BUILDING CAPACITY: MORE THAN TWO DECADES OF TRAINING
U.S. EPA's Office of Environmental Education established the Environmental Education and Training Program as provided for under Section 5 of the National Environmental Education Act (1990). U.S. EPA initiated the program in 1992 with a three-year cooperative agreement to a consortium of universities and nonprofit organizations headed by the University of Michigan titled the National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training (NCEET). Under this phase of the program, the consortium supported K-12 in-service teacher training by developing resource materials, establishing an electronic database of EE information and materials and conducting training workshops.
In September 1995, EPA initiated a second phase of the program with an award to the North American Association of Environmental Education. The consortium built upon the work initiated by the University of Michigan. The program focused on delivering training to education professionals through existing programs; improving access to quality EE materials by expanding linkages between databases, developing and disseminating the Guidelines for Excellence; and sustaining long-term training efforts by strengthening partnerships and building capacity to deliver comprehensive EE programs at the state and local level. This program was called the Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP).
The award to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in September 2000 was the third phase of U.S. EPA's EE and Training Program. This phase focused on educator training, strategic initiatives such as the National Guidelines for Excellence in EE, accreditation, certification, and continuation and enhancement of efforts such as EE-Link. This program was called the Second Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP2).
The fourth phase of the National EE and Training Program was awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2005 and is known as the Third Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP3). Phase four continued educator training, EE-Link, and strategic initiatives started underEETAP2. In addition, new initiatives to work with tribal communities and conservation practitioners were added.
In 2011, U.S. EPA awarded the fifth phase of its National Training Program known as the Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education (EECapacity) project to Cornell University's Civic Ecology Lab.