Collecting Demographic Information
As environmental educators, we are well aware of the important role that collecting data plays in our ability to track changes in species' health, natural resource conditions, and weather patterns. Tracking these changes helps us not only tell the story of our natural environment, but also helps us respond, adapt, and seek vital support. Collecting data about our program participants functions in much the same way.
eeGuidance for Collecting Demographic Information
In 2021, the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA) conducted a regional landscape analysis that included collecting data from 646 organizations to take a comprehensive look at what environmental education is already happening on the ground, identify gaps and barriers, and provide recommendations and next steps for increasing environmental literacy efforts in the southeast. The analysis also revealed that most environmental education practitioners are not consistently collecting demographic data about their participants.
Without rich demographic data, a crucial piece of our story is missing. As we work to strengthen our field through programming that reflects and meets the needs of our communities, having more comprehensive demographic data is crucial. This eeGuidance offers responses to some commonly asked questions about collecting demographic data, as well as information and suggestions about where to look for additional resources. Note that while this eeGuidance offers examples of questions you might ask, it is not meant to serve as a template. Although using consistent demographic questions across the region could help with comparison, ultimately the diversity and breadth of organizations means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to collecting demographic data.