What is BEETLES?
A collection of passionate science and environmental educators devoted to improving the quality of outdoor science education.
BEETLES (Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing) is devoted to creating:
- versatile environmental education professional learning materials;
- student activities for use in the field;
- a collaborative, resource-sharing network of environmental educators; and
- additional resources for field instructors, leaders, and classroom teachers.
All BEETLES resources are based on current research and understandings about how people learn, and tested by dozens of programs in diverse settings all over the country (and beyond!). Although BEETLES materials have been designed for residential outdoor science schools, they’ve been snatched up and used successfully in a wide variety of outdoor science education settings.
BEETLES has the following beliefs, ideas, and values:
- All students deserve consistent opportunities to develop environmental literacy and build meaningful connections to nature by participating in educational programs, spending time in wild spaces, and connecting to the natural places within their own communities.
- Outdoor science learning can and does occur in a broad range of environment-rich contexts, including, but not limited to: environmental education; environmental justice; social and emotional learning; nutrition, health, and wellness education; transportation initiatives; food justice; and clean water and air rights.
- Outdoor science programs are powerful, often transformative experiences for students.
- By “thinking like a scientist,” students are empowered to use tools and practices of science to explore, wonder, connect to, and think about nature wherever there’s a patch of green in their world.
- There is potential to increase the quality and impact of outdoor science education.
- Outdoor science instructors and program leaders deserve resources designed specifically for the work they do, to help them be deliberate, reflective, and effective educators and leaders.
BEETLES is one of many programs at the Lawrence Hall of Science (the Hall), a public science center created in 1968 as part of the University of California at Berkeley. The mission of the Hall is to inspire and foster learning of science and mathematics for all, especially those who have limited access to science. The Hall is a science education “think tank” that specializes in taking the latest research in science education and translating it into practical and well-tested materials for educators. Other Hall projects you may have heard of include: FOSS, GEMS, OBIS, MARE, SEPUP, Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading, Amplify, EQUALS, EBAYS, AfterSchool Kidzscience, and many more. We estimate those materials reach about one-fourth of students in the United States. Learn more at lawrencehallofscience.org.
BEETLES was created with the generous support of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and has received additional support from The Dean Witter Foundation, the Mary A. Crocker Trust, the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, and the Pisces Foundation.