New York has joined a national movement in stride with the Children and Nature Network founded by Richard Louv, author of the award-winning book, Last Child in the Woods. This movement is intended to reconnect children to the outdoors, helping them become more capable of making environmentally literate decisions that not only protect the environment but lead to a prosperous economy and healthy citizens.
To help us meet that goal, NYSOEA formed an Environmental Literacy Committee in 2010 to work toward developing a NYS Environmental Literacy Plan following the North American Association for Environmental Education ELP guidelines (http://eelinked.naaee.net/n/elp). The committee has worked with the NYSOEA membership and a wide array of constituents to develop a draft Environmental Literacy Plan, has gathered stakeholders in various parts of NYS that support the endeavor, and has worked with policy makers to begin moving us toward our goal of adopting and implementing a New York State Environmental Literacy Plan.
The NYSOEA Environmental Literacy Committee invites members to contact them by emailing elp (at) nysoea.org for more information or to become part of the growing number of individuals involved in supporting this effort.
The current committee leadership consists of the following individuals:
Mary Leou, Director of the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Professor of Environmental Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, New York University
Beth Shiner Klein, Professor and Interim Chair, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, SUNY Cortland
Steering Team Members:
Brock Adler, Environmental Educator and NAAEE representative
Erica Blatt, Assistant Professor of Education, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Paul Hai, Program Coordinator, Adirondack Ecology Center, SUNY ESF
Lia Harris, Ecology Educator, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Susan Hereth, Education Coordinator, Scenic Hudson, Former NYSOEA ELC Chair
Marsha Guzewich, Environmental Educator for NYSDEC, retired
Pam Musk, Director of Centers and Education, Audubon New York
Tim Stanley, Program Coordinator for Sharpe Reservation Fresh Air Fund and current NYSOEA President
MaryLynne Malone, Outdoor and Environmental Education Consultant and former NYSOEA President
Partners for an Environmental Literate New York
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Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Strengthen Environmental Education: Reintroducing the No Child Left Inside ActJonathan Duda : July 22, 2013 2:16 pm : Environmental Literacy
Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Strengthen Environmental Education
Reed, Kirk, Sarbanes, Fitzpatrick Reintroduce The No Child Left Inside Act
WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to reconnect more kids with nature and address critical environmental challenges, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) are introducing legislation to strengthen and expand environmental education in America’s classrooms. The No Child Left Inside Act of 2013 will help expand environmental education in schools across the country by bringing locally developed, high-quality environmental education programs to more schools and providing federal assistance to states to develop and implement environmental literacy plans.
Studies show getting kids outside and teaching them about nature helps them raise achievement in other subjects and has important health benefits too. Yet studies also show the amount of time children now spend outdoors has declined significantly in the past 20 years. Today, many schools are being forced to scale back environmental programs and curtail outdoor activities.
“Teaching children about the environment and giving them a hands-on opportunity to experience nature makes them smarter and healthier. Environmental education should be an important part of the curriculum in our schools. This legislation will help reconnect more kids with nature and raise student achievement in core subjects like math, science, and reading,” said Senator Reed. “Environmental awareness should be second nature for our young people and protecting the environment is crucial to future economic growth.”
“To prepare American students to compete in the 21st century global economy, this bill uses an innovative approach to teaching science and bringing the benefits of outdoor activity to more children,” Senator Kirk said. “Our bill promotes hands-on learning and an integrated curriculum, while bolstering important science, technology, engineering and math education programs.”
“Environmental education must be a national priority,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Hands-on, outdoor interaction with the environment enhances student achievement – not only in science, but also in reading, math, and social studies. By investing in education that will grow the next generation of innovators, scientists and environmental stewards, we will prepare our workforce of the future to meet the many economic, environmental, and energy-related challenges our country is facing.”
“This bill reflects a larger, overall responsibility to promote environmental stewardship across generations,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Incorporating environmental learning is a down payment on our future. Research shows that promoting a hands-on approach to teaching kids about the environment improves student achievement in science as well as reading, math and social studies – all which directly strengthens our global competitiveness.”
The No Child Left Inside Act would provide funds to encourage partnerships between school districts, colleges, parks, and non-profits and other community-based organizations to implement the improved curricula and provide professional development for teachers on the use of field-based, service, and experiential learning.
Additionally, the bill will add environmental education as an authorized activity under other traditional federal grant programs and require cooperation, joint planning, and reporting by federal agencies involved in environmental education.
NCLI is supported by over 50 million citizens from 2,200 local, regional, and national organizations in the No Child Left Inside Coalition, including the League of Conservation Voters, National Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Wildlife Federation, and the Outdoor Industry Association, as well as hundreds of colleges, universities, businesses, and health care organizations.
The bill numbers for the No Child Left Inside Act are S. 1306 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 2702 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since 1992, the National Environmental Education Act (NEEA) has provided over $100 million dollars for environmental education (EE) through EPA grants www2.epa.gov/education/
One piece of good news is that the NEEA appropriation for the second half of FY13 was passed in March with the budget “Continuing Resolution,” and that funding was only cut by the same 5.2% that the rest of the that part of the Federal budget was trimmed. The bad news is that the program is still very much on shaky ground.
How you can help right now: EE champions Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Representative Jared Polis (CO-2) have written a letter to their respective appropriations committees asking for $9.7 million for FY14. This “Dear Colleague” letter will also be signed by other Congressional friends of EE, and we need you to contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives this week (by April 8th at the latest) to ask that they also sign the letter on behalf of this critical EE appropriation – more is better. (The Congressional offices have two more days past that to finalize their participation on their end.) This needs to be a specific request directed to a specific staff member who oversees the legislators’ appropriations, education, and/or environmental work. The appropriations staff is best, but if you have ever have had even a single contact with the environmental or education staff, then they are better. A sample phone script for a conversation with the Congressional offices, as well as copies of the letters and other instructions are attached. This script should be adapted to whether you are asking for support for NEEA, NOAA, or both… we of course encourage you to do both!
please fill in our Google form with that information. https://docs.google.com/forms/
Federal Environmental Education
Funding Congressional Call
Sample Phone Script and Instructions
Contact both of your U.S. Senators and the local House member(s). Call the D.C. offices, unless you have a good contact in the local district offices, in which case, call them. Direct numbers can be found at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.
Getting to the right person
My name is ___________ and I am a constituent of Senator/Representative _______________.
(If applicable…) I work/volunteer for __________ organization and I do/do not represent them today.
(If you already know a staff member, ask for them, if not…) May I please speak with the person on your staff who takes care of having the Senator/Representative support a Congressional appropriation; and before you connect me, would you please give me their name and job title.
When talking with the staff person in charge
Thank you for taking my call. I am ______, a constituent of Senator/Representative ______.
(Again, if applicable; it is very useful if you can use your organizational affiliation…) I work/volunteer for ______ organization and I do/do not represent them today.
(For NEAA calls, should be adapted for NOAA or combined calls.)
May I have less than 5 minutes of your time right now to talk with you about the renewal of an appropriation for environmental education at the EPA? (If yes…) I am volunteering with many others concerned about environmental education around the state and country to ask you to have Senator/Representative ______ sign on to a “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by Senator Gillibrand and Representative Polis for this critical appropriation. Environmental education in our state and district is important because ______ (two minutes/a few sentences at most).
(If your organization, or one that you used to work/volunteer for, or your state EE association, or even the place you went to as a kid, has ever gotten an EPA grant, this is the place to mention it and how great an institution it is. You can mention if you have children what it means to you.)
(They may say that they have already received this material and a request from someone else. If this is that case, just add your voice to the request and thank them for their time.)
I would like to email you the “Dear Colleague” letter and contact information for the legislative offices where you can weigh in on this or ask any questions. May I please have your email address.
This letter needs to be signed by April 10th. May I contact you on the Monday, April 8th to find out whether the Senator/Representative will be signing the letter? Do you prefer that I call or email you to follow up? (If calling is preferred) do you have a direct line I may call?
Do you have any questions? (If they ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, it is just fine to tell them that you will get back to them, and do so…)
Thank you so much and please ask Senator/Representative ______ for me to sign on to the letter!
Keep a record for yourself of all of the people with whom you spoke and what they said.
When you get a final answer (or final non-answer), please go to https://docs.google.com/forms/
When your Senator/Representative agrees to sign on to the NEEA appropriations letter, you will email them the “Dear Colleague” letter attached separately to the email to you and then they will be communicating directly with Sen. Gillibrand or Rep. Polis’ staff, or the offices of the NOAA Congressional coordinators, to submit their name; you will not have to do anything further to make that happen, though you should fill out the Google forms contact log linked above to inform us that they have told you that they will be participating (or not).
Time commitment for this: between finding out whom to call, maybe recruiting others to help, preparing for the calls, making the calls, following up with email materials, making follow-up calls, and reporting back to NAAEE, this could 30 minutes to an hour that can be spread out over the course of a few days… so we really, really thank you for your time.
|National Environmental Education Act, Inc. EPA EE Funding|
|Fiscal Year (FY) starts on Oct. 1 the year before|
On Thursday July 14th, a public forum will be held to discuss the draft of the Environmental Literacy Plan. The Environmental Literacy Plan grew out of the efforts of a large number of formal and informal educators in response to the No Child Left Inside legislation currently being considered in Congress. The meeting will be held from 1:30-4:30pm at Scenic Hudson’s River Center at Long Dock Park in Beacon NY.
You can find a copy of the Draft Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) at www.nysoea.org. We will be discussing this draft plan at the meeting.
It is our hope that this meeting will help clarify our goals as educators interested in moving the discussion of environmental literacy forward in our schools. We hope that this will provide a mechanism by which we can all work together for more effective environmental education for the students of the Hudson Valley.
Some of the questions we would like to discuss during our session include.
• Do you agree with the environmental literacy goals as listed on pages 2 and 3 or the Draft ELP, why are they important, and are there other goals that should be considered for our region.
• What are some of the barriers that exist to implementing an environmental literacy plan?
• What are some of the gaps that gaps that exist in implementing effective environmental education programs in the Hudson Valley?
• How can we measure the effectiveness of environmental literacy and education programs?
• What opportunities exist for us to work together, share resources, ideas and to collaborate for more effective delivery of environmental education in the Hudson Valley?
In addition to the ELP meeting from 1:30-4:30, there will be a free yoga class from Noon-1pm in Long Dock Park and if there is interest, guided park tours at Noon and
Please RSVP you’re attendance to any or all of these events to:
Natalie Rider at email@example.com.
Or give her a call at 845-264-1766.
We are looking forward to our meeting on July 14th, 2011.
Natalie Rider and Amanda Ackers
NYSOEA Eastern Regional Director
Las Vegas, Nevada
June 1st, 2010
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Woohoo! (Laughter and applause.) Oh, my goodness, I am just delighted to be here. This is beautiful. And you notice, kids, how quiet it can be outside? We’re outside! I live in the city. It is never this quiet outside.
It is beautiful. This is just a perfect place for the launch of this new initiative.
But let me begin by thanking — doing my thank you: First, to Senator Reid, not just for his kind introduction but all of the wonderful work he’s done to move this country forward. He’s just been a tremendous asset, not just to my husband, but to the country and to all of you kids. You know, everybody hears about what the President does, but Presidents can’t do anything if they don’t have a good team. And Senator Reid is a member of that good team. So we’re just grateful to have him onboard. (Applause.)
And I have to thank Representative Titus for her tireless advocacy for the people of Nevada in Congress. She’s a member of the team and is doing a terrific job.
Assistant Secretary Suh, for everything that she’s doing along, with the folks in her agency to really preserve and protect places like this — Red Rock Canyon here in Nevada and all across the country.
I also want to thank Nevada State — Nevada State Controller Kim Wallin and State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford as well for their leadership. (Applause.) Where are they? Where are you? There you are. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your support and your work.
And I want to particularly acknowledge the young people in the back — (applause) — because we’re really here for you guys today. All of this is for you, just like all these parks are for you today. We’re here for you. And we’re going to be doing a little fun stuff together in a little bit — a little hiking, a little something. I’ve got cold, so you have to bear with me today. And I hear we’re going to learn a little something about how to do a “rock scramble.” I don’t know what that is. Sounds scary. (Laughter.) But I’m looking forward to it.
And then all of them are going to be sworn in as official “Let’s Move Outside” Junior Rangers, which I think is pretty exciting. (Applause.) So you guys in the back hold the great honor of being the first to launch this program all across the country! (Applause.) Yes! (Applause.)
We are here because of you. We want every child in this country to have opportunities like this — to get outdoors and to get fit and to lead active lives right from the beginning. And you guys are lucky to have access to places like these — and not every kid does.
Experts, as others have said, recommend that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy. That’s 60 minutes, an hour, every day.
And while today that may seem like a lot, if adults here can just think back to when we were growing up, back then an hour of just vigorous activity was nothing, because we didn’t call it “activity.” It wasn’t required. We called it “play.” (Laughter.) We had recess, we had gym class at school, and when we got home in the afternoons, our parents didn’t want to be bothered with us so they kicked us outside. In fact, they told us not to come back inside. (Laughter.) So we could run around for another hour before dinner. They were really just trying to make us sleepy. (Laughter.) But all of that was really good for us.
But today, at a time of a lot of belt-tightening and budget cuts, unfortunately it’s gym class and recess and after-school sports that often are the first things to go. And too many of our kids end up spending way too much time inside in front of the TV, playing video games. Can I get — do you hear from the parents? It’s too much! It’s too much.
In fact, a study just released by the Centers for Disease Control found that — and this is amazing — only 17 percent of high school students reported meeting the recommended hour-a-day requirement. That’s only 17 percent of high school students in our country today.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that today nearly one third of our children in this country are overweight or obese. You know, we’re just not giving them the chance. And that’s one in three. And that’s a lot. That’s way too many. It’s more than what it was when all of us were growing up. Things just weren’t like that. That means that these kids are at greater risk for obesity-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes and cancer. I mean, this is the fate that we’re handing over to our kids.
And it’s not just a health crisis, as Senator Reid said. It’s an economic crisis. We are spending nearly $150 billion a year to treat obesity-related illnesses. And if we don’t act now, if these kids now grow up to be adults, then that number is just going to continue to go up.
And none of us wants that kind of future for our kids. We don’t. And we definitely don’t want that kind of future for our country.
So instead of just talking about the problem, which we — a lot of — we can do a lot of talking, and worrying and wringing our hands, we really need to get moving. And that’s why about a year or so ago — I’m losing track of time because we’ve been doing this — but we launched “Let’s Move,” which is the big nationwide campaign with the single goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today would grow up at a healthy weight. It sounds so simple, but this goal has to be generational and it has to be big.
And we’ve spent the last year or so working on a number of different fronts. We need to get more information to parents so that they can make the right choices for their kids. They have to have the information. They have to have access to affordable healthy foods. We have to work on that. We have to work closely with our schools to make sure that there are healthy choices in the classroom, because many of our kids are getting most of their calories at school, which is why we need to get the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill passed, because that piece of legislation is going to go a long way to changing and improving the quality of foods in our — that our kids are getting at school.
But more importantly and something that we focused on a lot, now that it’s summer time, is that we need to substantially increase the amount of physical activity that our kids are getting not just in school but outside of school, as well, and that’s why I am very excited about the launch of this program, “Let’s Move Outside.” Very clever, right? “Let’s Move Outside” — I love it. (Laughter.)
And it’s a collaborative effort with the Bureau of Land Management, with National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and others. And as you’ve heard, we just want to encourage kids to use the resources that are available to them. I mean, that’s part of the point of this, is that activity doesn’t have to cost a thing.
We have access in this country to some of the greatest parks and recreation facilities in the country, and it’s all free. And as Rhea said, it’s all yours, guys. This stuff belongs to you. And my family and I, we’ve tried to go every summer to some of the parks. We went to Yellowstone, we went to Asheville, we did some hiking, and I think — I’m hoping, if they treat us right, they’ll let us go somewhere else this summer. (Laughter.) But you never know. (Laughter.)
And it’s really a lot of fun. And it’s not just a great way to get exercise. It’s also a phenomenal way to come together as a family and spend some time together without spending a whole lot of money.
So in addition to this part of this program, we’re upgrading the Junior Ranger Program, because there’s always been Junior Rangers. I’ve met several of them all over the country, but we’re upgrading it to encourage more of our kids to be more physically active. Our wildlife refuges and conservation areas, our national parks and forests, and historic sites — these are ours, and we have to make use of them. And our agencies have just been phenomenal, rallying around to make this possible.
I want to thank everyone, particularly our not-so-junior rangers who have played a really important part. And my kids have had direct experience with the grown-up rangers. They are knowledgeable. Many of them are doing this as their second or third career. Their stories are phenomenal in so many ways. These are people who love this country. They love these parks. They want to make sure that our kids learn and they pass on these traditions. And we’re grateful for all of you, because we couldn’t do this on the ground without your enthusiasm and your knowledge. So I want us to give our not-so-junior rangers a hand, as well. (Applause.)
But in the end, our overall goal for “Let’s Move Outside” is to really get our kids active so that they make it a habit of moving around and seeing the activity they need not as a chore but as a fun way to explore our country and to do some things they haven’t done.
So with that, I’ll stop talking, because this program is called “Let’s Move,” right? (Laughter.) So we need to get moving. All right? You guys ready? You ready to scramble up a rock? All right! Thank you, guys. Thanks so much. (Applause.)
2:55 P.M. PDT
The Office of Education Programs at Brookhaven National Laboratory invites you to participate in a Long Island Environmental Education Summit on April 13, 2011. The Summit is being held at Brookhaven starting at 9:00am. We have several goals in mind.
We would like to bring together as many groups and individuals, as possible, who are interested in Environmental Education to share and discuss what it is that they are doing and to produce a White Paper concerning the state of Environmental Education on Long Island. Information will be collected from the various groups to produce a resource directory that would be of value to students, parents, educators, and other interested groups on Long Island.
Additionally, participants of this summit will have an opportunity to provide input on the development of the Environmental Literacy Standards for New York State. The New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA) spearheading this effort has expressed a desire to collect input from the Long Island community as they frame these Standards. We thought this would be a good opportunity to do so. Pending federal legislation includes a requirement for states to have an environmental literacy plan in place to be eligible for funding – information gathered during this meeting would be used to help develop such a plan. The NYSOEA has taken the lead in assisting the State in this effort.
We hope that you will participate in this event and in doing so, help to develop a more cohesive Island—wide approach to environmental education. Upon receiving your RSVP, we will send out the NYSOEA draft document for your input as well as the actual agenda for the day.
New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright will be the keynote speaker
Melvyn Morris, Ed.D.
Educational Programs Administrator
Brookhaven National Laboratory
2010: Reading, Writing & Thinking
the Hudson Valley
FDR Home & Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY
Placed-Based Education Pioneer David Sobel To Keynote Summer Institute
Area educators are invited to discover new ways to use the region’s special places to teach all disciplines and grade levels at Reading, Writing, & Thinking the Hudson Valley. Registration is open for the 8th annual summer institute to be held July 27-29 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park. The program is organized by Teaching the Hudson Valley (THV).
More than 20 workshops will connect educators with artists, historians, writers, and scientists, as well as their colleagues from schools, parks, and historic sites throughout the Valley. On Day 2 participants will choose one of five off-site experiences.
This year’s keynote address, “PLACE-BASED EDUCATION: Making School More Like A Farmer’s Market,” will be delivered by David Sobel , co-director of the Center for Place-Based Education, Antioch University New England. “Teaching doesn’t have to be limited by textbooks that crowd out real-life experiences,” said Sobel. “Place-based education is a response to the alienation of schools from community. Let’s bring education back into the neighborhood. Let’s get the town engineers, farmers, museum curators, mayors, historic site interpreters, and environmental educators onto the schoolyard and inside the four walls of the schools.”
For more info: www.teachingthehudsonvalley.org
THV is a program of the National Park Service/Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College.
The New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA), a not-for-profit 501(C) (3), is the lead organization and one of the oldest environmental and outdoor education organizations in the country. NYSOEA’s Environmental Literacy Committee was formed in January 2009. Members of this committee meet monthly and consist of the following partners: Audubon New York, Children in Nature New York, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York University’s Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, Scenic Hudson, Sharpe Reservation/ Fresh Air Fund, Teatown Lake Reservation, State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and Teacher Environmental Education Preparation (TEEP). Members of these organizations have given countless hours, under the umbrella of NYSOEA, in working toward an Environmental Literacy Plan for New York. In the last 10 months, the ELC has hosted 6 regional roundtables across New York with approximately 100 participants. These newly forged relationships signal the beginning of a growing coalition of organizations dedicated to educating our children to become environmentally literate adults who are capable of making informed decisions for a sustainable future. On December 15th, NYSOEA’s Environmental Literacy Committee submitted an Environmental Education Grant proposal to the EPA for a project total of $109,000. If awarded, the committee will be able to move effectively forward towards developing a state-wide environmental literacy plan…but we aren’t waiting for the money to begin work on an ELP!
The ultimate goal of environmental education is the development of an environmentally literate citizenry who are informed environmental stewards. Linking local and regional efforts with a statewide agenda for environmental literacy and children’s right to access nature will build a strong base to work towards the long-term outcome of environmentally literate citizens. With the capacity building funding from the EPA, NYSOEA aims to unite stakeholders from the formal and non-formal sectors of education, related natural resource fields, state agencies, and not for profits to develop a cohesive and comprehensive environmental education network that encourages both educators and parents to connect their students and children to a vast array of natural resources. Through this effort, we will create the infrastructure to support environmental literacy in New York State.
The ELC, with help and input from a broad group of stakeholders, plans to develop and implement an environmental literacy plan, generate a statewide web-based database for environmental and outdoor education providers and programs, create outreach materials on environmental literacy specific to New York State, develop and offer five regional environmental literacy workshops, and host a state-wide conference chaired by NYSOEA with a theme of environmental literacy, environmental, and outdoor education. We will engage the environmental education leadership needed to develop strong standards that address quality field-based education, service learning, and an authentic outdoor experience every year for students from kindergarten through grade 12 in a comprehensive environmental literacy plan. The planned database will be available to educators, parents, and citizens. This information site will assist in providing an expanded audience with meaningful connections to the natural world and access to information related to environmental education. Our objectives also include creating pre-service teacher, in-service teacher, and non-formal educator professional development opportunities using the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) Guidelines for Excellence while identifying environmental education strands within the K-12 New York State Learning Standards.
The Environmental Literacy Plan will aim to develop critical thinking skills amongst the citizens of New York regarding environmental issues locally and globally to foster environmental stewardship. The target audiences are pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, non-formal educators, parents, environmental leaders, state agencies, health care providers, not for profits, faith-based, and community organizations.
Here’s some of the ways that you can volunteer your expertise, passion, and time over the next 18 months in the work toward an NYS ELP:
- We need conference committee members for the 2011 NYSOEA conference to be held at Honor’s Haven Resort & Spa, Ellenville, NY, Oct 20-23, 2011. The theme will be environmental literacy, environmental education, and connecting children to the outdoors. The plans (keynotes, entertainment, etc.) for the conference should be unveiled in September 2010 at the NAAEE conference co-hosted by NYSOEA.
- Some of the talent we need: connecting with Teacher Centers and BOCES, STANYS, etc, registration, workshops & program planning, fieldtrip planning, advertising/outreach, conference booklet design and printing, hospitality, raffle items, auction items, and of course – conference co-chairs!
- Join the ELC’s Coalition Building and Outreach sub-committee to continue work on coalition building including outreach and partnering with a variety of stakeholders such as state agencies, faith-based organizations, health care professionals, community groups, not for profits, land trusts, schools, and universities.
- Assist with the education subcommittees to document research and begin to develop literature and outreach materials on environmental literacy and the benefits of environmental education and outdoor experiences. Examine other states’ work on these efforts; pull together regional working groups from the 100 participants of the environmental literacy roundtables to begin draft documents for an environmental literacy plan. The ELC will work together to combine all outreach and participation to be as inclusive as possible with various stakeholders.
- Help the ELC and NYSOEA Communications Committee begin a framework for and gathering of information for an online database via NYSOEA website to articulate regional and statewide opportunities for environmental and outdoor education.
- Assist with fundraising and grant writing as needed for NYSOEA to continue work on the ELP.
- Join with the ELC to begin the planning of environmental literacy workshops including framework, outreach, topics, facilitators, dates, and locations in the five regions that NYSOEA has identified in New York.
How you can get involved:
- Sign up for e-mail updates about New York’s ELP progress including workshops and workgroups and to let us know how you’d like to help with the subcommittees listed above by contacting Susan Hereth – firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tim Stanley – email@example.com
- Have your organization join the No Child Left Inside coalition and add their name to the growing list of supporters from New York – www.ncli.org
- You do not need to be a member of NYSOEA to participate in the environmental literacy work, but there is strength in numbers, so we’d encourage you to give a NYSOEA membership a try – www.nysoea.org
The technological wonders of our age have allowed us to be tuned in and stay better connected to our favorite entertainment, social networking sites and current affairs. As we become more connected we have also become more disconnected from our natural world. As educators we see first hand that parents are skeptical of the unknown that lurks in nature and consider the indoors as a safe alternative. However, the outdoors draws our curiosity and to be deprived of outdoor play can be described as synonymous of being robbed of our childhood. It is in the forest our imagination blossoms and we come to understand our relationship to the world, it is here we transform from the environmentally ignorant to the environmentally literate citizens that come to appreciate and respect the natural world.
In a very short time, author Richard Louv and the Children and Nature Network (C&NN), the organization inspired by his 2005 Last Child in the Woods book, is reversing the “Nature-deficit disorder” epidemic. Hundreds of grass roots groups nationwide are rediscovering the outdoors, and recently the federal government reintroduced the, “No Child Left Inside Act” on Earth Day 2009. This legislation would encourage states to create environmental literacy plans that would ensure environmental literacy for as part of K-12 education. This legislation also calls for the professional development of teachers and educators and outdoor learning experiences for students.
In response to the national momentum, NYSOEA formed an environmental literacy committee to address this issue in New York State. As the statewide outdoor education association it was a logical step for our organization, of formal and non-formal educators, to take a proactive stance in helping build momentum at the state level. Professors Beth Klein, from SUNY Cortland and Mary Leou, from New York University approached the NYSOEA Board of Directors with an interest to develop an environmental literacy plan for New York Sate. That led to the formation of the Environmental Literacy Committee in January 2009. The committee set forth to inform NYSOEA members and also gather preliminary information on how to define an environmentally literate citizen in New York State and the pathways that lead environmental literacy. A series of roundtables were held in the five regions of NYSOEA. The goal of the roundtables was to engage constituents in a dialogue about the development of an environmental literacy plan. Important information was gleaned from this series of conversations and the results were presented at the 2009 NYSOEA conference in September. The results will be posted on the NYSOEA website.
The committee’s ultimate goal is to ensure an environmental literacy plan comes to fruition in New York State that provides for environmental education in grades K-12 and teacher training and preparation to support it. The committee will also work with the New York State Education Department to secure an Environmental Literacy Plan for NYS. Once New York has an environmental literacy plan and The No Child Left Inside Legislation is signed into law, New York will be eligible for federal funding to begin steering our educational system into a direction that will inspire our youth to better understand and make the decisions that ensure a healthy future for a sustainable world.
|Susan Hereth, Committee Chair
NYSOEA Environmental Literacy Committee
Scenic Hudson Education Coordinator
|Mary Leou, New York University
34 Stuyvesant Street 5th fl.
New York, NY 10003
|Beth Klein, SUNY Cortland
PO Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
- NYSOEA Ning Site: Visit to view and participate in committee updates, online discussions, etc.
- The Bradley Bill: NY State Environmental Education legislation – in process
- The Kavanagh Bill: NY State Environmental Education legislation – in process
- No Child Left Inside Federal Environmental Education legislation – in process: