Introduction One of the most pressing needs in today's world is wise decision making on issues concerning the environment. The best insurance for good decision making is good education about the environment. This needs to be done not in a piecemeal or fragmented approach, but rather in a comprehensive program which exposes students to the inter-relatedness of all parts of the environment: biotic, abiotic, human and non-human. Issues related to the environment and natural resources dominate both the electronic and print media in Wyoming and the West, with special interest groups constantly lobbying for their point of view. This makes it imperative for our decision makers as well as the general public to be well prepared to make decisions which will have long term implications on the environment and our quality of life. In fact, when the Wyoming Game & Fish Department held a series of community meetings throughout the state (Wildlife 2010) in 1993, asking for public input on what action that department should take as they look ahead toward the year 2010, the overwhelming response was a call for more environmental education.
There are many fine programs available today in environmental education for teachers to use, but most address only limited pieces of the environment such as wildlife, water, energy, or forests. They do not present a comprehensive view of the environment, and most are not being disseminated in a way that produces the largest impact in reaching our future decision makers. In Wyoming for example, most school districts have outcomes of accomplishment for students regarding conservation/environmental education, but they do not have a prescribed curriculum and teachers are not required to prepare to teach about natural resources, their use and conservation. In 1997 there are only three states: Delaware, Arizona, and Wisconsin, that even require teachers to study about natural resources conservation in becoming certified to teach in the public schools. Yet, what is more basic to the future of our quality of life and the quality of the environment than understanding our natural resources?
Some of the fine programs presently available are Project Wild, which focuses primarily on wildlife, Project Learning Tree, which focuses primarily on forests. Project WET, which focuses primarily on water, and others. The need exists for a holistic program which ties together these individual programs which center around specific pieces of the environment because, after all, the parts of the environment are inextricably inter-related and must be considered in the context of the larger whole. This is where the Statewide Integrated Conservtion Program, and its curriculum. Wild, Wonderful, Wyoming: Choices for the Future, fits in.
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