The state of ecology in the USA is not perfect. According to The Environmental Performance Index, America does not even enter the top 20 countries in terms of ecology. But this helped the United States to be the first to realize the main reason. It is a man who is the main factor in changing the environment. The United States, at the moment, is one of the leading fighters for its salvation. The concept of “environmental education” here is much wider than the diploma. It covers a whole layer of national culture, which begins with the “Junior Ranger” program or Auntie Litter org. and ends with world-famous organizations – Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Environmental Protection Fund.
Environmental education in US schools
Environmental education occupies an important place in the curriculum of American schools. Beginning from primary school, children are taught to respect the environment and try to create an environmental ethic. Pupils are often taken to the countryside, where they explore their homeland. Teachers acquaint them with the local flora and fauna, and, if possible, even with objects listed in the Red Book. For schoolchildren, they organize clean up day on which they collect garbage, feed animals, clean the banks of rivers and lakes, and learn how to use natural resources carefully.
Short-term environmental programs in the USA
In US schools, environmental classes are included in the curriculum, but there are environmental groups for students who are especially worried about this branch. As part of these courses, summer programs are organized. Courses last from a few weeks to 2 months. The children attend lectures on ecology, go to “field” work, participate in seminars, where they get acquainted with the rules of environmental protection in a manner of play.
Universities also offer short-term programs. One of the most famous is the Pathway preparatory program. It lasts one year and may have a different profile, including environmental. The training course consists of classes in English and optional subjects.
Environmental education at US universities
Ecology is an interdisciplinary subject. It is based on a combination of different natural sciences – biology, geography, chemistry, physics. It is also supplemented by knowledge of other specialties.
The first two years of undergraduate and first year of graduate studies are aimed at giving a general idea of environmental science and acquainting students with the basic principles and methods of work. Gradually, the course is complicated by highly specialized subjects corresponding to the selected faculty. Classes at US universities are divided into compulsory and optional. Recent students choose on their own based on their interests.
Learning to be an ecologist in America is impossible without participating in “field” work. Students explore different natural phenomena and formations, habitats, climatic zones; they take part in actions and social works, help defense organizations in solving specific problems. For this, students of environmental departments visit not only nearby territories but also different regions of the country and even the world.