Agency Needs Assessment - 2017

This survey was conducted in July 2017 and it was completed by 84 individuals that work in the environmental and energy education field. The needs assessment asked questions about their current programs and about climate change education.

Key Findings

  • 43% of respondents incorporate climate change into their programs
  • 31% of respondents do not incorporate climate change into their programs
  • 26% of respondents felt they incorporated climate change to some extent

 

Climate change was not incorporated into programs because:

  • We don't know how to do it in a hands-on, engaging way
  • We don't have the time or funding to incorporate this topic in a meaningful way
  • It doesn't apply to our programs

 

What do you need to effectively incorporate climate change into your programs?

  • Tools and techniques for effectively engaging our audience on this topic
  • Best practices for climate change education and outreach
  • Connections with other educators to learn best how to do this

 

More results are summarized below. If you have any questions, please contact Christina Pickles - christina[at]abcee.org. We also conducted a survey with Alberta teachers, access the results here.

Click on the topics below to see specific summaries of results. You can also click on any of the graphs to enlarge them.

About the respondents and their programs

  • There was fairly even distribution of responses from various organizations - provincial and municipal government, charities and non-profits, and schools.
  • The majority of respondents indicated elementary students as their main audience, followed by adults.
  • 63% of respondents indicated an increase in demand for their programs and only 46% said they can meet the demand.
  • Close to half of the programs reach 0 to 500 people each year, with 80% of respondents accomplishing this with less than 5 staff.
  • Close to 50% of the responses indicated they are not working with volunteers to deliver their environmental education and outreach initiatives.

 

 

Topic focus of the environmental and energy education and outreach programs

  • From the respondents, the most commonly addressed topics in environmental education and outreach are: nature connections, water, wildlife and conservation.

Barriers encountered in their work

  • The top two barriers that respondents identified are time to develop new programs and lack of funding for programs.

Percentage of organizations incorporating climate change education and reasons why not

  • 43% of respondents indicated they are incorporating climate change into their programs, with 31% indicating they are not
  • Main reasons they are not incorporating climate change are:
    • We don't know how to incorporate this in a hands-on, engaging way
    • We don't have the time or funding to incorporate this in a meaningful way
    • Other
    • Doesn't apply to our programs

Organization's needs for incorporating climate change information and programs

  • The respondent's indicated the following as their top three needs:
    • best practices for climate change education and outreach
    • connections with other educators to learn best how to do this
    • access to climate experts to learn from

Suggestions for best practices for climate change education and outreach - open-ended responses

  • The respondents were asked to identify their thoughts on best practices for climate change education and outreach. The open-ended responses were reviewed and although a few themes were identified there were many different ideas. The most common best practices identified are:
    • avoid doom and gloom - focus on solutions and empowerment
    • experiential and hands-on learning is preferred
    • working directly with climate change experts

Organization's biggest questions for incorporating climate change education - open-ended responses

  • The respondents were asked to identify their biggest questions for incorporating climate change into their environmental education programs. The open-ended responses were reviewed and although a few themes were identified there were many unique responses. The most common themes were:
    • How to not make it overwhelming, hopeless and negative but not diluting the severity
    • What are meaningful actions for kids/youth
    • How to make it engaging and hands-on
    • Does stormwater education, waste diversion (recycling), water conservation, paddling, ecosystems and wetland protection count as part of climate change education