Ten Strands, California’s leading field catalyst nonprofit focused on advancing the environmental literacy of K—12 students, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Geographic Society to continue vital work on a project that uses geographic data to assess environmental needs and inspire learning.
California’s Hub for Environmental Learning and Action (CHELA) is an educational resource launched in fall 2020 by the California Geographic Alliance (CGA) and is a partnership between the CGA, the California Global Education Project (CGEP), and Ten Strands.
The CHELA website is a tool to help young people in California understand, assess, and take action on issues related to the protection of the natural environment, the impacts and sustainability of human activities, and environmental justice. Teachers and students will be empowered to use mapping, data, and storytelling to explore their community and take action to protect the environment. The software is free to all K–12 schools, and educators will have professional learning opportunities to better familiarize themselves with the technology and understand how best to use it in the classroom.
“This important environmental resource will cross county boundaries and school lines to help create equity in our classrooms,” CGA Director Thomas Herman said. “This latest grant will support the development of an interdisciplinary professional learning program focused on CHELA that will empower educators to infuse their classrooms with environmental knowledge that can spur valuable action.”
The latest National Geographic Society grant will allow the CHELA project to produce a teacher resource page, host three webinars, and strengthen support for educators working in underserved communities.
CHELA allows users to utilize an interactive atlas through geographic information systems (GIS) to understand their environment. A storytelling component will connect CHELA participants with diverse voices in locations near or far.
Educators are currently piloting the use of instructional resources and providing feedback. The professional learning program will be developed in coordination with other members of the California Subject Matter Project and will be implemented in spring of 2022.
“CHELA is grounded in the same principles of environmental justice that guide the decision-making of Ten Strands,” said Karen Cowe, CEO of Ten Strands. “We are thrilled about this partnership and the impact that CHELA will have on our ability to better meet the environmental needs of the world around us.”