The Education and Environment Initiative
California is a national leader in creating the next generation of environmental advocates and stewards. Through the development of curricular resources with the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI), the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy guidelines from the California Department of Education in 2015 and most recently new policy (SB 720) that deepen state resources and commitment towards developing an environmentally literate public.
Each year thousands of students have the opportunity of the transformative experience that is environmental education. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the impact of environment-based educational experiences.
- California’s education system already supports environmental literacy in the new science standards and framework, the new history-social science framework, and the upcoming health framework.
- Experiential outdoor education enhances student achievement, particularly in STEM subjects. Researchers agree that hands-on outdoor instruction from effective teachers has the power to help all students, including English language learners, become more engaged and learn more during instructional time.
- Garden-based learning and environmental service-learning fosters critical thinking and collective problem-solving skills, addressing students’ need for experiences that prepare them for higher education, the modern workplace, and civic engagement. It also provides great nutrition education and supports healthy eating habits.
- Outdoor learning experiences reduce symptoms of ADD and ADHD and stress levels, and increase self-esteem, problem-solving abilities, motivation to learn, and interest in improving the environment.
- Standards-based environmental literacy efforts support the State Board of Education’s college and career readiness goals.
California’s A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy (Blueprint) provides critical documentation and justification needed of how the Exploring New Horizons experience supports individual school LCAP plans, STEM and career technical education as well as state education goals. California’s plan to create an environmentally literate public pulls together the tools, resources, support, and justification to help expand access and utilization of green learning environments.
Utilize your residential environmental education experience with ENH as just the start of your connection to and engagement with the natural world. Exploring New Horizons has developed tools and resources to support vocabulary acquisition, concept discovery and hands-on opportunities to build upon the lessons introduced presented with the flair that has come to been associated with Exploring New Horizons. Talk with ENH staff during your pre-trip experience about how we can support NGSS lessons at Outdoor School in the classroom.
All of us at Exploring New Horizons know first-hand the importance of environmental literacy and access to residential environmental education is to the well-being and overall education of our youth, our communities, and ultimately our planet. Thank you for all you do to ensure this opportunity and critical experience is available to the students from the greater Bay Area.