Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Ecology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Tara Bal

Committee Member 1

Blair Orr

Committee Member 2

Angie Carter


Incorporating virtual education offerings with traditional environmental education delivery can be a complementary pairing. In addition to giving instructors more flexibility by increasing their toolkit, it can also increase potential offerings and engagement opportunities for an organization. Since virtual programs offer the chance for them to be shared beyond the initial audience with no significant increase in time, they can allow instructors to focus on developing other projects. This report studies content delivered by an environmental education specialist at Huron Pines, Gaylord, Michigan from February to October 2020. The environmental education specialist created virtual, nine-part series, Connecting to Nature, in April and May of 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 shutdown of in-person education. The program initially had comparable or better turnout for the live, online sessions (n=244) to previous programming at Huron Pines, and recordings of the sessions had continuous engagement through a virtual platform, YouTube, (n=479 April-October 2020). Two additional series were created in order to explore environmental education online for Huron Pines, as well as train participants to report invasive species to the Midwest Invasive Species and Identification Network. Online programs had the potential to reach larger audiences and provide continuous opportunities for participants to engage with Huron Pines’ content. By utilizing a dual approach to environmental education, where fieldwork and computer learning coexist, outdoor-related content can be maintained while engaging participants in environmental education.