Student Environmental Development Program
As a part of CEHN’s mission to promote environmental health education, CEHN hwas the contracted organization for the Region III, EPA funded Student Environmental Development Program (SEDP) since 2002. The SEDP, a cross-cultural, community-based, summer environmental education and outreach program for rising eighth grade public school students had run for nine years in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE. In 2006, SEDP entered its fifth year in Washington, DC.
The concept of DC SEDP was to provide rising eight graders in DC Public Schools with a holistic environmental education program that allowed the students to achieve a better understanding of the relationship they had to the natural and social environments. DC SEDP aimed to broaden and deepen the awareness that DC inner city youth had of the interconnections in their environment through experiential learning. The program also aimed to develop cultural capital among DC inner city youth by providing the students with activities that would build the skills they need edto succeed in a multicultural society, including communication and leadership skills, and cultural awareness.
The SEDP Class met from 8:30am until 1pm five days a week from July 5-mid August. The course involved a combination of: interactive teacher lectures, guest speakers, field projects, service learning projects, and field trips. The curriculum covered a range of topics including air and water quality, soil and land quality, lead, asthma, radon, environmental justice, nutrition, cultural awareness, and learning new communication skills. After graduation from the program, DC SEDP students were able to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to other academic and personal pursuits.
By providing students with hands on activities in environmental education and training in cultural awareness and leadership development, the DC SEDP aimed to cultivate environmental stewards and to prepare DC youth with the tools that they would need to be successful future leaders.
The program was opened to students of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. The application process included recommendations from a science teacher, a school official and an additional non-family member; a student questionnaire; and a current grade report. SEDP provided students stipends and covered student transportation costs to ensure that all students could apply regardless of economic circumstances.