Environmental Literacy in Las Vegas: Strategies for Success

Environmental literacy is becoming an increasingly important part of the curriculum in many school districts, and the California Center for Environmental Education (CCEE) is a great resource for best practices. To ensure students gain a deep understanding of the environment, educators should provide meaningful learning experiences in a variety of settings, such as nature, school grounds, local communities, residential outdoor science programs, and museums, aquariums, science centers, etc. Additionally, collaboration between educators is essential to incorporate environmental issues into classrooms. To realize the vision of environmental literacy for all students, schools must collaborate with expanded learning programs, community organizations, and informal education programs. Interdisciplinary and practical experiences are great ways to engage students and develop the same skills emphasized in the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Furthermore, members of the Working Group should participate in an ad hoc discussion group focusing on equity and diversity in environmental literacy. In order to provide students with the best possible education on environmental issues, professional learning about best pedagogical practices is necessary. This includes teaching environmental literacy through CA NGSS and CA CCSS as well as teaching it in a culturally relevant and competent way to diverse populations. Unfortunately, many students have limited access to expanded learning programs that would complement formal instruction on environmental issues. The California Education Code requires that the California Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C) be included in the adoption criteria for state textbooks and teaching materials. This provides a basis for the inclusion of environmental content in future teaching materials.

However, few publishers have invested in developing field-tested curricula and materials that include evaluation tools to track students' progress in acquiring knowledge, skills, and the ability to identify and solve environmental problems. In 2001, Senate Bill 373 was enacted to support teaching strategies that would improve recycling in California's school districts. This Plan is based on the significant and sustained efforts made by school environmental educators, informal environmental organizations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations over the past decade and a half.

Harriet Fabros
Harriet Fabros

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