On college campuses across North America, young people with passion for environmental causes are taking action to make the world more sustainable. How do we turn these motivated students into future environmental educators?  NAAEE’s Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators provide the basis for these campus initiatives.

Pre-12 Teacher Preparation

NAAEE has partnered with National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, which accredits more than half of the 1,200 or so colleges of teacher education in the U.S.


How does this impact universities?

•  Sixty percent of all the colleges and universities that certify teachers are accredited by NCATE.
•  To be certified, a university must document that all EE courses taught on campus are meeting NAAEE's standards.
•  Many faculty members who teach EE have been told that their courses will not help the institution meet NCATE accreditation requirements; NAAEE’s EE standards overcome that excuse.
•  With encouragement from the EE community and the students on their campus, faculty will be motivated to offer more courses in EE – both at schools that teach it now and new ones.

NAAEE’s partnership with NCATE demonstrates acceptance of EE as an important part of formal education training. As teachers are better trained, they will be more comfortable teaching about the environment, particularly in interdisciplinary teams.

"Adding NAAEE standards to the NCATE protocols will encourage teacher education programs to take environmental education seriously. The issues facing our society require teachers that are prepared to teach about the environment, based upon the standards of our profession.”  

   Dean of the College of Education, Western Kentucky University

Training in the EE Standards is offered each year at the NAAEE annual conference. 

Nonformal Educator Preparation – Departments other than the College of Education offer training for future environmental educators. EE providers lead activities for children and adults at nonformal educational institutions such as nature centers, zoos, museums, and parks.

They develop curriculum materials and administer national, state, and local community EE programs. They work in corporate sustainability departments, teaching employees and customers about the environment, or in media reaching millions of readers and viewers.

Regardless of the setting, NAAEE’s Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators outlines the experiences and learning that will help them deliver their messages in ways that effectively foster environmental literacy. NAAEE is drafting EE Standards to provide recognition to these programs through a mechanism known as a Certificate of Distinction.