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Ways to expand rural environmental education

Environmental changes, including major geophysical, climatic, and socioeconomic challenges, are contemporary challenges that society must deal with. Numerous environmental problems have been ongoing. Each and every member of society must comprehend and be informed about the current state of environmental issues in order to be fully aware of the issues and to know what is going on within them. 


In order to address environmental problems, it is imperative to broaden rural environmental education in order to foster sustainability, conservation, and a more comprehensive global perspective. Furthermore, some studies claim that young people are among the most important demographics impacted by the harmful effects of environmental degradation, both now and in the future. Creating opportunities for education and training would have helped prepare the younger generations to face the environment and make necessary changes.


A program that extends the rural environment could be created to help school-age youth with their literacy, attitudes, skills, and behavior. Curriculum for environmental education can be applied at different levels of education systems by integrating it with the principles of sustainable development goals. Environmental values and raising younger generations' awareness of environmental issues are also taught through non-formal learning techniques utilized by civil society organizations.  Furthermore, previous research has shown that involving young people in experiences and activities in real-world settings can raise their ecological knowledge, environmental participation, and values related to sustainability and conservation of the natural environment. 


In order to extend the knowledge and awareness to the rural areas, there are ways to expand rural environmental education programmes such as, 


  1. Merge in with Non Formal learning methods.

These teaching strategies can be implemented in various villages to fit in with the customs and activities, offering a vibrant and captivating learning environment that piques students' curiosity.


  1. Outdoor learning activities

Establish outdoor learning areas in rural communities, such as eco-parks, community gardens, and natural areas. These areas offer hands-on environmental experience in addition to being centers of education.


  1. Curriculum integration

Younger people in rural areas will find it easier to integrate their terms and culture if local educational institutions collaborate with them. A curriculum that is interactive and appropriate for the customs and traditions of the local educational institutions could be created.


Expanding rural residents' access to environmental education is necessary to create communities that are resilient and sustainable. By incorporating outdoor learning experiences, experiential learning opportunities, and non-formal learning methods, we can empower rural populations to assume the role of stewards of their natural resources. 


Sources

Silva IS, Cunha-Saraiva F, Ribeiro AS, Bártolo A. Exploring the Acceptability of an Environmental Education Program for Youth in Rural Areas: ECOCIDADANIA Project. Education Sciences. 2023; 13(10):982. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13100982 


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