Environmental Literacy and Becoming a Green Leader

This week we spoke with Andra Yeghoian, the Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Coordinator at San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). Andra has moved from serving 1,200 students at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA, to leading the environmental literacy initiatives for SMCOE.

“The education system is so fundamental to our cultural narrative, so if we want to make a paradigm shift happen, to move from the status quo to sustainable lifestyles, we have to make sure the education system is on board.” 

Andra Yeghoian

This week we spoke with Andra Yeghoian, the Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Coordinator at San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). Andra has moved from serving 1,200 students at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA, to leading the environmental literacy initiatives for SMCOE.

Andra’s ability to scale and create impact from the classroom to the county level is a testament to her work as a Green Leader.

In our interview, Andra breaks down how she got her start in environmental education, and how the work she does now at the county level is creating pathways for future leaders in the space.

Hear more from Andra here:

Andra provides insight on how environmental education can expand from the classroom to influence our cultural experiences. Read more here.

Relevant Links 

Bishop O’Dowd Commitment to Sustainability  

Awarded the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School and a Bay Area Green Certified Business in 2016 under Andra’s leadership. Learn more about Bishop O’Dowd’s sustainable work on campus in energy, water, transportation, waste, food and dining, air quality, and construction and renovations. 

ELSI Environmental Justice Resources  

Developed by SMCOE Environmental Literacy Initiative, this repository contains environmental justice resources for teachers and students to customize and adapt to their classrooms. 

Institute for Humane Education

The Institute for Humane Education helps educators teach about human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection to create a world where all can thrive.

National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative  

Hosted on the Green Schoolyards website, you’ll find the National COVID-19 Learning Initiative’s ever-growing body of work. SMCOE is one of the leaders driving this project. 

One Planet Living Framework  

Based on learning from the BedZED eco-village, Bioregional created the One Planet Living sustainability framework – comprising ten simple principles and detailed goals and guidance – and developed it together with WWF. 

SMCOE Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative  

Explore Andra’s site for the San Mateo County Office of Education. You’ll find a seemingly endless amount of useful resources and information on the work SMCOE is doing. These paid fellowships build teacher and administrative capacity for driving sustainable and climate-resilient transformative change in their classroom and school communities.

Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools Educator Fellowships 

These paid fellowships build teacher and administrative capacity for driving sustainable and climate resilient transformative change in their classroom and school communities.

Ten Strands 

Ten Strands is the leading field catalyst in the state of California and key partner of SMCOE Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative.  

News and Events

7th Annual Environmental Education Symposium: Justice, Literacy, Wellness 
Feb. 25-28, 2021 Environmental Education Collaborative 

Attend a multi-day event filled with networking and skill-building as you interact with environmental educators throughout Riverside and San Bernardino. 

Conservation Education Conference on Virtual Learning
Mar. 2-4, 2021 NAAEE 

The public audience that we serve will continue to expect having online options for learning, and we can reach a broader audience in doing so. Learn about great tools and methodologies that your peers have implemented. 

Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge 
Deadline Mar. 1, 2021 Biomimicry Institute 

The Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a free, hands-on, project-based learning experience that provides classroom and informal educators with a new framework to introduce biomimicry and an interdisciplinary approach to science and environmental literacy. 

5 Environmental Stories To Look Out For In 2021 
Feb. 3, 2021 EARTHDAY.ORG 

From policy, to plastic, this year holds a lot in store for Restoring our Earth. Here are five topics to keep a lookout for this year. 

We need action on environmental equity — not just words 
Feb. 11, 2021 The Hill 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important access to the outdoors is for our health and well-being. This is especially true for lower-income communities of color that have borne the brunt of the pandemic and often lack access to good parks… 

COVID-19 Was Preventable, Now We Must Tackle Future Challenges Systematically – Here’s How
Feb. 12, 2021 Forbes 

Experts warned of a pandemic decades ago. Why weren’t we ready? 

Reimagining Science Education with Climate Change 
Feb. 16, 2021 Ten Strands 

Educator Kelley Le writes about her journey from being a student growing up in the inner cities of Los Angeles, to becoming an advocate for climate science education, with a focus on social justice and environmental inequities, and now, soon to publish her book. 

Four Steps President Biden Can Take to Ease the Extinction Crisis 
Feb. 17, 2021 Sierra 

Conservationists want the administration to do more to tackle biodiversity loss… 

Pollution kills 160,000 in world’s most toxic cities 
Feb. 18, 2021 The Times 

Pollution was behind 160,000 early deaths in five of the world’s biggest cities last year, an environmental report has found, despite huge improvements in air quality as traffic congestion fell during lockdowns… 

Climate Change: How much did it cost US economy in 2020? 
Feb. 19, 2021 BBC News 

The year 2020 saw a record number of costly hurricanes, wildfires, and storms, resulting in billions of dollars in damages. Since records began in 1980, billion-dollar climate disasters have become much more frequent… 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *