As environmental educators, we are inventors and pioneers of a new educational approach. We facilitate learning that challenges people to rethink the way they relate to the world and the way they live within the world, rather than maintaining the status quo. How do we cultivate an educated citizenry which is guided by a sense of responsibility for the health and welfare of the planet? How do we create communities that are inclusive of difference and meet the needs and interests of all? We are challenged to consider the routes of knowledge about the environment, the origins of emotional involvement with the world, and the conditions under which environmental concern becomes expressed through action. As educators, lifelong leaders, and learners, we must be committed to learning methods that allow and encourage examination of values without threatening or alienating people from the learning process. Our work demands that we be holistic systems thinkers who are able to make interconnections across difference and seek solutions to the complex environmental challenges we witness today.
There are lots of qualities that make Antioch’s environmental education programming unique and vital for anyone wanting to make a difference in this educational arena. Here’s a list of our top 8:
1. Gain Leadership & Professional Experience
We value opportunities where EE students gain skills to be adaptive leaders who are creative, open to new ideas, and able to work in a variety of community contexts. As an EE student, you will engage in hands-on learning opportunities that enhance your classroom and professional experiences. EE students serve in leadership roles through AUNE initiatives, like: Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, Community Garden Connections, Monadnock Ecological Research and Education, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, Glover’s Ledge, and Antioch’s student government . Make a positive difference while you’re engaged in graduate studies here!
2. Make Meaning out of the World
Help people make meaning out of the world by challenging them to think critically, understand deeply, and translate knowledge into action. Our integrated, experientially-based program exposes you to a variety of techniques, educational settings, and curricular designs. Learn about effective facilitation techniques, school-relevant design, exhibit development, digital media, program evaluation, climate change education, research processes, and environmental communication approaches. Our work is to build a more ecologically literate population that makes decisions with the earth in mind, empowered by the knowledge and skills to work— individually and collectively—toward the solution of current environmental problems, and prevention of new problems through sustainable living.
3. Engage in Cultural Competency & Justice
We value cultural competency, which requires skills and motivation. As an EE student, you will explore how to create learning environments that are inclusive of class, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation and other socially constructed indicators of difference. We must also take into account that environmental hazards and climate change disproportionately impact marginalized individuals and communities. Cultural competency is essential as we learn alongside community members in meaningful ways toward a more just future.
4. Get Individualized Attention in a Rigorous Learning Community
AUNE’s Environmental Education interdisciplinary graduate studies program focuses on justice, equity, and sustainability in a vibrant learning community. Engage in a supportive learning community within which you develop a portfolio of educational approaches that identify and direct you to the best possible professional application of your education. Your capstone is a culminating academic experience that builds upon your graduate experiences and skills gained to tackle real-world issues. Students leave with a renewed sense of confidence, direction and competency to embrace new challenges. Come join the Antioch’s EE program and become a change agent for the world. Your journey and hard work will be as rewarding as the benefits of your degree.
5. Look at the World in New Ways
We value a diversity of learners and embrace multiple ways of knowing. This requires that we challenge our assumptions, approach learning in holistic ways and recognize other ways of knowing besides cognition. Such ways of knowing may include aspects like emotional, spiritual, social, intuitive, and kinesthetic forms of expression. We must authentically create space for more voices– particularly youth, women, indigenous peoples—into the new solutions for a sustainable, just world.
6. Seek Solutions & Enhance Resilience in the Age of Climate Change
We value a solutions-seeking mentality in the face of climate change. Our work demands that we be holistic systems thinkers who are able to make interconnections across difference and seek solutions to the complex environmental challenges we witness today. We must be adaptive leaders who are creative, open to new ideas, and able to work in a variety of community contexts. How can we engage people in practices that increase the resilience of social-ecological systems? What contributes to resilience in the face of climate change, food insecurity, energy descent, and associated environmental, social, and economic challenges? What practices can environmental educators employ to enhance resilience on multiple scales—personal, communal, and ecological? For example, you will learn about civic ecology, which examines the interactions among people, environmental stewardship practices, education and learning, and resilience. Examples of civic ecology practices include ecological restoration, urban greening, community gardens, citizen science, and community forestry.
7. Take a Deep Dive into your Passions
Students may find themselves designing and delivering undergraduate experiences in field-based research or place-based learning. Some find their way to the Bronx Zoo in New York City or New England Aquarium in Boston working to design conservation curricula or develop interactive exhibits. Some work in organizations dedicated to making school food healthier and more sustainable, or creating garden projects to engage and empower communities. Others are integrating environmental science into outdoor adventure programming, designing programs for residential centers, assessing the sustainability of school campuses, or exploring international arenas of environmental education.
8. Gain the Antioch EE Competitive Edge
A master’s degree in Environmental Education from AUNE opens doors not only to an interesting variety of job settings, but also to higher level positions and rates of pay. Established in 1972, the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE is the oldest environmental studies graduate program in the country. The Environmental Educator program, launched in 1989, remains the only such program composed entirely of graduate level students.
But just what is it about this program that earns it such praise from its alumni and environmental experts? It boils down to five points that make up the AUNE Competitive Edge:
- Oldest graduate level Environmental Studies department with one of the most recognized environmental education program in the country
- Commitment to high standards
- Multiple professional internship experiences
- Extensive networking and mentoring opportunities
- Experienced faculty with extensive professional networks, applied understanding of the field, and innovative scholarly interests. Our robust team collectively meets the needs of diverse students interested in sustainability, justice, and working with youth and adults in a variety of professional contexts. Check out the expertise of key EE faculty members: Jean Kayira, PhD, Libby McCann, PhD, Dave Chase, MEd, and Sue Gentile, MS.
In a survey of EE graduates, 100% of respondents reported that the EE program was effective in preparing them for work in the environmental field. Among the competitive advantages that make the program stand apart from other such programs is the integration of professional internship experiences that garner AUNE students more esteemed job opportunities after graduation.
“AUNE was a perfect fit for me. The Environmental Education concentration enabled me to build on my prior experience in the field by growing skill sets I wanted to expand. I came to the program with a specific list of professional goals. My in-class experiences, coursework, internships, and interactions with AUNE’s phenomenal faculty enabled me to accomplish all of my goals and so much more.”
Liz Kautz ’15 moved to Keene to study at AUNE. She’s stayed in the area as Education Director at The Caterpillar Lab where she was hired full-time after completing a professional internship there.