USA & Canada
Grade Level Of Students Participating
Number of Students Participating per Year
Year Organization Began
Relationship to the public education system
Works together with 175 schools (2015)
Organization’s Vision and Mission
Vision: To prepare youth to be active participants in addressing environmental challenges so that their communities are resilient today, tomorrow, and throughout their lives.
Mission: Earth Force engage young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future.
Brief Description of Program Activities
Earth Force programs are based on environmental community action and problem solving, with three focus areas: Water, Sustainability and Health.
In approaching each of these program-focused challenges, students are engaged and guided through a six-step problem-solving process. The timeline for the six steps of the problem-solving process and the phases in which the projects are carried out throughout a school year varies from school to school.
Earth Force’s focus on civic engagement teaches learners to be active participants in their communities by conducting research, building strong community partnerships, making decisions as a democratic group, and implementing projects that improve their communities. Some projects involve funding, mentoring and implementation assistance from local community organizations, schools and corporations. For example, Earth Force students in the Washington DC metro area have the opportunity to submit and present innovative ideas related to caring for local watersheds. At an annual Youth Summit, they compete for implementation funding and community mentorship to turn their ideas into realistic solutions.
Earth Force and its partners also develops the capacity of educators through a blended learning professional development program designed to teach and support educators as they help students master science concepts by applying what they learn in the classroom to the problems they find in their communities.
Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies
Earth Force encourages participants to reflect at the end of the problem-solving process. This guided reflection helps students assess what they learned, what they achieved, and what impact they had, even if the result of the project was different than planned, and how they can build on their work for future impact.
Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies
Earth Force teaches civic engagement and taking a community-based, collaborative action approach to solving environmental issues. Young people work within their communities to provide sustainable solutions to the problems they uncover.
Program Content: Cognitive Competencies
Problem solving: students investigate their local environment, identify the causes of problems and work toward solutions. This process is used to teach cognitive skills in science, math and engineering to students.
Program Content: Attitudes and Values
Self-efficacy, awareness, care, and respect for the environment
Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students
Project-based learning, interaction with professional volunteers that guide and support students’ field activities (projects that include visiting local rivers and streams to do water quality testing) and environmental citizenship (projects that involve educating neighborhoods on the impact of pet waste on local waterways, restoring wetlands or working with school administrators to improve school wellness policies).
Through cooperation with local organizations and employee volunteers (from General Motors) who can teach real-world skills, students have opportunities to gain knowledge of real-world applications of the work being done by content experts (such as engineers). By gaining working together and gaining mentoring expertise from professionals with real-world experience, students also gain insight into what careers might be possible for them. They can see the real world applications of the STEM learning through environmentally focused projects.
1All information for this organizational profile come from Earth Force’s website, its 2015 annual report and a phone interview with Earth Force’s Vice President that took place in May 2016.