PORTLAND, Ore.--(Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Task Force, appointed by Governor Kulongoski by way of 2009’s No Oregon Child Left Inside Act, completed the state’s first environmental literacy plan for students K-12. The plan will serve as a roadmap to integrate outdoor learning experiences into existing school curriculum.)--
“Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Plan will help guide this work and support our students and our schools in gaining a deeper understanding of our environment and our role in protecting it.”
Led by The Freshwater Trust’s education director Traci Price, the Environmental Literacy Task Force has worked the last nine months to draft this landmark plan for Oregon – joining Maryland and Nebraska as the only three states to have an environmental literacy plan.
“As the third state to draft an environmental literacy plan, I was honored to work on behalf of the State of Oregon, a longtime leader in environmental and sustainability practices,” said Price. ”The task force really came together around this issue and remains committed to seeing it through.”
State Representative Peter Buckley, co-sponsor of the No Oregon Child Left Inside Act, commended the task force.
“I would like to thank the task force for its dedication to the development of Oregon’s first environmental literacy plan. Your success has paved the way for an Oregon in which every child possesses a knowledge of and respect for our shared environment,” he said.
Because today’s youth are spending less time outside than any other time in this nation’s history, proponents of environmental education have long voiced the importance of connecting students to the natural world, as they will be charged with addressing decisions regarding natural resources.
“Our students are facing a world with daunting environmental challenges, and it is our responsibility to ensure they have the tools to help solve these problems,” said Susan Castillo, Oregon’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Plan will help guide this work and support our students and our schools in gaining a deeper understanding of our environment and our role in protecting it.”
The plan articulates that environmentally literate students, upon graduation, will demonstrate proficiency in each of the following areas:
- Understand the physical and biological world and our interdependent relationship with it
- Understand and apply systems thinking concepts and tools
- Understand one’s relationship to the local, regional, national and global community
- Investigate options for, plan and create a sustainable future
- Understand and achieve personal and civic responsibility
Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Plan will be submitted to the Oregon legislature and considered for full adoption by the State Board of Education later this year. To implement the plan, Oregon will be eligible to receive up to $2 million of pending federal funds set forth in No Child Left Inside legislation included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Plan can be found here.
About The Freshwater Trust
The Freshwater Trust is a statewide not-for-profit organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon with satellite offices in Bend and Corvallis. The Freshwater Trust takes an integrated, innovative approach to restoring freshwater ecosystems – from restoring a river’s architecture to working with landowners to keep more water in streams to educating children on the importance of freshwater conservation.
About The Freshwater Trust’s education efforts
Since 1993, The Freshwater Trust has worked collaboratively with teachers, school administration and community partners to connect students to their local watersheds by getting them into their local rivers and streams. Students participate in field experiences and restoration projects, which provide hands-on learning opportunities that are relevant to existing curricula. For more information, visit www.thefreshwatertrust.org.