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Alex Kudryavtsev
Research Associate
Pen name: Alex Russ

I am an environmental education researcher in the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University. My current research focuses on urban agriculture education that promotes school sustainability, youth civic engagement, climate action, and environmental literacy. Along with my colleagues, I develop and teach environmental education professional development courses. I am the first editor of Urban Environmental Education Review (Cornell University Press, 2017). I also serve as an adviser for the Global Environmental Education Partnership. I identify as an avid reader, writer, vegan, and traveler.

Selected Publications
  • Russ, A., and Gaus, M. (2021). Urban agriculture education and youth civic engagement in the U.S.: A scoping review. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 5:707896. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.707896 PDF

  • Russ, A., Armstrong, A., and Krasny, M. (2022, submitted). Urban agriculture education in parks: Fostering civic engagement. In: Larson, L., Fix, P., Lekies, K. et al. (Eds.). The Transformative Power of Parks. Champaign, Illinois: Sagamore. PDF draft

  • Cho, J. Y., Li, Y., Armstrong, A. K., Russ, A., Krasny, M. E., & Kizilcec, R. F. (2021). Using Social Norms to Promote Actions Beyond the Course. Proceedings of the Eighth ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale. doi:10.1145/3430895.3460144 PDF

  • 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

Urban Environmental Education Review

Urban Environmental Education Review explores how environmental education can contribute to urban sustainability. Urban environmental education contributes to individual and community well-being and environmental quality, and debunks common assumptions that cities are ecologically barren and that city people don't care for, or need, urban nature or a healthy environment. This volume integrates research and practice to help aspiring and practicing environmental educators, urban planners, and other environmental leaders achieve their goals in terms of education, youth and community development, and environmental quality in cities. Topics in 30 chapters range from the urban context to theoretical underpinnings, educational settings, participants, and educational approaches in urban environmental education.

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Russ, A., Krasny, M. (Eds.) (2017). Urban environmental education review. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Table of Contents (PDF)

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Russ, A., Krasny, M. (Επιμέλεια). (2021). Περιβαλλοντική εκπαίδευση στις πόλεις. Καλαϊτζιδάκη, Μ. (Επιστημονική επιμέλεια), Καϊάφας, Μ. (Μεταφραση). Athens, Greece: Gutenberg.

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Russ, A., Krasny M.E. 著 (2022). 城市环境教育概论. 王西敏 邱文晖 译. 生态学名著译丛. Beijing, China: Higher Education Press.

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Course ebooks
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GEEP case studies
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Teaching Philosophy

Based on research and my own teaching experience (including my mistakes!), I have developed and use the following teaching principles to organize my in-person and online courses:

  1. Social learning. Effective learning is social, thus course participants should have opportunities to exchange ideas with peers, network with professionals, work on group projects, and interact course instructors and teaching assistants.

  2. Learner-centered experience. My students have different interests, learning goals, and preferred learning styles. They become more motivated learners when, in addition to required materials, they can choose from a variety of optional learning materials and assignments that resonate with their interests.

  3. Research-based. Course structure and materials must be based on conceptual ideas and empirical findings from research publications. Successful courses present both established theoretical frameworks and results of empirical research.

  4. Critical thinking. Courses should foster critical thinking, and promote analysis and discussion of any learning materials.

  5. Knowledge creation and innovation. Teaching should encourage higher-level thinking among students (see Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning) to help them use theory to improve practice, and advance their academic fields by creating new knowledge. For example, a final course assignment can be producing a new activity plan for educators, or developing a creative solution for an urban environmental issue.

  6. Writing. Writing clearly is hard. But nothing else is so effective in organizing our thinking. I often give students writing assignments: from daily reflections in summer courses, to weekly discussion boards in online courses, to creative final projects.

  7. Supporting risk. Within reasonable boundaries, I support students trying new and creative approaches to complete course assignments. They may face risk of failure, yet they can come up with novel perspectives, critique, and presentation of their projects.


I strive to support diversity, inclusion, and equitability in my academic practice. In a lecture that I wrote for my Nature Education course in 2019, I wrote this phrase that reflects my standpoint:  “…educational systems must be welcoming for people who have diverse backgrounds – related to their physical and cognitive abilities, race, ethnicity, language, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, socioeconomic status, and cultural heritage.” Thus in my courses I show respect for and welcome diverse viewpoints, and try to make all voices heard because it’s crucial for students’ learning and well-being, and for creating new ideas.

Selected Courses
  • Green Cities (NTRES2470) — Webpage

  • Environmental Education & Community Engagement — Syllabus (pdf)

  • Nature Education — Syllabus

  • Introduction to Environmental Education — Course info (pdf)

  • Urban Environmental Education — Course info (pdf)

  • E-STEM Education — Course info (pdf)

Sample Video Lectures

"Environmental Education & Civic Engagement" online course. Watch other course lectures.

Civic engagement

Sense of Place

"Environmental Education Outcomes" online course.

"Nature Education" online course.

Watch other course lectures and webinars.

What is Nature Education

"E-STEM Education" online course.

Environmental Education

Sample Webinars and Case Studies

"Environmental Education & Civic Engagement" online course.

El Yunque National Forest

Running Grass: Culturally authentic community engagement

"Environmental Education & Civic Engagement" online course.

Urban agriculture education: Red Hook Farms

"Environmental Education & Civic Engagement" online course.

Frances Moore Lappé: Hope is what we become in action together

"Environmental Education & Civic Engagement" online course.

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