What is environmental education?

One way to improve the world’s many environmental problems is to educate people. Sure, you might think that you’re pretty clued up on recycling; you might go everywhere on your bike and you might always try to use as little toilet paper as possible.

However, you can probably always learn a bit more about the environment and how you can reduce your personal impact on it. This is where environmental education officers come out of the bushes and earn their money!

What do environmental education officers do?

Essentially, people that work in the world of environmental education teach people about the environment and help them to understand the issues facing the natural world. The ultimate aim of this is to help people alter their actions and reduce their detrimental impact on the environment. These guys tend to be employed by government organisations, NGOs and environmental charities.

Environmental education officers might make school visits, where they’ll be leading interactive workshops for children and teaching formal lessons in classrooms.

However, these guys are not your average classroom teachers and tend to teach lessons in the great outdoors too. For instance, many environmental education officers might lead guided walks around parkland, rural areas, animal sanctuaries and nature reserves, teaching members of the public about specific habitats and the environmental factors affecting them.

The friendly characters that work in environmental education may also give presentations or talks at environmental conferences or events. Indeed, many environmental educators have responsibilities that focus on publicity and raising awareness of environmental problems. For instance, they might distribute environmental advice leaflets and other educational materials.

If you want to work as an environmental education officer, you may find opportunities to work abroad. Many environmental charities have a global reach and you may get the chance to help educate local communities in less economically developed countries that are unaware of issues affecting their local ecosystems. Similarly, you might get the chance to lead similar community projects across the UK.

What do I need to be an environmental education officer?

To work in environmental education, you won’t necessarily need to gain official teaching qualifications. However, a strong academic background in environmental sciences and plenty of work experience in conservation and other environmental volunteering roles will give your career prospects a welcome boost.

A university education isn’t necessary; however, some major organisations, such as Natural England or the National Trust, might require you to have a relevant degree.

Not only will you need a good knowledge of environmental science, but you will need to be an awesome communicator who is passionate, engaging and able to build a rapport with students.

Moreover, if you are working out in the field, you may need extensive health and safety training. After all, you’ll need to know what to do if someone gets injured by a falling stick while you are pointing out forest fire damage!

If you fancy teaching with a twist and you’re passionate about the environment, a career in environmental education could be the one for you!

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