Interagency Coordination Branch

Branch Chief: Drew Burnett, drew_burnett@fws.gov

Based in FWS HQ in Falls Church, VA, the Branch facilitates communication, collaboration, and the sharing of information among DOI bureaus and across FWS offices. Priorities include intra- and inter- agency coordination, accomplishment reporting and communication, external partnerships, diversity, student support, and program guidance and policy development. Key activities include:

Anecdotes to Evidence Partnership

With funding support from the U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, DEO developed an agreement with the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) to work with Stanford University and the Children and Nature Network (C&NN) to identify and analyze research that demonstrates the impact of environmental education (EE) on achieving natural resource conservation, environmental literacy and academic achievement, and connecting children to nature. The project will also develop a variety of communications products to share what we learn with land managers, conservation planners, and other key stakeholders to increase the use of EE as a tool for achieving conservation results. The project will clearly identify key research studies that demonstrate how EE can be effectively used to achieve conservation results on Federal lands. NCTC will use the knowledge and information from this project to improve our courses targeting environmental educators, land managers, and conservation planners. The anticipated long-term outcome of the proposed support is accelerated progress toward creating a more environmentally literate and engaged citizenry across North America that is willing and prepared to get involved in natural resource conservation on federal lands and elsewhere.

For more information on the A2E Partnership, please contact Drew Burnett at drew_burnett@fws.gov.

Hands on the Land Partnership

With funding from U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, the Division of Education and Outreach (DEO) augmented our cooperative agreement with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) allowing the Partners in Resource Education to provide training, technical assistance, and funding support to the Hands on the Land (HOL) network of nearly 200 partnerships between local schools and federal land management agencies. These partnerships establish field classrooms that connect students, teachers, families, and volunteers to public lands and waterways all across America, essentially making it “America’s Largest Classroom.” The anticipated outcomes for mini-grants are improved conservation results on federal lands, higher student environmental literacy rates, and improved academic achievement in local schools. Improving the capacity of federal environmental and land management agency field sites to work with local schools is one of the most effective ways to improving community involvement in conservation work on public lands. FWS currently has 20 HOL sites among our refuges and hatcheries. FWS field site interest in the program is increasing rapidly, with our participation more than tripling during 2015.

For more information on the HOL Partnership please contact Maria Parisi at maria_parisi@fws.gov.

National Science Teachers Association Partnership

NSTA is the largest international membership organization dedicated to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. Their members are 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, and others involved in science education. NSTA attracts nearly 10,000 science educators to their national conference. They offer myriad professional development resources for educators—from regional and national conferences to an expansive digital and print library of resources. NCTC began a dialog with NSTA in 2013 to share interests, explore opportunities to partner, and identify specific action items to accomplish mutual goals. We’ve since participated in NSTA’s first Multicultural/Equity in Science Education Committee meeting, housed at NCTC. NSTA is helping us expand the Conservation Connect video audience by providing resources for a teacher audience. And, we partnering with NSTA leadership and NSTA partners to co-present on citizen science and equity for all learners with professional science and environmental education associations. The Division of Education and Outreach (DEO) coordinates the Service’s participation and exhibits at NSTA national conferences to reach thousands of science educators to connect them with our resources and our mission. In 2016, we offered workshops to connect more deeply with subsets of teachers who want to connect.

For more information on the NSTA-FWS Partnership, please contact Maria Parisi at maria_parisi@fws.gov.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Citizen Science Framework

NCTC’s Division of Education and Outreach (DEO) worked with Refuge’s Inventory and Monitoring and Human Dimensions leaders to develop the FWS Framework for Citizen Science. The framework was develop by FWS staff and partners, and provides resources on the design, best practices, and options for FWS field sites, and the people who support them, to engage citizen scientists. DEO continues to participate on a federal cross-agency team to identify and provide tools, training, and case studies to meet needs for scientific rigor and ensure that learners of all ages are engaged in our mission through citizen science. DEO has engaged representatives from a cross section of the Service, including Office of Science Application, Landscape Conservation Cooperative staff and scientists, and educators from the field to explore the need for a youth and citizen science community of practice (COP), and we continue to participate in the Children and  Nature Network’s “network weaving” webinars….the agency. Citizen science stands to greatly enhance the agency’s capacity to achieve strategic habitat conservation goals by expanding data available to inform management decisions while educating and engaging diverse constituents in conservation at local and landscape scales.

For more information on DEO’s citizen science work, contact Maria Parisi at maria_parisi@fws.gov.