Using Educational Activities to Break Down Barriers to Adoption of Natural Infrastructure

Summary

Education is both a goal in itself and a means for attaining the other goals of the N-EWN. The
network is well-positioned to accelerate and expand EWN implementation by influencing current practice through education as well as shape a new generation of EWN problem-solvers.

Objective and Approach

This project uses multiple outlets and programs to train students and professionals in the
theory and practice of nature-based solutions, emphasizing integrative systems thinking to
develop holistic solutions to complex societal problems.

No comprehensive, multi-disciplinary training program currently exists for university students or practicing professionals seeking knowledge and skills on the planning, design, and implementation of natural infrastructure projects. Our approach is to initially focus educational activities narrowly on small, discrete outcomes (e.g., NNBF modules, single courses) and expand to large-scale outcomes through time (e.g., certificate and degree programs).

This initiative will result in a variety of educational outcomes, some of which include:
• A monthly N-EWN webinar series targeting existing practitioners and designers.
• Web resources and targeted lectures to strategically reach current practitioners.
• A proposal for a National Science Foundation graduate program to train the next generation
of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers working on EWN.
• Multiple university and professional development courses filling key curricular gaps.
• Over the long term, short- and long-term university and professional development curricula
reaching engineers, designers, economists, environmental scientists, and policy experts.