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Environmental Education Program Directors

The Job

Environmental education program directors create and oversee programs of study that focus on environmental topics, which can relate to animals, plants, land, water, conservation, and natural resources. They work in education departments of museums, conservation and nature centers, parks, zoos, aquariums, or public schools, private schools, colleges, and universities. Their work usually involves hiring and managing educators; researching and creating curriculum for classes, workshops, lectures, and conferences; preparing educational program budgets; and handling other aspects of business if the organization that they work for is small or understaffed. For instance, larger organizations may have dedicated staff to handle everything from enrollment to marketing and promotion. Program directors for small schools or programs may have these tasks added to their job responsibilities.

Most educational program directors have teaching backgrounds. Prior experience in the education field helps them determine the subject matter, the reading and study materials, assignments, and teaching styles that are appropriate for the intended audience, which, for example, will be students if they work for a school, or members if they work for a nonprofit organization. Many directors also have prior work experience as professionals in the field, such as wildlife scientists, biologists, botanists, green architects, climatologists, or sustainability consultants.

Program directors may also work for education centers that provide educational resources to schools. A typical center might help schools, nonprofit organizations, and community centers create environmental curriculum that teaches sustainability, climate change, and related issues. Workers at the center may also create exhibits and interactive and interpretive displays.

Education program directors may own and run the educational organization as well as manage the educational programs. In addition to creating curriculum, managing teachers, and possibly teaching, program directors may also organize and manage internship and volunteer programs.

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