College of Education to offer new bachelor’s degree in environmental education in fall ‘24

For those who are passionate about the environment, the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Education will begin in fall 2024, and offer immersive, hands-on learning experiences to lead a new generation to a more sustainable future, while exploring the interconnectivity of the world.

The program prepares students for professional careers in non-formal educational settings, such as nature centers, zoos, aquariums, parks, as well as higher education, and governmental policy entities. Using knowledge across scientific content, students will develop strategies and become empowered to lead actions that increase access to healthy environments.

Developed by Sara Sweetman, associate professor of elementary and environmental education, the program works across three pillars – interdisciplinary content knowledge, pedagogies and programming, and environmental justice and advocacy – to engage students in natural and designed environments.

“An environmental education degree program is just what Rhode Island needs to meet the changing and urgent demands of our state. Classroom teachers, municipal officials, business owners, and so many others are increasingly seeking expertise and guidance to prepare students of all ages with the skills and knowledge to address environmental challenges,” said Jeanine Silversmith, executive director of the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association.

The program also partners with local environmental education agencies around the state.

“Our robust network of program providers is constantly seeking qualified and passionate nonformal environmental educators to help us embrace our growing green economy, take individual and collective action towards addressing environmental challenges, access and reap the many benefits of time in nature, and be civically engaged with climate and environmental policies,” added Silversmith.

The degree will also provide pathways for graduate degrees in master’s level science programs such as URI’s Master of Environmental Science and Management or into the Master of Arts with Teacher Certification program.