In an international partnership with the University of Calabar focused on deliberate promotion of far-reaching and enduring environmental consciousness in Africa, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with and support of the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-UK) in 1990, sponsored twelve Nigerians on a postgraduate course in Environmental Education (EE) at the Jordanhill College, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Upon their return, three EE Units were set up in Nigeria - at the College of Education, Ekiadialor, Benin City, University of Calabar, Calabar and Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos.
Calabar was chosen as a natural site for EE because of its closeness to a remnant pristine forest in Nigeria where the National Park conserves the rich and rare diversity of flora and fauna. EE programme therefore was established through the cooperation of two non-governmental environmental conservation and protection organizations (WWF and NCF) with the University of Calabar in 1990. The NCF/WWF Environmental Awareness and Education Programme spearheaded by the Strathclyders laid the initial foundation for the development of EE in Nigeria. The University of Calabar pioneered the Ordinary and Postgraduate training programmes at the Institute of Education which housed the nucleus of EE. This was subscribed to from across the federation and the neighbouring Republic of Cameroun.
On completion of their agreement in 1995, WWF-UK/NCF withdrew their sponsorship and the University of Calabar took over all assets and liabilities including the three programmes. With the addition of an NUC degree programme in Environmental Education the unit then grew into a full-fledged department within the Institute of Education. The Master’s Degree programme in EE was soon added.
In 2007 all degree awarding programmes of the Institutes were moved to the Faculties. EE programmes moved into the Department of Curriculum and Teaching where they were fully accredited on several occasions and where they remained until February 2015 when five new departments were created out of the then Department of Curriculum and Teaching. A new Department of Environmental Education in the Faculty of Education was therefore created by the Senate of the University of Calabar effective from February, 2015.