The Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE) is sharing results from a landscape analysis conducted this year in partnership with the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA) using collected survey data from over 600 pre-K-12 teachers and administrators in the eight SEEA states.

The analysis is designed to gain an enhanced understanding of environmental education providers and schools in the southeastern U.S. that are working towards similar goals. It provides a comprehensive look at what environmental education is (or is not) happening in schools, a better understanding of the needs and priorities of teachers and administrators, strategies for scaling programs for a broader, more equitable reach and state and regional findings to inform future strategic planning efforts.

The school survey used to gather data focused on integration of environmental education into the curriculum, professional development needs of administrators and educators, field trips, outdoor learning and outdoor spaces.

Some key findings from the analysis include:

  • When asked how likely teachers are to integrate outdoor learning into their instruction, 32% already incorporate outdoor learning into instruction; 61% indicated interest, but need support; and only 6% say they are not likely to incorporate outdoor learning.
  • The top barrier to incorporating outdoor learning in schools is logistics (scheduling, time, distance, staging and clean up).
  • The primary limiting factors for schools’ ability to participate in field trips were transportation costs, time, availability of transportation and site fees.
  • When asked what type of professional development educators have participated in, 21% of educators indicated they have had no professional development in outdoor education or environmental education.
  • A total of 66% of educators are teaching about climate science and of those, 50% are spending less than 10 hours per year on this topic. Most educators do not feel confident teaching this topic.

A full report and a dashboard with detailed findings from the analysis can also be accessed, which allows users to filter the location of the schools, the type of schools, grade level, the level of reported confidence providing EE and more.

“These insights reveal not only the current state of environmental education in K-12 schools but also the paths we must tread to bring outdoor learning and environmental education into every classroom,” said Ashley Hoffman, Executive Director of KAEE. “Encouraging participation in this survey among Kentucky educators was crucial, and now we find it equally important to analyze the results and strategize.”

To access detailed findings from the analysis, including the dashboard, visit the KAEE Landscape Analysis website.