While this reflection is in part a journal for myself, I also hope it provides valuable insight into a Masters in Environmental Education for others interested in pursuing those endeavors.
In 2019, I became a mentor for National Geographic’s Educator Certification. I loved getting to meet educators from around the world, and helping them create innovative lessons that incorporated many scales, perspectives, and attitudes. Teaching the teachers was a great way for me to have a larger impact on the next generation! Then, in early 2022, I started teaching two courses through Delaware Valley University’s Center for Learning in Retirement. I have always loved teaching adults about the natural world, and this seemed like a great opportunity to teach more formally. I immediately fell in love with it and decided that I wanted to combine my passion for teaching the teachers with my newfound love for more formal (yet still hands-on and engaging!) education.
This spurred me to pursue my Masters in Environmental Education through Slippery Rock University so that I can teach Environmental Education on the college level. I would love to create an Environmental Education program at a college or university! My program would teach future educators how to gain hands-on experience with educating others using inquiry-based scientific education, writing curriculum, exploring the various facets beyond teaching that are usually required in the non-profit or environmental education field (marketing, graphic design, volunteer coordination, landscape interpretation, social science, property management, grant writing, fundraising, etc…), and discovering how to read the landscape as a naturalist.
While I have these grand plans for what will come after I graduate, I didn’t quite know what to expect out of my first semester in grad school. I have to admit, it was an emotional roller coaster. It was time consuming and stressful, especially since I was trying to still work through The Art of Ecology, and move to a new area at the same time! However, I learned so much and am able to look back at how far I have come just within the past 3 months.
Social Science Research Methods for Conservation course improved my critical thinking and analytical skills as I created a full Research Proposal Portfolio. Environmental Grant Writing class honed my grant writing skills and I found some new grant databases. Terrestrial Ecosystems course gave me new resources for environmental educators (including a super cool bark book to my field guide collection) and I started thinking of new ethnobotanical units that focused on threatened systems that I could implement in my own programming.
Interested in seeing some of my work from the courses or want to get an idea of what you might have to do if you pursue a Masters in Environmental Education? Click below to see a selection of my final projects.
Next semester starts in mid-January. I will be taking Wildlife Education, Environmental Education (both of those should be relatively easy for me since those are what I do on a daily basis), and Environmental Issues. It’s an interesting line up and I look forward to discovering new teaching techniques, cool wildlife facts, and gaining new skills.
One of my concerns though is with the financial implications of going to school. Degrees aren’t cheap and I have had to severely cut back on my working hours through The Art of Ecology. Support via event registration (for the few programs I am running), on my Patreon, Podcast, and in the shop support my ability to not only put out new educational content both in-person and virtually, but it also helps to ease some of the stress that comes with school loans.
Your support goes a long way, especially at this time! As always, a portion of the proceeds still benefits wildlife conservation and habitat preservation efforts – it also helps my family be able to pay these extra bills too. Thank you so much for any support you can give – whether by attending a program, purchasing some stickers and merch, or by sharing my content with others! You are appreciated.