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An Environmental Collaborative
The Ocean State Environmental Education Collaborative (OSEEC) is a strategic effort by Rhode Island's leading environmental organizations to improve environmental literacy among students statewide, especially in the state's most underserved schools and urban core cities. AmeriCorps members with science and education degrees will teach environmental-based science in school, after school and in the field. Members introduce children to the natural environment and help cultivate age appropriate environmentally- literate, active citizens.
Through this unique partnership, OSEEC’s AmeriCorps members teach thousands of underprivileged and underperforming students with no- and low-cost environmental education programs in schools and community afterschool programs. Since 2004, members have delivered 4,523 hands-on, field-based science programs, reaching 139,109 students in Rhode Island’s urban communities (2013).
Reduced state and federal funding have left the state’s urban schools with extremely limited resources. Field-based science programs have been eliminated in many core city schools, leaving urban students with little or no inquiry-based science instruction. Research conducted by the State Education and Environment Roundtable indicates that the benefits of hands-on education programs include better performance on standardized tests, increased self esteem, reduced discipline problems, increased enthusiasm for learning and greater pride and ownership in accomplishments. Given the huge gap in Rhode Island’s science test scores between urban and non-urban students, quality environmental education programs such as those provided by OSEEC are especially critical.
The OSEEC AmeriCorps Program is a long-term commitment to community-centered education as a vehicle to promote science, connect children to their natural environment, and cultivate environmentally-literate, active citizens.
OSEEC’s 16 AmeriCorps members serve one year equal to 1700 hours. Members train as environmental educators and provide environmental education programs statewide, especially in the state's most underserved schools and communities.
"Environmental education is vital because today's children will be tomorrow's environmental stewards and advocates. Children that are exposed to the natural world will develop a better understanding of it and understanding leads to greater appreciation. As members of the Ocean State Environmental Education Collaborative, we have the opportunity to expose thousands of students to the natural world each year, many of which would otherwise never have this opportunity. We pursue this work because children are the future of our planet." ~ AmeriCorps Member, September 2013
“I’m a firm believer that a connection with nature helps shape children into well-rounded individuals. Many of the students that we AmeriCorps members teach would never have these environmental education opportunities if not for us, especially those who live in the underserved communities in our state. The more children know about our local environment and the problems that face them, the better off we will be as a society in the future.” ~ AmeriCorps Member, August 2009