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Office of Environmental Education

The environmental education section of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs in the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality was established to increase environmental literacy and natural resource stewardship in North Carolina by encouraging, promoting and supporting environmental education programs, facilities and resources throughout the state.

The office was established in 1993 under Governor Martin’s administration to balance the department’s regulatory functions with a commitment to environmental literacy and environmental education outreach. Based on recommendations from the 1990 DENR Environmental Education Team, the office was created to serve as North Carolina’s clearinghouse, or central source, for all of the environmental education resources in the state. The office’s mission has remained one of identifying, leveraging and facilitating existing environmental education resources for the public good.

The office manages a nationally recognized professional development program that certifies educators in environmental education. The N.C. Environmental Educator Certification Program provides enrollees with outdoor teaching skills, science and nature content knowledge and environmental education methods. The program is widely recognized as a credential for hiring purposes across the state, and many enrollees credit the program with advancing their careers. The program has certified more than 1,000 individuals and there are currently more than 1,000 people enrolled in the program.

The office serves as a liaison to the Department of Public Instruction to ensure that environmental and related science content is integrated into the Common Core State and N.C. Essential Standards. We also work with DPI to connect teachers with the many workshops, field trips, materials and other nonformal educational opportunities offered through city, county, state and private science and environmental education facilities throughout the state. Many classroom teachers take advantage our N.C. Environmental Educator Certification Program, the N.C. River Basin publications and the multitude of resources and professional development opportunities identified and promoted by our office.

The office website and email listserv serve as the main hub for environmental education and related outdoor education jobs in North Carolina. Both employers and job-seekers depend on the service, and many credit the office for finding quality employees and career opportunities. The EE Jobs page averages 20-25 listings for full-time and part-time jobs and internships per month. In 2014, the individual job listings were viewed a total of 76,000 times.

The office has a long tradition of customer service for our constituents. Our goal is to connect all citizens of the state with the multitude of environmental education resources that are available—from the classroom teacher who needs support for a science lesson, to the family looking for a fun, educational outing to the nonformal educator in need of professional development.

The N.C. Environmental Educator Certification Program is a true grassroots, capacity building program in that it draws its credits from quality educational experiences that are provided by the many parks, museums and nature centers across the state. This encourages increased visitation to these sites, increased participation in their programs and a greater awareness of the many natural and educational attractions in North Carolina.

We are a key partner in a 10-state consortium that has developed an interactive, web-based database that allows us to share resources and opportunities. This has allowed us to greatly increase capacity for environmental education in North Carolina and allows us to share many more grants, resources and job opportunities with the people of the state.


The mission of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education is to encourage, support and promote environmental education programs, facilities and resources in North Carolina for the purpose of improving the public’s environmental literacy and stewardship of natural resources through planning, policy development, community involvement, innovative partnerships and collaboration.

Why Environmental Education?

In the classroom and beyond, the desired outcome of environmental education is environmental literacy. People who are environmentally literate understand how natural systems function and how humans and the environment are intertwined. To that end, environmental education strives to provide learners with sound scientific information and the vital skills of problem solving, critical thinking and decision-making. At one time or another, individuals will be compelled to address and solve complex environmental problems affecting the economy, public health or shared natural resources. Environmental education provides the necessary tools.

History of Environmental Education in North Carolina

Enabling Legislation, The Environmental Education Act of 1993

Past Accomplishments

North Carolina's Master Plan for Environmental Education


Comments about our services...

I just discovered the EE site's grants page, and I am blown away--it's an amazing list, all relevant for North Carolina nonprofits.... Having sifted through other lists of grants to discover they weren't applicable for us or no longer in operation, your list is a mother lode of information. Thank you so much!

The day I completed my N.C. Environmental Education Certification, I gave a jubilant shout of praise for the fun I had, the good people I met, the essential skills I learned and the places I hope it will take me in the future, because this is just the beginning.

If I had not seen the listing for my current position on the EE listserv email, I would have never even known about the job. Now I am serving in the job of my dreams, the one I hope to retire in, and I owe so much to the Office of Environmental Education for this privilege. The Office has immeasurable value in my eyes but the jobs listing and listservs are definitely two of their biggest strengths. Thank you so very much for all you do!

I didn’t discover environmental education until I was a graduate student, and earning my N.C. Environmental Education Certification confirmed that I had chosen the right field.

When we have a program at our environmental education center that is not "filling up," we post it on the NC-EE listserv and it is often filled in 24 hours. Much faster than sending a public service announcement to the local news agencies. And more effective in reaching the folks who would be interested in our programming.

I use the [Office of Environmental Education N.C. River Basins] materials every semester with my [high school] classes and find them invaluable for teaching the concept of watersheds and the environmental issues within them.

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm now employed in Wake County as an environmental education program aide, a position I found listed on the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs website. Thank you and everyone else involved for curating such a wonderful resource.

The N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program helped me learn how to communicate about important environmental topics with people of all ages. I completed my certification while still in college and I fell in love with environmental education, which is why I have the job I do today.

Let me emphasize that it has been wonderful to have [the N.C. River Basins materials as] a resource since our [middle school] science text (old as they are) do not cover the needed material for our water unit. Thanks again!”

Thanks so much for maintaining your site. I found my current position with a state park on this posting board as well as a previous position I held at non-profit environmental education center. I would be less employed without your work!

Going through the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program has renewed my curiosity and thirst for knowledge about our environment. I'm grateful the program was a requirement for my employment.... The program has increased my tool bag, giving me the opportunity to feel comfortable teaching and leading activities on any environmental subject.

I could not even imagine trying to advertise our workshops and summer teacher academies without the NC-EE listerv.