​K-12 Land Use Education

Creative Land Use Series for Teachers and Educator Resources (CLUSTER)

Teaching for the Future

Land use environmental education is aimed at developing an understanding of the relationship between land use decisions and the environment, along with the realization that the way in which land is used directly affects the environment. The ultimate goal of CLUSTER, a Creative Land Use Series for Teachers and Educator Resources, is to make resources, lessons, and materials readily available to teach K-12 land use environmental education. The project aims to assist in the education of the next generation in order to produce thoughtful, engaged citizens that will see the connection between land use and the environment and will be compelled to act. Through this process we will generate a responsible citizenry that can make educated and sustainable, local and global decisions about future land use.
Social Studies is defined as, education aimed at helping young people develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed and reasoned decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world (Benson et al., 1998). This definition helps to draw off a key component that is shared by the definition of environmental education. Environmental Education shares the goal of developing knowledge and skills that lead to an informed and active citizenry. CLUSTER seeks to integrate social studies with environmental education. This integration will also promote the multidisciplinary nature of environmental education.


The CLUSTER project is being designed to provide educators with the training and resources they need to incorporate land use issues and topics into the existing curriculum. This project is also meant to give educators, both traditional and non-traditional, a primary resource to use, build, and create a more comprehensive land use curriculum. CLUSTER is a conceptual guide for K-12 land use environmental education in Wisconsin. This guide is accompanied by an on-line course that will provide both the necessary background information about land use, but also the resources and materials to begin the creation of their own land use lessons. The conceptual guide will contain the conceptual framework, suggested scope and sequence and along with a listing of available resources.     

The resource list will be similar to an annotated bibliography and offer educators a little background on the materials and how to locate them. This conceptual guide and on-line course can be an invaluable asset, especially to social studies teachers, because it shows how to work land use education into a social studies activity that will fulfill the mandatory compliance provided by the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. Until now there has been no complete validated framework or guide to assist educators in incorporating land use concepts into the curriculum. It is anticipated that CLUSTER will become a local, national and international framework for the continued development, educator training, and infusion of land use issues and concepts into K-12 educational institutions.


The Center for Land Use Education, CLUE, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point realized the need for a comprehensive land use education curriculum has been working towards this goal since 2001. In the fall of 2001, Dr. Anna Haines, assistant professor and extension specialist at CLUE, Heidi Hoover, a graduate student, and her committee began the process of developing a conceptual framework that was completed in the spring of 2003.     Then Dr. Haines and Rebecca Mattano, a graduate student, developed and validated the suggested scope and sequence. After that process was complete, CLUE invited a validity panel of 10-12 social studies and environmental education teachers from Wisconsin to edit and validate the draft. After the corrections and additions CLUSTER, the guide and course, was made available through CLUE in 2005. 


CLUE anticipates to maintain the CLUSTER project and extend the development of the series from a conceptual guide to a more comprehensive curriculum.

For more information or to get involved with this project contact Dr. Anna Haines, ahaines@uwsp.edu.