The PEEC Story
Efforts to develop South Carolina’s first environmental education (EE) certification program began in 2013 under the direction of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium.
Information gleaned from a state-wide survey and focus group meetings provided the foundation for the Consortium to form a 14-member steering committee comprised of classroom teachers, nonformal educators, eco-tourism staff, and college professors from across the different regions of South Carolina.
With funding support from the Consortium, the North American Association for Environmental Education and the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation, the steering committee successfully developed and piloted PEEC’s structure and content.
Currently, the Consortium coordinates the PEEC program and steering committee efforts in partnership with numerous organizations across the state.
Framing the PEEC program are the following vision, mission, and objectives:
The PEEC Vision: Advancing professional environmental education in South Carolina
The PEEC Mission: Foster and empower a professional environmental education network to promote environmental literacy in South Carolina
The PEEC Program Goals:
- Develop a community of educators skilled in effective communication related to environmental topics
- Professionalize the career field of environmental education in South Carolina
- Train educators who are representative of the diverse communities and regions within the state
- Elevate the understanding about environmental science, issues, and impacts related to the state, nation, and world
The Development of PEEC
A needs assessment for a South Carolina environmental education (EE) certification program was distributed by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium to formal and non-formal educators across the state. Of the 153 responses, more than 95% indicated a strong interest and need for an EE certification program to be developed for South Carolina. Following the needs assessment, two focus groups were held to discuss, in more detail, the creation of a South Carolina EE certification program.
A 15 person steering committee composed of S.C. educators and led by the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium reviewed feedback from focus groups and began work to develop the Palmetto Environmental Education Certification (PEEC) program. PEEC’s program mission is to foster and empower a professional environmental education network to promote environmental literacy in South Carolina.
In August the PEEC pilot program was launched with 14 participants from across the state. The pilot program was condensed into nine months with all participants completing successfully.
PEEC will officially open registration for the first full course in September 2018 for a maximum of 20 educators. The course will officially begin in January 2019 and end in August 2020.