FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2017
Contact: Environmental Literacy Steering Committee
Karen Cowe, Project Director
California Public-Private Partnership Honored for Work in Advancing Environmental Literacy
California’s Environmental Literacy Steering Committee was honored with a top national award yesterday for its model approach to infusing environmental literacy into K–12 education statewide.
The Committee received the 2017 Best of Green Schools Moment for the Movement Award at the national Green Schools Conference and Expo in Atlanta recognizing events, initiatives, and happenings that significantly advance the green schools movement.
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson convened the 30-member Committee a year ago to implement strategies from the state’s 2015 A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. Members bring together a wide range of expertise and resources in education and the environment as part of a statewide public-private partnership to leverage existing education infrastructure.
“In California, we have a supportive State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction; legislation that calls for environmental principles and concepts to be part of standards-based instruction; the adoption of new science standards where environmental content is prominent; a robust community of program providers; and a thriving Green Ribbon Schools program,” said Karen Cowe, Project Director of the Steering Committee and CEO of Ten Strands.
The Steering Committee is integrating environmental literacy into existing California education initiatives by actively identifying ways to strengthen the cultural relevance of environmental literacy with a commitment to equity and inclusion; ensuring environmental principles and concepts are fully represented in new curriculum and instructional materials, professional learning programs, and assessments; reinvigorating the California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network to forge meaningful connections between environmental education providers, community-based organizations, schools, and school districts; facilitating and scaling effective school district partnerships; and communicating success stories and best practices to build the field and establish broader support for our work. Adds Cowe, “This coherence across the entire system makes this ‘moment for the movement’ possible.”
Promoting healthy, safe, and sustainable schools, the Green Schools Conference and Expo is the largest annual convening of green schools in the country. The Conference is hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network. The award honored the California group by saying, “Your contributions to this effort stand out among the very best, and it is thanks to work such as yours that we are moving ever closer to putting every student in a green school within this generation.”
Steering Committee members Lesley Taylor, California Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Lead; Jose Flores, Presidential Award-winning Civics Teacher from Brawley Union High School District; and Tim Baird, award-winning Superintendent of Encinitas Union School District, accepted the Moment for the Movement Green Schools Award on behalf of the Steering Committee.
About the Environmental Literacy Steering Committee
The Environmental Literacy Steering Committee was appointed by California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to create and lead an implementation plan for A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. Comprised of 30 prominent educational leaders and nonprofit stakeholders, the Steering Committee includes representatives from the California Department of Education (CDE), CalRecycle (a division of CalEPA), three directors of the University of California’s Subject Matter Project, and a member of the State Board of Education. The Steering Committee is now working to implement the most leveraged, timely, and scalable recommendations from the Blueprint to support school districts, teachers, and local program providers with the ultimate goal of achieving environmental literacy for all of California’s 6.2 million K–12 students.