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Environmental Education Projects

Heal the Bay: Education & Environment Initiative

Heal the Bay (HTB), a non-profit environmental organization, sponsored legislature (AB 1548) that became the foundation for the California State Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI). After inception, the EEI was managed by the State Environmental Protection Agency; however, as one of a large coalition of non-governmental organizations that had fostered the legislation, HTB applied for a Lucille Packard Foundation grant to promote strategic planning and evaluation for monitoring and oversight of EEI activities. As the first step in this process, HTB contracted with ETI to develop an evaluation white paper that could be used as a guide for planning future EEI evaluation efforts. The white paper was developed around core EEI benchmarks, such as professional development and student outcomes, and provided background as well as specific examples of evaluation strategies that could be used to monitor EEI progress. HTB used the white paper to engage in an evaluation planning process with the state, and to ensure that state-wide and regional EEI evaluation activities were grounded in sound research practice. 

Evaluation of the California Regional Environment Education Coordinator (CREEC) Network

We conducted a two-year evaluation of the CREEC Network activities, funded through an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to increase linkages among environmental education providers in California.  The evaluation activities included:  1) an examination of activities being conducted at the regional level through interviews and document review; 2) interviews and a document review to assess program administration and implementation at the State level; and, 3) a survey of environmental education providers to get an outside perspective on the CREEC Network.

The Children's Nature Institute Staff Capacity Building Workshop and Logic Model Development

The mission of The Children’s Nature Institute is to educate children, families and communities through interactive experiences with nature and to inspire respect, responsibility and a connection to the natural environment. CNI provides five separate program models to support and educate communities. ETI conducted two capacity building training workshops, targeting stakeholder education and buy-in, to develop a foundation for future evaluation efforts within the organization. ETI conducted a needs assessment with key CNI staff to target potential areas for staff education and future evaluation targets. In addition, ETI developed five program logic models to help staff members conceptualize their program goals and future evaluation needs. 

Program-wide Evaluation Plan for NatureBridge

NatureBridge is an organization that provides environmental and field science opportunities to K-12 youth. ETI was contracted by NatureBridge to design a program-wide evaluation plan that will position NatureBridge to conduct targeted, outcomes-based evaluation for its field science programs. Using site visits as well as an extensive review of the literature for place-based learning outcomes and assessment, ETI has developed a logic model that will serve as a blueprint for evaluation and includes NatureBridge’s educational resources, activities, and anticipated student outcomes. We are in the process of developing a set of valid and diverse outcome measures along with recommended modes of data collection in an “evaluation toolkit” that will be used for evaluating student outcomes across many settings. We will focus on such educational concepts as building connections to students’ home communities, scientific inquiry, place-based content, active learning, team building and group work.

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