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Who we are and what we do

The Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education strives to improve the environmental, social, and economic vitality of our communities. To achieve this, we develop and deliver teacher training and resources to enhance place-based, personally-relevant hands-on opportunities and career explorations that allow for meaningful learning experiences for all students.

After more than 30 years, the WCEE’s two programs continue to serve a role in bringing place-based curriculum, professional development, and hands-on experiences to educators and students throughout Wisconsin. To achieve our mission of sustainable human and natural communities in Wisconsin, our programs aim to support Wisconsin’s clean energy goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 and encourage the Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry’s mission of protecting and sustaining our forested lands.

Learn more about The Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education’s impact in our 4-Year Professional Development Evaluation.

Our History

In 1990, the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education (WCEE) was officially created under Wisconsin Legislative Act 299 and began programing to help Wisconsin’s K-12 educators integrate localized environmental education into their classrooms. This followed a decade of organic growth in environmental education and awareness within University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and throughout the state.

Learn more about WCEE’s early years (1990-2011) with this timeline highlighting major milestones!

Our Structure

The WCEE is housed within the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point. WCEE staff maintains a strong relationship with Environmental Education faculty in the college. WCEE staff provides pre-service trainings to students in the UW-Stevens Point School of Education teacher preparation program through the Introduction to Environmental Study and Education course. All WCEE staff members are active in the university community through service and scholarship.

The WCEE expands its capacity to work with schools throughout the state by building relationships with local organizations, individuals, and programs. These partners are essential to cultivating education for sustainability in Wisconsin. By coordinating statewide efforts, the WCEE can offer an anchor to help leverage resources to implement initiatives locally. One of the WCEE’s key indicators of success is the engagement and support of local partners.


The WCEE has developed long-term partnerships with specific entities to support topic-specific environmental literacy through the development of programs, resources, and professional development. The WCEE offers expertise in program development and coordination as well as an established relationship with K-12 educators in the state. Partnership programs within the WCEE include:

The WCEE’s structure provides the capacity to house programs or initiatives with a statewide reach. The WCEE offers stability to these entities by ensuring long-term support and continuity in resources and facilities. The staff members of these programs and initiatives are included as staff of the WCEE and UWSP. This facilitates greater communication among programs with similar goals of supporting environmental education in the state. Current programs and initiatives housed within the WCEE include:

Our Values

The Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education is committed to taking a critical, analytical look at the work we do around the state and the resources we provide to educators. We hope that you will join us in this challenging but rewarding work, and hold us accountable if you see that we are not living up to our commitment.

We are committed to:
  • An equitable approach to where and how we offer professional development
  • Critically reviewing our curriculum materials and working to ensure fair and accurate representations and narratives, reflective of all people and histories in our state
  • Working toward addressing the race-based gap that exists in safe, free access to green spaces for learning and recreation
  • Working to appreciate and include diverse ways of knowing about our world and thinking about the environment


Wisconsin’s K-12 Energy Education Program – KEEP

The Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) improves and increases energy literacy in Wisconsin through professional development, teaching tools, lessons and activities, and school site resources.

Some of KEEP’s Initiatives include:

  • Careers in Energy
  • Student Energy Engagement Opportunities
  • Energy Educator of the Year Award
  • Clean Energy For Schools

Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program – LEAF

The Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF) promotes forestry education in Wisconsin through professional development, teaching tools, curriculum, and support for outdoor learning spaces.

Some of LEAF’s Initiatives include:

  • School Forests
  • School Grounds
  • School Forest Awards
  • Project Learning Tree

Eco-Justice Resources

This collection of resources is by no means complete! We hope you will help us maintain this as a living collection-sharing resources you think would be a good addition, letting us know if a link is broken and providing feedback for how this might be more useful. If you have a resource to share or have feedback to help improve the collection, please contact us at

NAAEE – Their goal is to create an environment that is inclusive, respectful, and equitable and to employ the talents of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to accomplish the mission of NAAEE. View their growing list of resources on equity and anti-racism.

WAEE – WAEE has compiled a resource page to support individual and organizational efforts in increasing Eco-Justice impacts in the field of Environmental Education.

NAI – Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core to the mission of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), an organization dedicated to advancing the profession of culture, heritage, and nature interpretation. NAI has compiled a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resource page.

EENC – EENC represents a network of outstanding environmental educators, individuals, and organizations who work together to accomplish our core mission: to build connections, provide professional development, and promote excellence in environmental education. They have organized articles, research, videos, podcasts, books, people, and organizations from across the internet into five categories.

Green 2.0 – Green 2.0 is a 501(c)3 independent advocacy campaign to increase racial diversity among environmental organizations. Green 2.0 drives accountability via information and visibility— including praise and exposure of individual NGOs, foundations, and government agencies—and their collective work on national initiatives and priorities.

Avarna – We manifest this vision by creating pathways, providing resources, and innovating strategies that support the outdoor and environmental sectors in their evolution toward justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (collectively, JEDI). Specifically, we provide this sector and its leaders with learning experiences, assessments, implementation planning, mentorship and coaching, intentional convenings, and resources.

CDE – The Center for Diversity & the Environment harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the U.S. environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions & building alliances.

eeLEARN Equitable and Inclusive EE – this module was created to help the field of environmental education promote principles that build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive movement and focus on promoting all three tiers of sustainability: ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity.

Ecoinclusive Facebook Page – Ecoinclusive supports the creation of healthy and diverse organizational and community ecosystems.

latinxhikers Instagram – Outdoor explorers • Storytellers • Diversity • Inclusion

Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts of Wisconsin Environmental Education Centers

Illustrative case studies of eco-justice practices at five Wisconsin Environmental Education centers. The main data source was interviews with senior staff at each study site.
Interview questions focused on current efforts, the impetus behind equity and inclusion initiatives, ongoing challenges, and valued partners in this work. (Columb, Tyra, Liddicoat, 2020)