Even a young field like environmental education has deep roots. Some trace the origins of the field back to 18th century philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who felt that education should maintain a focus on the environment. The nature study movement of the early 1900s certainly influenced modern-day environmental education, as did the conservation education programs of the 1930s Dust Bowl era.
For some, the passage of the Tbilisi Declaration in 1977 is the seminal event that laid the foundation of the field of environmental education. For others, Tbilisi is remote history and the 1990 Environmental Education Act, which gave rise to the Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP), has more significance.
Whatever your place along the timeline, it is fascinating to review the many and varied events that have shaped environmental education and given the field its diverse, resilient, and inclusive nature. Click below to read a history of the field and a detailed environmental education timeline.