trust them to do it properly. The new system relied on creating regulations to govern the actions and conduct of the state's school districts.
- In 1976 a change was made in the state regulations (WAC) to require Environmental education be offered as an elective in all high schools. Since many educators had trouble understanding what Environmental education was, SPI also developed a guide to assist teachers and administrators. It includes learning experiences students should acquire as part of their training.
- SPI Environmental education supervisors were very successful in developing curriculums to meet teachers needs. Their curriculum efforts were solely funded by a series of small grants. In addition, they often cooperated with other entities to produce other curriculums, at least four of which are used nationally today.
- The state economy weakened through the 1970's, student enrollment dropped, and all state programs came under careful scrutiny.
- The Legislature ordered a Office of Financial Management review of Cispus in 1977. OFM reviewed both Cispus and the Northwest supervisor's operation and recommended full funding. Both were fully funded until 1980 when Mt. St. Helens exploded. Student loads dropped at Cispus due to its proximity to the volcano. In 1981 the Legislature decided to cut Cispus out of the budget.
- Cispus closed, then reopened under the management of the Association of Washington School Principals, which has run the center ever since.
- Dave Kennedy was forced to completely drop his duties as SPI Environmental education supervisor in 1981 due to a reassignment and an increased workload. No replacement was hired. Washington State's Environmental education program was operated by one full time and one half time employee, with minimal discretionary funding from 1981 to the present.
- Two of SPI's curriculums became distributed nationally, Energy Food and You, and Clean Water, Streams and Fish. Revisions are paid for out of sales.
- The 1985 Legislature ordered a SPI review of the state's Environmental education program to "develop recommendations to improve environmental education in the state."
- SPI created the 1986 Environmental Education Task Force to do this review. The Task Force was very effective, it accomplished three major tasks:
1. Defined an environmentally literate citizen, something long overdue,
2. Reported on a survey of the state's school districts. The results showed the program was definitely not achieving its goals. This could only be expected, especially considering the money and manpower situation during the past five years.
3. Made six recommendations on how to strengthen the environmental education program.
- The Legislature acted on one of the recommendations and changed the common school statute. However environmental education was not included as recommended. Instead "Science, with special reference to the environment" was inserted. This threw environmental education into a single subject area, counter to the long-standing program emphasis of EE as an interdisciplinary subject.
- Of six 1986 Task Force recommendations, one was changed in intent by the Legislature and adopted, one was fully adopted by SPI. (See underlined area above.)
- The EE Supervisor, and members of the defunct 86 EE Task Force created an ad hoc EE Task Force (EETF) to keep up communications and coordinate projects. This group drafted the environmental education recommendations for the Governor's Environment 2010 report, which was issued in 1990.
- One of the recommendations was to make environmental education mandatory, K-12, in the schools. This recommendation was fully adopted (as a regulation), not by the Legislature, which has the authority to make appropriations for new programs, but by the Board of Education, which doesn't. This new regulation became known as the Mandate.
- The Mandate does not appear to have been implemented four years later. Some teachers are following the regulation today, but it seems most aren't. The Mandate appears to be bogged down in the details of how to implement and how to get funding to accomplish it properly.
Conclusion: the process has assumed top down program orientation - Action by at least five, and maybe six, different state entities is needed before the Mandate can be implemented at the appropriate action levels. Thus, it is unlikely the Mandate will be implemented in the near future. Here is a brief summary of events that need to happen to implement the Mandate.
The Commission on Student Learning
- Needs to choose to require that school districts use an environmental education oriented approach as a way to integrate K-12 essential academic learning requirements
- Leave Mandate intact through its 1995-96 review of the education regulations.
- Fund Environmental Education to a full implementation level
The Professional Education Advisement Committee
- Synchronize pre service teacher requirements with those of the Commission on Student Learning to make pre service environmental education training a requirement.
The Governor's Council on Environmental Education.
- Actively support implementation, recommend same to the Governor
- Identify a lead agency for implementation to the Governor, preferably SPI, to be the focusing agency for all state environmental education efforts.
The OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council.
- Finish implementation process model including timeline and process assessment.
.SPI's Office of Environment Education
- Cooperate in the development of a pre-service course in environmental education with the schools sponsoring teacher certification programs
- Develop K-12 Model and assessment. People need to know what to expect (as a standard) when they inspect their processes.
Action levels: These agency actions are just preparation for implementation of the Mandate. Top down administrator intensive initiatives are seldom done alone, there must be properly trained people in the front lines to do the work. Therefore implementation of the Mandate needs to be delegated to the lowest level practicable (along with the where with all to do it). This means delegation needs to be made to school districts for coordination of resources and support, and to the schools for action.
Then our teachers need to be trained to make the needed changes and then left alone to make them.
Addendum - The recent passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993 has made an unusual opportunity for Environmental Education programs to become commonplace in the curriculum of our State's K-12 programs. It will take unusual vision by the Commission on Student Learning to make it happen by creating tight wording of benchmarks to target and guide student learning in this area.
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___________, 1972, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 12: A Report to the Joint Committee on Education, Washington State Legislature, by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA., 22 pp.
___________ ,1974, Environmental education for Washington State: A review for the Office of the Governor, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA, 22 pp.
___________ ,1976a, Environmental education in the State of Washington: 1976 - A state of the art report , Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA, 18pp.
___________ ,1976b, Conceptual Guide to Environmental Education in Washington State Secondary schools - An Invitation and Guide to Implementatation, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA, 65 pp..
Washington. Office of Financial Management, 1977, Cispus Environmental Education Program, Olympia, WA. 18 pp and app.
Washington. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1981, Letter to Fred Tidwell, Superintendent, ESD 113, dated 1 May 1981.
___________ , 1986a, Status and Needs assessment of Environmental Education in Washington State - 1986, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA, 12 pp, w/encls.
___________ , 1986b, Letter to Speaker of the House Hon. Wayne Ehlers, dated 3 December 1986.
___________ , 1987, Environmental Education Guidelines for Washington Schools, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA, 72 pp.
Washington, State of, and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1990a, Toward 2010: An environmental action agenda, Olympia, WA., 58 pp.
Washington, State Resource Directors letter to the Governor, 1990b, Memorandum of Understanding - Environmental Education, dated 20 July 90.
Washington, Office of the Governor, 1990c, Executive Order EO 90-06, Implementing the Washington Environment 2010 action agenda, Olympia, WA.
Washington. State Superintendent of Public Instruction letter to the OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council, 1992, The Charge to the OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Council, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA.
Washington. Washington State Commission on Student Learning, 1994a, High Standards: Essential Learnings for Washington Students (Draft dtd 16 Mar 94, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA., 56 pp.
Washington. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1994b, Common School Manual, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA.
___________ , 1994c, Performance-Based Professional Education, The Washington Story (Draft dtd July 1994), Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA., 30pp.
Washington. OSPI Environmental Education Advisory Committee, 1994d, A Systemic Plan for the Integration of Environmental Education in Washington State Schools, Old Capital Building, Olympia, WA., 25 pp.
Wisconsin, Department of Public Instrucation, 1994, A Guide to curriculum planning in Environmental Education, Madison, WI., 170 pp.
Appendix One - A listing of OSPI Office of Environmental Education Publications
Dyckman, C., T. Angell, E. Davies, L. Smith-Greathouse, J. Howard,
and J. Summerhogs. 1984. Coastal Zone Studies for Junior High Schools,
OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 140 pp. (Grades 6-9).
Angell, T., and R. Cecil. 1988. Turning the Tide, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 90 pp. (Grades 6-12).
Puget Sound Fund grant, (Puget Sound Bank).
Arnow, L. 1989. Coastal Zone Ecology Simulation Program, OSPI Instructional
Washington State Department of Ecology and Fisheries grant.
Davies, E., and T. Angell. 1990. Puget Sound Habitats and Charts, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 34 pp.
Shoreline Community College, WA and Washington Department of Ecology grant.
Yoder, A., and J. Landahl. 1973-74. Ecology: An Island Simulation Game, OSPI
Instructional Programs Office. 18 pp (Grades 5-6)
Angell, T., and C. Patterson. 1978-79. Energy Food and You, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 380 pp. (Grades 7-12).
Washington State Office of Health Education grant.
Dyckmann, C., T. Angell, M. Nelson, and C. Peterson. 1978, Energy Food and You, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 360 pp. (Grades K-6).
Puget Power, Governor's Office, Washington State Office of Health Education grant.
King, P., and J. Landahl. 1971, 1973 rev. Teaching Population Concepts, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 49 pp. (Grades 4-12)
Mcarthur, M., B. McCarty, B. Schultz, A. Yoder, J. Landahl, and T. Peterson. 1973-74. Population Task Cards, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 37 pp. (Grades 6-8)
Appendix One (cont)- A listing of OSPI Office of Environmental Education Publications
1978. Children of the Sun: An Activities Guide on Solar Energy, OSPI Instructional Programs Office, 51 pp. (Grades 5-12)
Solar Energy Education Packets, OSPI instructional Programs Office. 64 pp.
Streams and Fish
Dyckman, C., and A. W. Way. 1979. Clean Water, Streams, and Fish, OSPI Instructional Programs Office, 327 pp. (Grades 4-6)
Dyckman, C., and A. W. Way. 1980. Clean Water, Streams, and Fish, OSPI Instructional Programs Office, 380 pp. (Grades 7-12)
Metro and Washington State Fisheries Grant.
1973. (1980 reprinted) Encounter with the Northwest Environment: Natural and Urban, OSPI Instructional Programs Office. 130 pp. (Teacher's Guide)
We Share Puget Sound.
Water is Life
The Last Farmer at the Market
Solar Guide and Calculator
John Schmied is a retired US Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander, with specialities in Marine Science, Salvage Diving, Ship Control and Handling, Personnel, Training and Education, and Recruiting. He has served in most every position from Seaman recruit to Commanding Officer.
Mr. Schmied holds a BA, BS, and MEd from the University of Washington.
Mr. Schmied has worked in Lake Washington and Northshore School Districts, both as a parent volunteer and as a certified teacher. During this period of time he developed a parent-student-teacher team based Salmon raising program that has successfully raised salmon in classrooms for over eight years.
He presently teaches kids science at Skyview Junior High School in Bothell, WA. The Skyview science seven program is an exciting, intensive hands on - minds on science learning experience he co created with Mike Reid, also of Skyview JHS. This program is based upon the State Standards for Essential Learning in Science. He has documented the entire Science seven curriculum on the World Wide Web so that parents, teachers, interns, students and prospective parents can access knowledge and curriculum materials about the program at home. The teacher portal will be developed in 2000/2001 This very popular science web volume can be found at: http://sjhweb.nsd.org/scienceseven