This month we are celebrating 25 years of Environmental Education! This is an exciting time to honor the progress we have made in environmental education, resources, and information while looking forward to what is to come and what we can accomplish in the future. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has an abundance of resources throughout our website to invite learners of all ages to participate in environmental education.
Frick Environmental Center
The Frick Environmental Center—an important part of Pittsburgh’s parks and integral to environmental education efforts of the Conservancy. Not only is this a “welcome facility, education hub, and gateway to Frick Park,” but it is alive! The Frick Environmental Center is a certified living building upon its completion of the Living Building Challenge in 2016. It is also LEED Platinum (certified in 2018) and a perfect place to learn about Pittsburgh’s park system and environmental conservation.
A plethora of programs are offered through the Frick Environmental Center for students of all ages and grades. There is no such thing as too young to begin learning about our environment, or too old to continue a fun and educational journey about the natural world. We even offer an opportunity for high school aged students to work their way up to a paid internship through the Young Naturalist program where enthusiastic students can exercise their leadership skills and gain hands-on experience with environmental, STEM, sustainability, and other related majors. [Click here to sign up for one of our environmental education programs offered at FEC: https://pittsburghparks.org/education-programs/]
The Frick Environmental Center and the dedicated educators that run the programs extend the curriculum outside of the traditional classroom setting. Exploration and true immersive hands-on learning allow a connection with the natural world where students can identify natural processes and experience what the environment has to offer. As students get older, the programs become more independent and drive them to think critically about the natural world, developing important observational, explorational, and leadership skills.
In a building that earned tons of awards and recognition for its environmental efforts in sustainable architecture, green buildings, leadership, and sustainability, the Frick Environmental Center is a perfect place to learn and grow in an environmentally conscious way.
Community and Family Programs
Environmental Education is all about exploration, curiosity, and adventure. The best way to learn about the environment is to be in it! Our community and family events page focus on just that—a learning experience in the outdoors (https://pittsburghparks.org/programs/community-and-family-education-programs/). Check out the community events calendar for programs the Conservancy hosts in several of your wonderful parks. You can also become an “EcoSteward” and participate in hands-on volunteer work to take care of an area you are assigned to and maintain the natural beauty of your community. There are annual events offered including Earth Day programs and fall-themed nighttime learning experiences for young children and young teens. These events are perfect to attend with family and friends for an enjoyable time while also incorporating environmental education and awareness. Participating in events and volunteer opportunities is an excellent way to immerse yourself in discovering the intricacies of ecosystems and gain a greater appreciation for the natural world.
Learn Explore Grow
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in its creation values environmental education and sharing this information to children and adults alike. Constantly learning and improving the way we interact and protect our world is one of the most important things we can do to share environmental protection efforts and environmental information with this generation and future ones. Including young students in a learning experience related to the environment is imperative to creating an environmentally conscious society. Not only is it fun, exciting, and interesting to discover nature and everything it has to offer us, but we are teaching our children and young learners to value and appreciate the environment.
The curiosity we have as humans is constantly fulfilled by seeking answers in nature. Observing how the natural world operates can provide us with a sense of belonging and wonder. Patience and consideration. Community and teamwork. Leadership and inclusivity. There is a lot that nature has to say, and we just need to take the time to listen.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy encourages everyone to learn, explore, and grow.
Angela Moriarity - Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Intern