This article was written very early in my career. I was part way through my doctoral degree study on environmental education (EE) theory and practice, and had just completed an evaluation of a national EE curriculum development project. In both of these projects, I found that despite the presence of an emerging discourse about what a distinctive EE is or ought to be, classroom practice represented as EE was essentially either informational or nature study in character — somewhat different from the ‘education for the environment’ being advanced by researchers and curriculum developers internationally at the time. It seemed to me that this situation was less one of teachers’ failure to implement government policy than one of EE curriculum developers failing to recognise teachers’ existing, robust personal constructions of EE (of the environment, education, teaching and learning . . .). An entailment of this position is that EE research has the opportunity and responsibility of exploring the relationship of teachers’ theories and practices and the professional contexts within which these are intelligible. Consequently, a new wave emerged of participatory research involving teachers-as-researchers directly investigating the meaning and significance of their professional work. Some of this work is represented in the following publications.