Systemic Environmental Literacy and Education

How will kids care about the outdoors if they don't know anything about it? Ensuring systemic environmental literacy and education programs in curricula ensures kids will learn about the outdoors surrounding them.

Environmental education and literacy standards, plans and programs

  • Prioritize the use of applicable education funds to implement, expand, or replicate outdoor and environmental education and environmental literacy programs.
  • Support policies, programs and partnerships that advance the systemic integration of environmental education in the pre-K through 12th grade curriculum, including the development and implementation of high-quality statewide environmental literacy plans.

The Maryland Green Schools Act of 2019 calls for a significant increase in the number of schools statewide that become certified as Green Schools and provides funding to support environmental learning and student action projects, including teacher professional development and student transportation to and from outdoor  environmental learning experiences.

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California integrated systemic environmental literacy into K-12 schools through the development of Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs) to complement California’s content standards and required the development of a model curriculum. A subsequent bill codified the EP&Cs along with encouraging school districts to promote instruction in environmental literacy, and directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide leadership to further the goals of environmental literacy. 

Case Study

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Policy Opportunities

Workforce Growth

  • Increase investments in programs to grow the number of professionals entering the fields of outdoor education, environmental education, and conservation, with an emphasis on more racial diversity in the field.
  • Green career opportunities that are focused on the nature-environment-STEM connection.

The Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) is an award-winning AmeriCorps program that engages young adults in extensive natural resource management and park conservation projects. The mission of the program is to provide both skills training and opportunities for young adults to serve Maryland’s conservation needs.  The program focuses on three critical areas of conservation work: environmental and park infrastructure restoration, trail and waterway improvement, and environmental education and interpretation.

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Great Outdoors Colorado awards funding to provide youth employment through the Colorado Youth Corps Association to do conservation work. Two, $500,000 grants are given to local agencies and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, respectively.

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View the Policy Opportunities page for additional resources.

Policy Opportunities