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Environmental Education Advocates Descend On Washington, D.C.
Written by: Danielle Moodie-Mills and Jenna Peters
This week, members of the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) coalition traveled from as far as Hawaii, New Mexico, and Kentucky to educate their Members of Congress about the NCLI Act and environmental education’s role in strengthening America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Our ultimate goal is to convince Congress to embed the NCLI Act into the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which we expect Congress to move on this summer!
After a training session at the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C., with policy experts from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Earth Day Network, North American Association for Environmental Education, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, National Wildlife Federation and others, we left for meetings on Capitol Hill.
Members and staff were excited to hear from their constituents on such an important issue. I joined a meeting with the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education who shared a story about a child who often “goofed around” in the back of the classroom, but perked up when her teacher started teaching about things that excited her like the trees outside and how they help produce the clean air she breaths. Environmental Education is instrumental in this type of systems thinking and helps to foster innovation in America. It empowers students to see the connection between their subject areas, their daily lives and interactions with the world around them.
By the end of the day, about a dozen state affiliates of the North American Association for Environmental Education met with more than 25 Congressional offices to educate them about the NCLI Act and environmental education’s role in the global, clean energy economy. Check out this video report from leaders of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico!
The inclusion of NCLI in ESEA will substantially strengthen America’s education systems by:
- Incentivizing states to develop State Environmental Literacy Plans to ensure that every student is prepared to understand the environmental challenges of the future;
- Funding professional development for teachers to deliver high quality environmental education and utilize the local environment as an extension of the classroom;
- Improving systems and critical thinking through environmental education which aids in boosting student achievement; and
- Encouraging teachers, administrators, and school leadership to make time and resources available for environmental education for all students.