The Environmental Education Unit was established in 1993 by former National Chairperson of An Taisce, Patricia Oliver. The Unit was created to ensure environmental education was a priority for An Taisce and to build on previous education initiatives and projects.

In considering this it was agreed that 'education' should be seen in its widest sense. This meant that rather than concentrating on schools and students alone, programmes and projects which addressed the critical issues of environmental awareness, and sustainable development should be considered – an action-based approach which has continued to this day.

The national operation and coordination of the international Blue Flag programme in Ireland was one of the first programmes to be adopted by the Environmental Education Unit, closely followed a few years later by the Green-Schools programme.

Since then the Unit has continued to expand in size and remit developing and implementing a diverse range of national and international environmental and sustainability campaigns and programmes across all sectors.