A new perspective for the management effectiveness of protected areas needs the inclusion of social data for decision-making. In this process, environmental education (EE) plays a key role in catalyzing biological and social issues in the management process, but there are scarce data about this relationship. The objective of this paper is to develop, from an institutional bottom-up perspective, a proposal for a set of EE indicators that is easy to use by practitioners to measure the response of the EE program in relation to the conservation objectives of protected areas management plans. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques, a case study at the National Parks System of Colombia is presented, which is divided in five stages: 1. An EE evaluation survey on a national scale. 2. An interview phase with EE practitioners and NGOs. 3. EE objectives categorization. 4. Systematization process and 5. Focus group to evaluate the proposed set of indicators. A set of 5 EE indicators was developed to fulfill the identified needs: appropriation of information, articulation, participation quality, program implementation and continuity of EE process. We expect that this new approach for EE evaluation will hopefully be adopted in the update of management plans, as an innovative tool that contributes to the effectiveness assessment of protected areas, integrating a more social and participative focus.
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