Historical development of non-formal environmental education in Turkey
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The article discusses the periods of environmental education development in connection with internal social and international global influences, mainly the effect of the First United Nations Conference on Human environment in Stockholm 1972, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg. The article pays attention to the impact of the social background and the role of science and pedagogical research on the different stages in the curriculum and textbook development. The content of school subjects and educational technologies has also evolved towards student-centered interactive education in and out of school. From past to present, there have been many institutions in Turkey which provide environmental education. Some of these organizations most of whom work on a voluntary basis providing only informal training are: The Turkish Association for the Conservation of Nature (TTKD) 1955, World Wild Fund (WWF-DHKV) 1975, Research Association of Rural Environment and Forestry (KIRCEV) 1989, Directorate of Intramural Physical Education and Scouting (OBESID) 1989, The Foundation for the Protection and Promotion of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (CEKUL) 1990, The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA) 1992, Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey (TIF) 1992 and Nature Society, 2002. Although there are lots of studies carried out regarding the environmental education in Turkey, the studies regarding the topic started in real terms in 1999. The environmental education programs, conducted outside schools and the college systems, have been in operation in Turkey since 1999 and are carried out in collaboration with The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Universities, the General Directorate of National Parks and Environmental Protection and local authorities. The environmental education programs have 2 levels: theory and implementation. On the 'theory' level, experts in the field disseminate their knowledge of the features of the ecosystems of the protected sites and surrounding areas. On the 'implementation' level, all these features are studied in the field and the problems are identified and solutions are proposed. The target population of this environmental education project consists of teachers, scout leaders and those in post-graduate study. The program aims, through its teachings on nature, to popularize science among a wider population and to provide ways for the existing accumulation of knowledge to be used and implemented by this population. The program has provided a developmental framework for implementing field work and similar environmental education projects in the regions concerned and has brought about a more comprehensive and higher quality standard of education in the participating institutions. It is hoped that in the future the programs will reach more people and instill a lifelong desire, curiosity and motivation regarding ecosystems and the environment. Still there are many unsolved problems in environmental education.