Aquatic Stewardship Education in Theory and Practice

Citizen Science: Stewardship Education in Washington State

Margaret Tudor and Michael O’malley


Abstract.—Washington State has used education reform best practices to redesign stewardship education. The directors of state natural resource agencies, education associations, businesses, and nonprofits who created the Pacific Education Institute (PEI) provide the leadership. PEI represents a systematic effort to work in the formal education sector using environmental education (EE) standards that align with subject area standards and provide a framework for integrated learning. PEI undertakes education research based on those EE standards to understand student achievement and its relationship to environment- based experiential education. PEI has refined the description of science inquiry to include three types of field investigation with rigorous protocols that will be included in the state’s science tests beginning in 2007. Finally, PEI has fostered a citizen science initiative with NatureMapping to connect the research undertaken by students through field investigation to questions asked by scientists. In partnership, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expects citizen science to contribute to the statewide biodiversity index now being designed. Integral to delivering these opportunities to K– 12 is the university teacher preparation faculty and their work to prepare preservice teachers with these opportunities. The result is school districts now foster stewardship education, contributing to community sustainability.