Advocate for EE

How can we build support and value for environmental education in Colorado?

CAEE is working with partners across the state to build value and support for environmental education as high-quality education and as a long term solution to environmental issues and challenges. By building partnerships with state leaders, promoting policy and legislation supporting environmental education, and increasing funding available we can ensure all Coloradans learn more about the natural systems we all depend on, and understand what we must do to interact responsibly with our environment and safeguard natural resources for future generations.

Are you interested in learning more about how to advocate for environmental education? Download NAAEE's eeAdvocate: An Advocacy Guide for Environmental Education Professionals & Supporters.  The guide is designed to help you become a better and more confident advocate for environmental education (EE) and to bring more support and funding to the field. 

Download eeAdvocate

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Accomplishments:

Build Support for EE

Join the Support for EE Action Network.  The focus of this network is on building support for environmental education on a broad scale.  CAEE sends out updates to the network to communicate environmental education advocacy opportunities, support calls for action to support legislation, and take advantage of other opportunities to make environmental education a societal priority.  

Every Student Succeeds Act

Download ESSA and Environmental Education Fact Sheet
 
The bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, was signed into law on December 10th, 2016. The much-anticipated bill includes language that, for the first time, supports opportunities to provide students with environmental education and hands-on, field-based learning experiences.

The gains for environmental education come as a result of years-long work by champions of the bipartisan No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, which sought to secure federal dollars to support states’ efforts to implement environmental literacy plans in K-12 public schools.  Sponsors of the original NCLI Act, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland authored and championed the language that ultimately was included in the bill.

Under Title IV of the new bill, environmental education would be eligible for funding through grants to states for “programs and activities that support access to a well-rounded education.” Environmental literacy programs are now also included among eligible programs for funding through 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. Additionally, the inclusion of Title IV funds for hands-on, field-based, or service learning to enhance understanding of science, technology, engineering and math subjects provides a potential boost for environmental science education programs.

The inclusion of environmental education in the Every Students Succeeds Act is a huge win for teachers, students, and schools and could potentially bolster efforts to implement Colorado’s Environmental Education Plan.  

Read more about the Environmental Education provision in the New Act from the North American Association for Environmental Education, Senator Jack Reed’s Office or access a White House Fact Sheet summarizing the overall bill.

Opportunities to Get Involved in Colorado

Teachers, schools and environmental education providers should take the opportunity to reach out the school district(s) they work with and encourage them to include environmental education in their plans for Title IV part A funds.  NAAEE has compiled a variety of tools to help us prepare for these conversations.  Check out NAAEE's Policy Initiatives page for new tools and tips for talking to school district administrators about using ESSA grants to support EE.  

Contact CAEE at director@caee.org if you would like to discuss any school district meetings you are able to set up.


Climate Change Education Act

Climate change education is essential to addressing climate change.

The climate education bills reintroduced this year would fund a new program at NOAA to help take the field to the next phase of climate education. We will need as many Senate and House cosponsors as we can to demonstrate to Congressional leadership important support for this new program. Please ask your Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the bills in their chamber.

Find additional resources for advocating for the Climate Change Education Act.


State Legislation for Environmental Education

Environmental Education in Colorado advanced significantly when HB 1131 was introduced in January of 2010.  The legislation created a grant program to connect youth with nature and facilitates the development of a statewide environmental literacy plan.  The Bill passed in the House on March 3rd, 2010 (44-22) and in the Senate on May 10th, 2010 (24-11) with bi-partisan support.  It was signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter on May 27, 2010.

CAEE and the Support for EE Action Network continue to support the following components in state legislation:

  • Continued support for and revision of Colorado’s statewide environmental education plan to ensure a workforce and citizenry prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century
  • Creation and management of a fund to support the development and implementation of the environmental literacy plan
  • Restoration of and increase in outdoor environmental education field experiences available as part of the formal school curriculum
  • Establishment and administration of an environmental education grant fund to promote and provide access to EE programs for schools and communities
  • Provide needed resources to improve access to environmental education for underserved populations in Colorado

Infusing EE into Colorado's State Standards

The Colorado State Board of Education adopted new Colorado Academic Standards in summer of 2018. These standards outline what every Colorado learner should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school.  
CAEE members worked together to draft feedback and mobilized members across the state in commenting and participating in feedback opportunities throughout the revision process.

The result:  Environmental education is integrated throughout the new standards.

All content areas except science will be implemented in Fall of 2020 and Science standards implementation will begin in fall of 2021.  Contact CAEE for resources and tools to help your school or district integrate more environmental education.
To find out more about the implementation process or to download copies of the new draft standards visit the Colorado Department of Education’s website.