Analyzing a Collective Impact of Environmental Education and Outreach in Terms of Community Development
Voss, Nicholas D.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
MetadataShow full item record
Complex environmental issues are often intertwined with social, political, and cultural issues. This complex dynamic calls for cooperative dialogue between environmental organizations and their public stakeholders. This research project is based on the idea that environmental education (EE) consists not only on education and outreach entities' content and programming, but on their ability to develop authentic community that serves as a learning space in which to situate content and programming. While many organizations such as nature centers have strong local followings, there is a regional trend of fragmented dialogue that allocates public involvement according to their various social boundaries such as viewpoint, identity, and political ideology. Such fragmentation caters to the public filtering knowledge and messages according to their view. In contrast, a strategic effort between various EE organizations may allow for a more effective reach to the public, improved interactions across social boundaries, and new approaches to complex environmental issues. Such a strategy would require an understanding of the organization's strengths, their commonalities, and their relationships with the public. This project sought these insights and developed a consensus on how the Northern Wisconsin/ Southern Michigan Upper Peninsula collectively create a communal learning space. The findings serve as a tool to support the evolution of public stakeholder outreach methods in this region, and its conclusions serve as recommendations for collaboration.