Environmental Literacy

Environmental Literacy

154Environmental issues will present some of the most complex, challenging, and important issues of the next century. Our kids and grandkids need to be ready to tackle them.

Maine Audubon assisted Maine’s Department of Education (DOE) and other state agencies and organizations to produce an Environmental Literacy Plan for Maine. The plan helps ensure that Maine’s students will graduate from high school as environmentally literate citizens who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to tackle 21st-century environmental challenges.

Maine’s Environmental Literacy Plan - as adopted by the Department of Education in December 2010

Principles & Practices for Effective Environmental Literacy Experiences

In 2013, Maine Audubon convened a stakeholder group of educators to review research findings in environmental/place-based/sustainability/STEM education.   The result was to summarize the key insights for effective teaching and learning and to establish research-based principles and practices for effective environmental literacy experiences.

Educators can use this document to:

  • Identify existing exemplary environmental literacy programs
  • Design high-quality environmental literacy programs
  • Design professional development based on these principles and practices
  • Evaluate environmental literacy programming

Principles & Practices PDF

No Child Left Inside

_MG_1453-X3Maine Audubon’s work to create an Environmental Literacy Plan for Maine is an outgrowth of its work with the nation-wide No Child Left Inside Coalition, which is working at the federal level to deliver meaningful and robust education about the natural world.

The No Child Left Inside Act strengthens and expands environmental education in America’s classrooms.  Specifically, it:

    • Provides federal funding to states to train teachers in environmental education and to operate model environmental education programs, which include outdoor learning.
    • Provide funding to states that create environmental literacy plans to ensure that high school graduates are environmentally literate.
    • Provides funding through an environmental education grant program to build state and national capacity.
    • Re-establishes an Office of Environmental Education within the U.S. Department of Education.

Please send a letter to our U.S. Senators in support of No Child Left Inside. Learn more at www.nclicoalition.org

Process and Updates

On July 16, 2013, Senator Jack Reed (RI) and Congressman John Sarbanes (MD) reintroduced the bipartisan No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act into the 113th Congress, with 13 Senate cosponsors and 42 in the House. CBF and partners in the NCLI Coalition worked closely with our legislative sponsors in updating the bill language to reflect the fact that many states have already developed plans for environmental literacy and now need support for effective implementation. We were pleased to have Republican co-sponsorship of the bill in both chambers in light of current partisan rancor.

The intent of the NCLI Act is to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide support for environmental literacy programs in public education. While ESEA has not yet been taken up on the floor of either chamber, the Senate draft reported out of committee contains strong language in support of federal funds for environmental education and our champions on the Senate and House committees have assured us they are prepared to offer amendments to any version of ESEA that would embed the principles of the NCLI Act into the final education bill.

We continue to closely monitor this process and pursue all opportunities to work with our sponsors and coalition partners to build on our success and pursue additional opportunities to advance environmental literacy through ESEA.

To learn more about Maine Audubon’s involvement, please contact Linda Woodard at [email protected]

For more information:

The Case for Maine’s Environmental Literacy Plan

No Child Left Inside Coalition

Maine Department of Education