Strategic Partnerships and Environmental Education (Newsletter)

May 18, 2017 0 By mbiggar

Connected to Place Spring 2017 Newsletter Content

  • California’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee
  • ChangeScale, a Bay Area environmental education collaborative
  • Recent Publications and Writings

Many organizations are working together across communities in California and the Bay Area to connect our children to nature and help them develop environmental literacy. Young people armed with deep knowledge of local nature and aware of our human impact on the environment are motivated to protect our planet’s natural resources. With the current denial of science and disregard for protecting the environment at the federal level, state support for environmental education (let alone climate action) is more important than ever. I’m grateful to be able to support partnerships that advance nature connection and environmental literacy for children and youth in California.

California’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee
Led by Ten Strands, the California Department of Education and other partners and with funding from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, this Environmental Literacy Steering Committee is making measured progress towards the goal of environmental literacy being an integral part of every child’s education. Through strategic action by the committee’s working groups, environmental principles and concepts have been integrated into science and history-social science statewide curriculum frameworks; teacher training on how to provide standards-based, environmental learning experiences for students is growing; legislation has been proposed to strengthen support for regional environmental education networks (please sign petition); and local partnerships among organizations that build pathways for student learning in, about and for the environment are being supported.

The Environmental Literacy Steering Committee was recognized by the Green Schools National Network and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council with the 2017 Moment for the Movement award. I’m pleased to work with Ten Strands and the committee on research and planning related to supporting local, cross-sector partnerships to advance environmental literacy across our state.

ChangeScale, a Bay Area environmental education collaborative
ChangeScale, an environmental education collaborative in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, has been bringing together organizations to network, plan and coordinate action for over six years. Based on a research study we conducted on the early stages of ChangeScale, Nicole Ardoin (Stanford University), Jason Morris (Pisces Foundation) and I wrote an article that was published this week online by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The article details both the challenges and ways forward with complex collaborative work and offers guidance for emerging partnerships aiming for social change. Since the time of this research study, ChangeScale has launched a School Partnership Initiative that supports community-level collaboration among school districts and environmental education providers. In this post for Ten Strands, I write about the great work ChangeScale, as well as the San Mateo County Office of Education, is doing in the Bay Area to support local partnerships that advance environmental literacy.

Earlier this month, ChangeScale gathered approximately 100 environmental educators and supporters from across the region at its third annual Environmental Literacy Congress. Midy Aponte from Spitfire Strategies delivered a keynote address on Smart and Mindful Messaging in these Uncertain Times. I helped plan the Congress and facilitated sessions in which participants discussed how to broaden the audience for advancing environmental education.

Recent Publications and Writings

Be well,

Matt Biggar
Connected to Place
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