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Alex Kudryavtsev (Alex Russ)
Research Associate
Cornell University
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I am an environmental education researcher in the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University. CV (PDF file)


My mission – as a researcher and educator – is to contribute to solving social and environmental problems through sustainability education and civic engagement among youth in urban communities, organizations, and schools.


  • I explore civic engagement in urban agriculture education. I believe that through environmental / sustainability / urban agriculture education we can empower urban residents to improve cities, human well-being, and strengthen civic participation.

  • I also work with my colleagues on the develop of online courses for educator professional development. In addition, conduct field experiences with an elementary school in Ithaca, NY, which will help me combine environmental education in formal and conformal settings.

  • Outside teaching and research, I am a traveler (all 7 continents, 50 US states, and 38 countries so far), lover of national parks, vegan (see my Instagram), and avid reader (my Goodreads). I love reading and writing.

K-12: Sustainability Education

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Educator trainer

Since 2013, much of my work at Cornell University focused on training educators and teachers. I developed and conducted a number of online courses for teachers and educators from 60+ countries interested in sustainability education, environmental education, nature education, and E-STEM. As the first editor, I also published a book "Urban Environmental Education Review" (2017), which has been used in university courses for future teachers in several countries.

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 Science lesson about water quality 

 Seattle, USA 

Observing schools around the world

When I travel around the world for conferences and professional meetings, I visit schools and nonformal education programs. I like to reflect on effective teaching ideas that I observe in several countries, which lead to sustainability action among students. For example, I saw how teachers and educators used problem-solving, inquiry, community resources, outdoors spaces, and positive youth development as learning contexts that were engaging and relevant for students, and empower students to organize sustainability action.


Here are some photos I took in schools and other educational programs in various countries.

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Nonformal education

I'm interested to strengthen schools' collaboration with nonformal and after-school educational opportunities that strengthen students' environmental knowledge and action. Through my research, outreach, and observations, I worked a lot with nonformal education programs in New York State  New York City, elsewhere in the U.S., and around the world. These programs included after-school education, nature centers, botanical gardens, and more. I believe that formal education can borrow many useful ideas from nonformal education, including relevance of educational topics to student's lives, connection with local organizations, interdisciplinary approaches, and building trust between students and educators.


Current projects

Urban Agriculture Education & Civic Participation

Currently, I am exploring how urban agriculture in New York City – in community gardens, farms, schools, botanical gardens, and parks – encourage youth to become civically engaged environmental citizens Co-PIs: Kudryavtsev, and Krasny; Sponsored by USDA NIFA.

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Environmental Education Case Studies

I'm helping the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) to create an environmental education case studies ebook for university courses and professional development workshops. Each case study is connected with several of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of case studies (on Rocking the Boat) is available online. More chapters from this ebook are coming in 2021.

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E-STEM Education

My colleagues and I have recently designed a new online course "E-STEM Education" for teachers and educators who want to help youth become scientifically literate, environmental citizens. Participants learn how to integrate environmental ideas into STEM classes (e.g., biology and earth science), and how to make science part of environmental education programs. We also discuss inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, and other active learning pedagogies.


Green Cities online and in-person course

Each summer, I teach the Green Cities online course for the Cornell University School of Continuing Education. I always look for new materials to improve this course, including relevant theoretical frameworks and case studies. In 2020, my TAs and I have successfully converted this in-person course to an online course.


Online Professional Development of Environmental Educators

Along with my colleagues, I am investigating how social norm messages and study group discussions in online courses influence practice of environmental educators. Co-PIs: Krasny, Kizilcec, Li, and Kudryavtsev; Sponsored by Cornell China Center.

Selected publications
  • Russ, A., and Gaus, M. (submitted in 2021). Youth civic engagement in urban agriculture education: A rapid scoping review. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. PDF draft

  • Russ, A., Armstrong, A., and Krasny, M. (submitted in 2021). Urban agriculture in parks: Fostering youths’ civic participation. In: The Transformative Power of Parks. PDF draft

  • DuBois, B., Krasny, M., and Russ, A. (2019). Online professional development for environmental educators: Strategies to foster critical thinking and social interactions. Environmental Education Research, 25(10), 1479-1494. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1564247 PDF

  • Russ, A., Peters, S.J., Krasny, M.E., and Stedman, R.C. (2015). Development of ecological place meaning in New York City. Journal of Environmental Education, 46(2), 73–93. doi: 10.1080/00958964.2014.999743 PDF

  • Krasny, M.E., Kalbacker, L., Stedman, R.C., and Russ, A. (2015). Measuring social capital among youth: Applications in environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 21(1): 1-23. 10.1080/13504622.2013.843647 PDF

  • Kudryavtsev, A., Krasny, M., and Stedman, R. (2012). The impact of environmental education on sense of place among urban youth. Ecosphere, 3(4):29. doi: 10.1890/ES11-00318.1 PDF, Survey

  • Kudryavtsev, A., Stedman, R., and Krasny, M. (2011). Sense of place in environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 18(2), 229–250. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2011.609615 PDF

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Course products
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Other materials
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Online and in-person courses
  • Green Cities (NTRES2470) — Webpage

  • Nature Education — Syllabus

  • Introduction to Environmental Education — Webpage

  • Urban Environmental Education — Webpage

  • E-STEM Education — Webpage

Sample video lectures

"E-STEM Education" online course.

Environmental Education

Sense of Place

"Environmental Education Outcomes" online course.

"Nature Education" online course.

See Other course lectures and webinars.

What is Nature Education

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