Mapping the Gaps: Using GIS to Target Environmental Education Efforts
Sarah G. Sunu
Evaluating the effect of environmental education is critical for measuring changes in community attitudes and behaviors, but to date little attention has been paid to the spatial distribution of environmental education programs. Mapping communities that are participating in environmental education programming can inform the decision-making process for program development and expansion, and help organizations identify un-served and underserved communities. Incorporating census data allows organizations to also identify communities meeting certain demographic criteria, such as environmental justice communities, for potential programming.
To facilitate program exapansion and identify gaps in programming reach, Sarah Sunu mapped the spatial impacts of 18 NEOSEC member organizations into a geodatabase and paired them with a model to identify target audiences. The completed geodatabase and model provide proof-of-concept tools for mapping the spatial reach of environmental education organizations. Sarah is providing these tools to the NEOSEC membership, and members will be able to access the data through ArcGIS Online Web Mapping Applications.
Sarah has finished her Masters of Environmental Management degree at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, where she focused on coastal ecosystems. Prior to graduate school, Sarah served as an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, where she led the Beach Sister program with Girls Inc. of Lynn. While working with Carole McCauley, Sarah had the opportunity to engage with NEOSEC members on several projects, building the foundation for the Mapping the Gaps project. She is excited to share her results!