Why is EE Important: Making the Case

The need for environmental literacy in the state of Colorado is clear. Today’s students will face many environment-related challenges as they grow into tomorrow’s leaders.

Environmental education increases student awareness of these challenges, and it provides students with the necessary knowledge to make informed environmental decisions. Moreover, it builds lifelong stewards for Colorado’s wealth of natural resources, spaces, and lifestyle. But these are not the only benefits of environmental education. Research shows that effective environmental education benefits students and classroom learning in a number of ways.

Here are just a few of these benefits:

Student Performance

Life Skills

Real World Learning


21st Century Workforce






Improves Student Focus, Attentiveness and Performance

  • Integrates material across traditional core disciplines, such as science, language arts, math, and social studies
  • Motivates students to be creative and critical thinkers
  • Ignites student curiosity by engaging them in hands-on field activities in an educational setting
  • Stimulates student enthusiasm for learning by incorporating all five senses into daily learning
  • Increases student retention

Develops Life Skills

  • Provides students with opportunities to develop and use critical thinking, problem-solving, listening, and communication skills
  • Teaches students how to gather, organize, interpret, and synthesize information
  • Encourages students to ask questions, speculate, and hypothesize about the world around them
  • Promotes students to think critically about the choices they make and weigh the opportunity costs associated with them
  • Improves student leadership skills such as working in teams, and listening to and accepting diverse opinions


Connects Classroom Learning to the Real World 

  • Helps students understand the interrelationship between humans and the environment
  • Fosters an understanding of how everyday choices and activities impact resources and communities
  • Introduces students to current real-world environmental challenges
  • Provides opportunities for students and schools to engage community and/or business spokespersons in learning experiences
  • Utilizes Colorado’s natural resources—wetlands, nature trails, wildlife, community parks, forests, rivers—to offer real world learning experiences, both inside and outside the school


Fosters Student Engagement with School Buildings and Grounds

  • Utilizes the school building as a teaching tool
     ~ Students can study and map energy and water use at their school
~ Students can explore purchasing, transportation, recycling, environmental health and safety, food services, and fitness practices at their school
~ Students can use the outdoor grounds as learning laboratories
~ Students can create and maintain gardens on school property


Gives students a sense of ownership in their school by allowing them to use the school buildings and grounds for learning

  • Engages students in discussions regarding school building usage and facility planning


Develops Students’ Critical Tools for the 21st Century Workforce

  • Prepares students to address the present and future environmental challenges and innovations that impact our quality of life as Coloradans.
  • Teaches students about the importance of the health of Colorado’s farms, forests, ranches, and wildlife
  • Exposes students to Colorado’s natural beauty and ways to protect it for future generations
  • Introduces students to a number of careers in green jobs, recreation, and tourism—all of which represent a significant source of state and local income
  • Creates an environmentally literate future workforce
  • Prepares students for the complex environmental issues and decisions they will need to make in the future
  • Promotes actions that take the long-term view
  • Shows students how they can make a positive impact in their school and/or community


Fosters Better Cooperation Among Communities, Businesses and Schools

  • Engages students in a variety of community-based projects that promote a sense of appreciation and positive regard for their communities
  • Helps students develop personal connections with their community and community leaders
  • Immerses students in local heritage, cultures, and landscapes
  • Utilizes the community and businesses as a learning laboratory
          ~ Parks
~ Nature Centers
~ Farms
~ Food Processing Plants
~ Museums
~ Public works (wastewater treatment plants, power generators
~ Government agencies
  • Joins forces with communities and businesses in a number of projects
          ~ Community gardens
~ Clean-up projects
~ Neighborhood health and safety improvements


Promotes a Healthier Student

  • Increases the time students spend outdoors
  • Provides students with opportunities to directly experience nature
  • Increases student sense of personal responsibility and self-esteem though involvement in community activities
  • Promotes healthy habits
  • Engages students in a variety of environment-related activities and recreations, thereby reducing the time they spend watching television, playing computer games, and participating in other sedentary activities

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

1536 Wynkoop St, Suite 314, Denver, CO 80202
phone: 303-273-9527
Contact Us