A regional environmental-education group has named Connecticut Audubon Society's collection of science-in-nature education programs the best in New England.

The New England Environmental Education Alliance presented Audubon with its Maria Pirie Environmental Education Program Award during its annual meeting Oct. 24 in New Gloucester, Maine, Audubon officials said in a news release.

Audubon linked its science-in-nature programs to the state's public-school curriculum, and since their launch in 2012, 15,000 Connecticut students have participated, according to the release.

The programs' goal, Audubon officials said, is to increase environmental literacy among elementary, middle and high school students, particularly in low income communities. Programs are offered at its nature centers in Fairfield, Milford Point, Glastonbury and Pomfret.

The alliance said Audubon's science-in-nature program was chosen for the award because it motivates teachers to adopt a learn-by-doing approach to teaching science, and involves students in outdoor science education and practical conservation actions.