The Accidental Sustainability Agent

By Mark Apel, Christopher Jones and Daniel McDonald

While a number of universities across the nation have sustainability education programs, land grant universities and their Cooperative Extension departments are in a particularly advantageous position to foster sustainability education. At the University of Arizona (UA), this is being accomplished through its Cooperative Extension cadre of education programs in agriculture; youth development; natural resources; horticulture; family, consumer and health sciences; and community and economic development. A working group within UA Cooperative Extension has been tasked with evaluating the reach of sustainability concepts while developing opportunities for its faculty to further integrate sustainability education into its programs, such as through student externships. Preliminary evaluation results indicate that Extension’s programs positively embody the concepts of sustainability without creating the need for new, deliberate programming around sustainability education.

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