Revisiting Interviews from Weeks 4-6

This week, we want to highlight the importance of creating partnerships between the formal and nonformal education sectors to advance environmental literacy across the nation.

This week, we want to highlight the importance of creating partnerships between the formal and nonformal education sectors to advance environmental literacy across the nation.

We have had discussions with knowledge leaders Judy Braus, Andra Yeghoian, and Jason Morris about this topic, so we wanted to revisit the benefits of these partnerships, and how they can provide a holistic environmental literacy solution and positive outcomes for all K-12 students across the US.

Read the article here.

Watch the interview highlights below:

Relevant Links

Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) – AEOE is a statewide organization that was created by and for outdoor and environmental educators. It is the California affiliate for the North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE), its mission is to advance the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California.

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) – NAAEE uses the power of education to advance environmental literacy and civic engagement to create a more equitable and sustainable future. It works with educators, policymakers, and partners throughout the world. 

Pisces Foundation – The Pisces Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations to accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. It supports early movers, innovative ideas, and bold leaders and organizations, adapting based on what it learns. 

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.

Ten Strands – Ten Strands is the leading field catalyst and “backbone organization” in the state of California and the founder of CAELI. It partners with the state government, local education agencies, providers of environmental education, community members, and funders to make environmental literacy a reality for all California’s K–12 students.

News and Events

National Environmental Education Week

Apr. 19-23, 2021 NEEF

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) is the nation’s largest celebration of environmental education.

Live Panel for Students: Covering the Climate Crisis

Apr. 22, 2021 The New York Times

Join this Earth Day interactive panel as three journalists share how The Times helps readers understand the fascinating, complex and vitally important field of climate science.

Assessing Connecting to Nature

Apr. 29, 2021 AEOE

Join for a 2-hour workshop diving into the Practitioner’s Guide to Assessing Connection to Nature, a new guidebook for helping you measure this elusive concept with young children, teenagers, or adults.

Mangroves from space: 30 years of satellite images are helping us understand how climate change threatens these valuable forests

Mar. 18, 2021 The Conversation

Australia is home to around 2% of the world’s mangrove forests and is the fifth most mangrove-forested country on Earth. Mangroves play a crucial role in the ecosystem thanks to the dizzying array of plants, animals and birds they feed, house and protect…

Plastic Is Creating an Environmental Justice Crisis

Mar. 30, 2021 Gizmodo

There’s growing awareness that plastics are an environmental disaster for marine and terrestrial ecosystems alike. A new United Nations report published Tuesday shows they’re also a huge problem for human beings—and that they don’t affect us all equally.

Meet Clayton Anderson, Bay Nature’s 2021 Environmental Education Hero

Mar. 30, 2021 Bay Nature

Meet Clayon Anderson, this year’s Environmental Educator Local Hero, and learn about his work to teach students young and old about birds and the issues affecting them.

Prioritize environmental justice resilience bill

Apr. 06, 2021 CalMatters

AB 1087 charts a new course for climate resilience that makes investments in communities so they can be prepared for disasters.

As the Climate Crisis Grows, a Movement Gathers to Make ‘Ecocide’ an International Crime Against the Environment

Apr. 07, 2021 Inside Climate News

A growing number of world leaders advocate making ecocide a crime before the International Criminal Court, to serve as a “moral line” for the planet.

The emerging frontiers of climate activism

Apr. 08, 2021 Axios

The new(ish) group Law Students for Climate Accountability just launched a pressure campaign against the heavyweight law firm Gibson Dunn over its work for oil industry clients. Why does this matter?

Government of Canada invests $6 million in climate action and education for young Canadians

Apr. 09, 2021 Cision

Canadians want clean air and clean water for their children and grandchildren. When companies pollute our natural environment, they pay the price and the Government of Canada ensures that environmental good follows environmental harm by investing those fines in projects that benefit the environment.

Relevancy with Environmental Justice

Here is a look at some interview highlights from environmental literacy knowledge leaders Craig Strang, Dr. Gerald Lieberman, and Isha Clarke.

Check out the article where we discuss the important topics these leaders spoke with us about in previous interviews: click here.

Watch the interview highlights below:


Copyright © Green Guardians Inc.

A Look at Week 1-3 Interviews

This week, we wanted to take a look back at our previous interviews we have had with environmental education knowledge leaders and revisit the need for equitable access to environmental literacy tools.

This week, we wanted to take a look back at our previous interviews we have had with environmental education knowledge leaders and revisit the need for equitable access to environmental literacy tools.

We spoke with Dr. Gerald Lieberman, Director of SEER, about the environmental literacy movement in California. We interviewed Craig Strang, Associate Director of the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science, about environmental justice and designing at the margins. Lastly, we spoke with Isha Clarke, youth activist with Youth vs. Apocalypse, about activism and environmental justice.

The main topic we wanted to revisit is environmental literacy and equitable access for all students. In order for our community to have an impact on the environment around us, we need to start educating students on culturally and environmentally relevant topics, as well as on actionable tasks that can be taken beyond the classroom. One of the main challenges that educators face when implementing environmental literacy is equitable access to resources, programs, and relevant lessons. This issue is especially prevalent in low-income and underrepresented communities.  

Read the article here.

Watch the interview highlights below:

Copyright © Green Guardians Inc.

A Look at Environmental Literacy and Equitable Access

Here at Green Guardians, we wanted to take a look back at our previous interviews we have had with environmental education knowledge leaders and revisit the need for equitable access to environmental literacy tools. Our first interview was with Dr. Gerald Lieberman, Director of the State Education and Environmental Roundtable (SEER) where he has been instrumental in the development of California’s initiatives around environment-based education (EBE). In his role with SEER, Dr. Lieberman developed a strategy for implementing EBE called the EIC Model ™ or Environment as an Integrating Context for learning which focuses on developing localized instructional programs at the school or district level. 

As Dr. Lieberman noted in his book Education and the Environment (2014)

“The major educational and environmental challenges that our society is currently facing are inextricably connected to the ways humans interact with the world around them… changing the way teachers teach and students learn is the only way to develop an educated citizenry capable of resolving these challenges.” 

Dr. Gerald Lieberman

In other words, in order for our community to have an impact on the environment around us, we need to start educating students on culturally and environmentally relevant topics, as well as on actionable tasks that can be taken beyond the classroom. One of the main challenges that educators face when implementing environmental literacy is equitable access to resources, programs, and relevant lessons. This issue is especially prevalent in low-income and underrepresented communities.  

To address relevancy in environmental literacy implementation, Craig Strang, the Associate Director of the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science, advocates for designing at the margins. To design at the margins, we need to identify marginalized communities and work with their representatives to design locally relevant environmental literacy programs and projects. “The lesson is that when you design at the margins you can often address the needs of marginal populations while also serving the mainstream,” expressed Craig. 

We spoke with Craig Strang about the issue of environmental justice and equity in the space, and he believes that we should place environmental justice at the heart of the emerging discipline of environmental literacy. He suggests we start by recognizing that environmental degradation typically also incubates a problem of social justice. Whether we consider the location of polluting industries, or the marketing of unhealthy foods, or the ravages of fires and floods, the fallout disproportionately impacts historically marginalized groups, particularly people of color and people from low-income families. 

In relation to environmental literacy and environmental justice, we are seeing youth leaders emerge where education has been insufficient and environmental challenges have greatly impacted communities. We spoke with Isha Clarke, a youth activist and one of the founding members of Youth vs. Apocalypse, and she emphasized that environmental literacy is environmental justice due to the fact that they are inseparable for many underserved communities who disproportionately suffer the impact of many environmental issues. Isha explained how environmental literacy can advance “collective liberation from systems of oppression” by helping people see the interdependence between natural and human systems. It also addresses the fact that while educators may understand the importance of learning about the environment, the environment is core to the identity of many youths today. Using the environment as a multi-disciplinary lens to highlight and provide context around injustices facing students’ communities will reach students and inspire action. 

In California and other leading states, environmental literacy is being developed as a multi-disciplinary, project-based learning domain, ideally linked to programs offered by a wide range of community-based partners. It is important for schools across the nation to roll out environmental literacy initiatives in an equitable manner to make the greatest impact on our society’s relationship with the environmental challenges prevalent today. Craig notes: “Access includes making sure that underserved schools have access to teaching and curricular resources and subsidies that cover the cost of school projects, enrolling in community programs, and materials and transport.” 

As we look forward to the future of environmental education, environmental literacy must be at the forefront of school curriculums. Through interdisciplinary lessons, educators and students can connect with environmental topics in non-traditional and exciting ways. Working with community-based partners is a great way for counties and school districts to get a jump-start on introducing environmental literacy into their curriculums as CBPs provide a wealth of knowledge and resources for educators.  

Our upcoming CAELI Community-Based Partner Hub, in association with CAELI and Ten Strands, aims to provide equitable access for County Offices of Education, school districts, and educators to environmental education resources and programs provided by community-based partners. 

See the K-12 Environmental Literacy timeline here.

Copyright © Green Guardians Inc.

CAELI Community-Based Partner Hub Press Release

NEWS RELEASE 

Green Guardians launches California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI)

 Community-based Partner Hub

Oakland, CA — March 31, 2021 — Green Guardians is excited to announce the launch of the CAELI Community-Based Partner Hub (The Hub) in collaboration with CAELI and Ten Strands and with generous initial funding support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Morgan Family Foundation. 

The Hub promotes environmental literacy by building educator awareness of community-based partners (CBP) and their products and services and fosters educator-CBP relationships for increased student enrichment and engagement. Through The Hub, county offices of education showcase and promote existing environmental education providers to districts and schools as well as discover new partners looking to align their offerings to the needs of the K-12 school system. Currently, four California county offices of education will have a dedicated presence at The Hub — San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Joaquin — with more coming online later in the year. San Francisco USD, a district and a county, will also have a dedicated presence at launch.  

The goals of The Hub are to increase the visibility and access to environmental education partners and providers and be a reliable central repository for districts, schools, and educators to identify programs that align with their local needs and meet educational standards.

The Key Themes of The Hub:

  • Increase Equitable Access to Environmental Literacy Programs
  • Support Capacity Building for Administrators and Educators 
  • Create Connections Between the Formal and Nonformal Education Sectors

“The Hub will help with equity efforts by making it apparent which districts/schools/grade levels are receiving services from the CBPs within the county and where access needs to be expanded.

Dean Reese, Science Coordinator, Outdoor Education and Environmental Literacy, San Joaquin County Office of Education

County Offices of Education can enroll in The Hub and get their own county-specific portal through the central CAELI site. Through their portal, they can provide links to their resources, promote their services, and most importantly direct users to vetted environmental education providers.

Community-based partners (CBPs) can sign-up directly through the central CAELI site and promote their organization and programs. CBPs will have the opportunity to highlight how their offerings meet K-12 school system needs by connecting them to environmental topics and identifying key links to California’s standards and Environmental Principles & Concepts (EP&Cs).

Districts, Schools, and Educators can clearly identify providers that offer standards and EP&Cs aligned locally relevant, and culturally responsive programs for their students. Utilizing filters such as grades, subjects, topics, standards, and availability, educators compare and connect with providers and programs that best suit the needs of their stakeholders.

About CAELI, Ten Strands, and Green Guardians

CAELI, a project of Ten Strands, is a public-private partnership that works statewide, with guidance from a leadership council, to create systems change in support of environmental literacy with a focus on access, equity, and cultural relevance for all students.

Ten Strands is a field catalyst for the K-12 school system in California focused on advancing the environmental literacy of students. It partners with state government, local education agencies, providers of environmental education, community members, and funders to make environmental literacy a reality for all California’s K–12 students.

Green Guardians is a new California-based education technology company dedicated to advancing environmental literacy as an activity-based and standards-linked paradigm in K-12 education across the United States and the world. 

Contact Green Guardians today to become part of The Hub: info@greenguardians.com

Visit www.greenguardians.com to learn more!

Copyright © Green Guardians Inc.

Creating an Environmental Identity with Amity Sandage

Amity Sandage is the Environmental Literacy Coordinator for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE) where she leads a countywide effort to promote environmental literacy for K–12 students. Amity has been a leader in environmental education in Santa Cruz and the Greater Bay Area for over a decade in both the formal and non-formal sectors.

“Environmental identity relates to how much a person feels they are part of the natural environment, not separate from it, and the strength of someone’s environmental identity is correlated to how likely they are to take care of the environment.”

Amity Sandage

Amity Sandage is the Environmental Literacy Coordinator for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE) where she leads a countywide effort to promote environmental literacy for K–12 students. Amity has been a leader in environmental education in Santa Cruz and the Greater Bay Area for over a decade in both the formal and non-formal sectors.

Green Guardians had the opportunity to speak with Amity last week about the work she’s doing to build capacity among educators to integrate environmental literacy into learning experiences for students. A key first-step of becoming environmentally literate and taking solution-oriented action is developing an “environmental identity.” Amity believes that before educators can successfully cultivate environmentally literate students they must go through this process themselves.

Read more about the capacity-building work Amity has spearheaded here. Listen to Amity give an example of collaboration and capacity building between the formal and non-formal sectors here.

Relevant Links 

Coastal Watershed Council 

The Coastal Watershed Council is a dynamic and growing non-profit based in Santa Cruz, CA, working to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a community destination by inspiring people to explore, enhance and protect this critical natural resource. 

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary 

Designated in 1992, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is a federally protected marine area offshore of California’s central coast. Stretching from Marin to Cambria, the sanctuary encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles and 6,094 square statute miles (4,601 nmi2) of the ocean, extending an average distance of 30 miles from shore. The sanctuary contains extensive kelp forests and one of North America’s largest underwater canyons and closest-to-shore deep ocean environments. 

Santa Cruz Climate Action Network 

Santa Cruz Climate Action Network (SCCAN) seeks to address the current Climate Change Emergency, recognizing that failure to act quickly will have devastating effects on future generations of humans and other life forms. SCCAN’s Santa Cruz Climate Speakers specialize in Climate Change education curriculum tailored to fit the needs of a specific class, with the goal to provide information, inspire dialogue, and motivate solutions. Their aim is to have all local students graduate with literacy in Climate Change.   

Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School 

At the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School, fifth and sixth-grade students experience a four- or five-day residential, hands-on science program. Students focus on investigating the rich coastal redwood forest ecosystem. Residential Outdoor Science School promotes care for self, others, and the natural world upon which our survival depends. We are committed to a safe and stimulating educational environment that nurtures an inquisitive mind. 

Santa Cruz County Teacher Leadership Institute 

The Teacher Leadership Institute for Science and Environmental Literacy is an innovative year-long program designed to support emerging teacher leaders by deepening knowledge, increasing confidence, and enhancing abilities to support the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards using the environment as a source of phenomena and connecting to the California Environmental Principles and Concepts. 

Santa Cruz COE TLI K-12 Lesson Sequences 

In 2020-21, Santa Cruz COE TLI launched the Relevant Environmental Action & Learning (REAL) Science Institute: Phase 2 of the Teacher Leadership Institute for Science and Environmental Literacy. They focused on reviewing and strengthening the lessons for teachers and students across 10 counties. 

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History 

The Museum features educational, hands-on exhibits for children, families, and adults who are curious about the world they live in and the natural history of one of the most scenic locations on the California coast. Many locals know the Museum by the life-size gray whale statue, created in 1982, that rests near its entrance, between Tyrrell Park and Seabright State Beach. 

The Bird School Project 

The Bird School Project uses outdoor experiential learning to inspire and equip students and teachers to love, study, and steward their local environment. Limited school resources, transportation constraints, and a lack of time and support often prevent students from connecting directly with the environment. Bird School works to meet the need of utilizing outdoor locations such as schoolyards and backyards for learning and exploration opportunities. 

Tierra Pacifica Charter School 

Tierra Pacifica Charter School, formed in 1998, is a collaborative effort among parents, teachers, and community members committed to the development of the whole child. Through the establishment of a charter school, we believe we can work within the school system to create an innovative alternative model to traditional public elementary schools. Tierra Pacifica educates children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. The school is designed for families who want to take an active role in the education of their children, both in and out of the classroom. 

News and Events

Outdoor Learning Panel
Mar. 30, 2021 AEOE
Join for a 2-hour workshop exploring outdoor instruction. Geared towards classroom teachers, but applicable for folks in other settings as well. This panel discussion will include practical advice, equipment recommendations, and teaching tips.

Inside-Out Leadership Series
Mar. 30, 2021 The Children & Nature Network
The Inside-Out Leadership Series brings children and nature leaders together for virtual networking and workshops, plus special events and world-class conferences.

Youth Stewards
Apr. 07, 2021 Grassroot Ecology

The Youth Stewards program for high school and middle schoolers gives students the opportunity to safely connect with one another, learn about nature, and make a positive impact in their community.

6 Child Development Benefits Of Outdoor Learning
Feb. 14, 2021 moms
Outdoor learning helps children in their development by making children healthier, improved sensory skills, and so much more!

Faces of Environmental Justice
Mar. 01, 2021 San Francisco Bay View
The Black History Month 2021 Senate advancement of Biden appointee Michael S. Regan as EPA administrator sends a clear signal of commitment to environmental justice.

What Can Organic Solar Cells Bring To The Table?
Mar. 03, 2021 Ensia
OSCs expand the potential applications of solar technology, but there are still challenges to be overcome before large-scale deployment.

Climate Champions: Collaborative Learning for Climate Action
Mar. 08, 2021 Ten Strands
Tackling the climate crisis requires creating climate champions of all ages—people who are educated on climate science, passionate about addressing the climate crisis, and engaged in concrete efforts to “bend the curve” of global warming…

California school meals fall short on health and climate goals with meat-heavy menus
Mar. 10, 2021 Friends of the Earth
Pandemic spotlights school food as essential to health and climate resilience as new state and federal bills tackle racial, economic, and nutrition disparities.

Growing support for valuing ecosystems will help conserve the planet
Mar. 10, 2021 Nature
The idea that ecosystems have monetary value now has global support — and creates a route to protecting Earth’s endangered regions.

First-ever study of all Amazon greenhouse gases suggest the forest is worsening climate change
Mar. 12, 2021 National Geographic
The first broad look at all of the gases that affect how the Amazon works—not just CO2—reveals a system on the brink.

Outdoor Education Week in Santa Cruz with Amity Sandage

This week we spoke with Amity Sandage of Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE), where she leads a countywide effort to promote environmental literacy for K–12 students as the Environmental Literacy Coordinator.

In our interview, Amity spoke at length about the need to advance equity for students in environmental education, build capacity among educators, and how cooperation between the formal K-12 public school system and non-formal environmental education providers is essential to both.

A beautiful example of this occurring in Santa Cruz County was through “Outdoor Education Week”  which Amity outlines here:

Hear more from our interview with Amity below:

Do you know someone or an organization that should be featured?

Write to us and tell us who they are! Contact us!