Healthier Kids, A Healthier World Rediscovering The Great Outdoors: Promoting Environmental EducationMarch 2010 CS3
What is the problem? • Today, we face unprecedented environmental challenges to our personal health, to our communities, to our country, and to our planet. • If these problems are to be solved, it will take knowledgeable and empowered citizens making wise personal choices for themselves, and sophisticated collective decisions as a society. • In the 21st century Environmental Literacy is no longer optional.
According to the latest Roper Report: 2/3 of all Americans fail even a basic environmental quiz. A majority of the public still does not know the leading causes of such issues as water pollution, air pollution and solid waste. What is the problem?
What is the Problem? Since the late 1980s, the percentage of Americans taking part in nature based activities has declined at slightly more than 1 percent a year. Participation is down 18 percent to 25 percent from peak levels. O.R. Pergams and P. A. Zaradic 2008 National Academy of Sciences ~February 4, 2008
What is the Problem? In the 21st Century American kids need to . . . • Have a greater understanding of their connection to natural systems • Develop sustainable behaviors towards consumption of energy and natural resources • Be more physically active • Be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities in an increasingly competitive economy • Develop the higher order thinking skills that we need in tomorrow’s scientists, innovators, and leaders
What is the Problem? In the 21st Century American kids are . . . • Less connected to nature spending less than one hour a day in unstructured outdoor play on average • Spending on average six hours a day on screen time (computers, television, electronic gaming) • Consuming at a rate 11 times their counterparts in China, 33 times children in Kenya (New York Times 2008) • Spending more time in the classroom focused on test preparation and rote memorization
What is the Solution? Environmental Education . . . • Includes learning in the field as well as the classroom • Is inherently interdisciplinary • Promotes school/community partnerships • Is hands-on, student-centered, inquiry driven, engages higher level thinking skills, and relevant to students' everyday lives • creates the capacity for stewardship and good citizenship regarding the environment
What is the solution? • EE improves studentachievement in core subject areas • Reduced discipline and classroom management problems • Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning • Greater student pride and ownership in accomplishments • Children who learned in outdoor classrooms increase science scores by 27%. • -California Department of Education 2005 Study
What is the solution? • EE provides critical tools for a 21st century workforce “in the coming decades, the public will more frequently be called upon to understand complex environmental issues, assess risk, evaluate proposed environmental plans and understand how individual decisions affect the environment at local and global scales. ~National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education – 2003 report Green-Collar Jobs
How do we get there?No Child Left Inside Acts of 2009 • Provides major boost in funding for environmental and outdoor education: • Authorizes $100 million a year for 5 years in grants for teacher training, student and outdoor education programs and capacity building. • Funding to state education agencies, local education agencies, schools, public park and recreation agencies, non-profits, and higher education institutions.
How do we get there?No Child Left Inside Acts of 2009 • Environmental Literacy Plans: • As a condition for receiving these funds, States must develop plans to show how students will graduate from high school environmentally literate. • No new mandates. • No new testing requirements. • Plans must be submitted in consultation with state natural resource and environmental agencies and with input from the public.
Who Supports No Child Left Inside? • Sponsors: Senator Jack Reed (RI) and Rep. JohnSarbanes (MD) • 18 Senate Co-sponsors (Republican & Democrat) • 85 House of Representatives Co-sponsors (Republican & Democrat)
Who Supports No Child Left Inside? . . . and over 1300 other organizations
Who Supports No Child Left Inside? • The Coalition is currently comprised of over 1500 Organizational Members, representing 50 million Americans
“We must do a far better job getting young people outside to exercise, play, and experience their natural world. This will require the attention of the public health community, environmental educators and our schools.” Dr. Michael J. Klag, MD, MPHDean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Who Supports No Child Left Inside?
Who Supports No Child Left Inside? "We believe that an environmentally sustainable business is just good business, given the growing concern for environmental problems across America. A key component of an environmentally sustainable business is a highly educated work force, particularly involving environmental principles." Chad Holliday, CEO DuPont
On September 19th , 2008 . . . The U.S. House of Representatives passed the NCLI Act with broad bipartisan support (294 in favor 108 opposed)
Outcomes for the Future • No Child Left Inside Acts incorporated into the ESEA (NCLB) provide support and direction for K-12 schools to engage in EE • Students graduate environmentally literate • Children are Healthier and Higher Performing • Educated citizen make sustainable decisions regarding the environment locally and globally.