In 1991 the LTER program recognized that they not only had established a record for excellence in research but had also provided a unique platform for should continuing its research trajectory, and integrating research in education as part of LTER activities.
The Education program recognized it in order to be successful maintaining a broader would lend itself to providing unique educational experiences. This perspective allows the network to serve as a test-bed for the development of curricular materials, to provide relevant learning contexts for students of all levels, and to provide opportunities for teachers to learn about science in ways they can transfer to the classroom.
In 1998, the Network formally expanded its education efforts to include K-12 students and teachers—mainly through a program funded by the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) at NSF called the Schoolyard program (SLTER). NSF provided funding supplements upon request to LTER sites to design their own programs in relation to the ecological research conducted at the site. These programs would address the particular needs and resources of the local school districts and community. This served as a pilot to conduct a wide variety of diverse educational activities and programs.
In 2000, the LTER leadership engaged in a process of priority setting and drafted LTER 2000- 2010: A Decade of Synthesis White Paper (http://intranet2.lternet.edu/documents/lter-2000-2010-decade-synthesis ). This document specifically included education as one of the ways that the LTER can achieve its mission.
In 2002, the LTER Network Office initiated a strategic planning process to include the education component. LTER Education Representatives from 20 sites including teachers, graduate students, and science educators met to provide input for the LTER 2000-2010 White Paper and to discuss issues, objectives, and recommendations to include in a Strategic Plan for Education. During this meeting an LTER Education Committee was formed to represent the LTER Education Representatives at the LTER network level.
In 2003, educational representatives met annually to during the All Scientists meeting and formally organized a working document that has resulted in the Schoolyard LTER handbook (.pdf).
In 2004, a Schoolyard program survey assessed LTER site educational programs.
In 2006, all representatives met formally in Estes Park Colorado during the the LTER All Scientists Meeting to formally evaluate programs, elect committee chairpersons and establish working groups.
In 2011, a formal Education Executive committee was formed
In 2011, the Education committee contributed to outlining and updating the Education portion of the LTER Strategic Implementation Plan (.pdf)