Building Career Connected Pathways in Environmental Education
Students all around Whatcom County experience various field trips that support their exploration of their natural spaces. From picking apples at Bellewood Farms, releasing salmon into a nearby stream, eradicating ivy and blackberry patches, and creating artwork out of leaves and sticks, kids in Whatcom County get their first introduction to environmental education at a pretty young age.
While they are engaging in these field trips, they are also learning about the various jobs and community organizations that are behind the salmon releasing, the apple picking and the blackberry and ivy removal that they do in their nearby city park. All of these foundational experiences build a web of possibilities in future careers for the youth in Whatcom County.
Career Connect WA has built up an effort in Washington state to identify and support the building of career connected pathways. These pathways are designed with the goal of launching every student in Washington state into college and a career.
Environmental and sustainability education is an emergent pathway that the coalition is continuing to drive forward. By building upon the exposure that youth already have at a young age to the broader field of environmental education, we are supporting students in finding careers in this field through paid internships and pathway connections to higher and continuing education opportunities.
Our local ecosystems are dependent upon a continuing generation that is more inclusive, connected, humble, and understanding of their place in the ecosystem. These qualities in our future generation are built by running through an apple orchard, ripping out ivy and planting a snowberry in it's place, and finding dead, downed, and detached items to make nature art. Most importantly, we must include all youth in these experiences to build that strong foundation of connection with the natural world.
If you'd like to find out more about Career Connect WA and their funding opportunities to support this work, visit their website at https://careerconnectwa.org/ .