An Evaluation of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center Education Program Purpose

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An Evaluation of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center Education Program Purpose

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The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE, 2010) and Minnesota GreenPrint (2008) recognize that environmental education centers (EEC) play an important role in contributing to the need for environmental education in Minnesota as well as nationally. In order to improve the field of environmental education there is a need to evaluate EECs based on their program goals, outcomes and mission statements (Diamond, 1999; Ernst, Monroe and Simmons, 2000; Wiltz, 2001). This study served as a program evaluation of an EEC in Northeastern Minnesota. Based on set criteria, the field site selected was the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (WRELC). The WRELC education program mission was evaluated against all four strands of the NAAEE Guidelines for Learning (K-12). Interviews were conducted and supporting written documents collected. Using a purposeful sampling technique, interviewees included administration (Assistant Director and Executive Director), program staff (Director of Naturalist Training and Curriculum Support), and 9-Month Interns (4 Student Naturalists and 2 Apprentice Naturalists). 100% (n=6) of the WRELC staff positions interviewed showed consistent understanding and purpose of Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills and Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems being key education program components. 83% (n=6) of WRELC staff positions indicated that Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues and Strand 4: Personal and Civic Responsibility were not a part of program purpose. These findings were supported by the WRELC written documents collected including the WRELC curriculum framework and the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center Environmental Educator Literacy Competencies Manual.


Field Project Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Master of Education in Environmental Education in the College of Education and Human Service Professions, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2011. Committee names: Ken Gilbertson (Chair), Melissa Walls, Jill Torres. This item has been modified from the original to redact the signatures present.

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University of Minnesota Duluth. College of Education and Human Service Professions

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Bishop, Benjamin P. (2011). An Evaluation of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center Education Program Purpose. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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