Introduction

SEER is a cooperative program that helps state education agencies in their efforts to strengthen the role of environment-based educational approaches in K-12 curricula and systemic reform efforts. SEER's staff coordinates professional development activities and research programs, disseminates educational resource materials and provides technical assistance to the states.

SEER was established in 1995 with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, a national philanthropy with major interests in both environmental and school reform issues.

The Council of Chief State School Officers administers the grant. Representatives of the participating state education agencies serve as SEER's professional advisory board.

Program History

A 1994 study of federal and state education agencies, local school districts, universities and environmental organizations revealed a broad-scale need for better information about strategies that are working to integrate environmental content, pedagogy and principles into formal K-12 educational systems. This study found that EE had achieved only minor integration in systemic education reform efforts. (Click here to see a copy of the report)

As part of the study, environmental education coordinators from nine state education agencies convened to identify what specific steps needed to be taken to build a better knowledge base for the field. Among their recommendations was the establishment of a national entity that could help facilitate information sharing among the EE coordinators in the various state agencies and identify successful implementation strategies that might be replicated.

Program Mission

SEER's mission is to aid state education agencies in their efforts to improve learning by incorporating environment-based education schools. SEER members coined the term EIC, using the environment as an integrating context, to represent the type of environment-based education that they seek to promote. They defined EIC as: education that employs natural and built environments as the context for learning and, within that framework:

crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries;
relies on team-teaching;
provides hands-on learning experiences, often through project-based, problem-solving activities;
offers cooperative learning opportunities; and,
adapts to the needs of individual students through learner-centered methods.

Program Objectives

In addressing the needs of the participating state departments of education, SEER pursues five primary objectives:

Create a Network. SEER organizes semi-annual meetings of the member state's program coordinators. These seminars provide opportunities for them to refine their skills, share experiences and identify resources to help them enhance their respective programs.

Build a Knowledge Base.SEER collects information on existing EIC and EE programs through case study research and literature studies. These findings form a foundation of practical experience and knowledge from which the states can build successful programs for schools and school districts.

Disseminating Research Findings SEER disseminates its research through semi-annual SEER seminars, technical reports and its WWW site on the Internet (http://www.seer.org). SEER members and staff also actively seek opportunities to present the results of their work at national and state conferences of education professionals.

Develop Successful Strategies.SEER works with state education agencies to develop and disseminate recommended implementation strategies for addressing each of the highest-priority, essential components of effective state EE programs.

Provide Technical Support. SEER's staff serves as an information and technical resource for its member education agencies. The staff provides technical assistance on implementation issues such as program planning and assessment.

Program Services

To meet its objective of serving as a resource to the field, SEER offers a number of services to its members, including:

Seminars Semi-annual seminars where state EE coordinators can discuss critical issues facing EE, learn about relevant pedagogy and environmental subject matter and visit successful projects in other states. These seminars strengthen the working relationships among the states and increase the number of cooperative projects.

Publications SEER is currently completing three major reports. These publications include: a report on case studies of the effects of EIC approaches on students in 40 schools, nationwide; a report on the results of an extensive review of research literature regarding the educational efficacy of EE; and, a student assessment framework for EIC.

Technical Assistance Register SEER maintains a directory of experts in various aspects of integrating the environment into education. This directory provides access to educators who have expertise related to implementing EIC programs at all levels, K-12. It can be queried through SEER's Internet site.

Electronic Communication System. SEER has a presence on the Internet to facilitate the exchange of information. The WWW site (http://www.seer.org) provides program participants and other interested parties with access to SEER's publications, Technical Assistance Register, reports of SEER's seminars, links to other educational and environmental resources on the Internet, and a bibliography of education reform resources.

Whom We Serve

SEER concentrates on serving the needs of EE coordinators from the 12 member states that have made the most progress to date in establishing strong programs. By assisting these states intensively at a critical juncture in their development, it is hoped that their experiences will form the practical foundation on which the broader field will be able to rapidly grow. SEER's research results and publications are, however, disseminated widely.

SEER's member agencies include:

° ° California Department of Education
° ° Colorado Department of Education
° ° Florida Office of Environmental Education
° ° Iowa Department of Education
° ° Kentucky Environmental Education Council
° ° Maryland Department of Education
° ° Minnesota Department of Families, Children and Learning and
° °
Minnesota Environmental Education Advisory Board
° ° New Jersey Department of Education
° ° Ohio Department of Education
° ° Pennsylvania Department of Education
° ° Texas Education Agency
° ° Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

(Click here to see contact information for the states)

Further Information

Please visit our World Wide Web page on the Internet to learn about our current projects and research. Our WWW address is: http://www.seer.org If you would like to be added to SEER's Internet mailing list or for further information about activities and services contact:

Dr. Gerald A. Lieberman
Director
State Education and Environment Roundtable
16486 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite 328
San Diego, California 92128

Telephone: (858) 676-0272
Facsimile: (508) 462-8331
E-mail: gerald@seer.org

To send e-mail to the Director click here: Director

To send e-mail to the Professional Development Coordinator click here. Professional Development Coordinator

Last update 1/1/2018