2017 Innovative Environmental Education Program Award - TREE Semester

TREE Semester

Colorado College & Catamount Center


The Teaching and Research in Environmental Education (TREE) Semester, a partnership between the Colorado College Education Department and the Catamount Center for Environmental Science & Education, is a 16-week, residential semester program that mirrors the traditional study abroad experience. Undergraduate students live and learn in community at the scenic Catamount Mountain Camps in the montane forest outside Woodland Park, Colorado. The TREE Semester is for students of all academic interests, but is specifically designed for those interested in exploring both environmental and educational fields. These scholars cultivate their own and their K-12 students’ conceptions of environmental stewardship and respect for the natural world. Where traditional programs provide only limited teaching opportunities, the TREE Semester allows undergraduates to learn about their students’ development through almost 100 hours of experiential teaching. Undergraduate students learn by simultaneously teaching and researching how K-12 students develop. The TREE Semester educational research informs its teaching approaches and its teaching approaches inform its research in a cycle of virtuous learning.

In 2017, the TREE Semester applied for and was chosen as an NAAEE distinguished program for environmental education, one of only 8 program in the United States, and the only program in Colorado. In 2015 and 2016, the TREE Semester accounted for five CAEE master certified environmental educators and 11 CAEE certified environmental educators. The undergraduate students who complete this program are prepared for, and destined to be future leaders in the field of environmental education.

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

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phone: 303-273-9527
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