Supportive Context

Creating a supportive context for environmental literacy in California ensures that these efforts result in high-quality learning experiences for all students that will be sustained over many years. Fostering a supportive context for environmental literacy is key to leveraging existing state education policies, and encouraging new policies that support teachers, students, and healthy communities. Together with our partners, we are actively engaged in strengthening the system and building connections.


SB720 was signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on September 13, 2018. The bill was authored by Senator Ben Allen, co-authored by Assembly Member Tony Thurmond, and sponsored by Ten Strands. SB720 strengthens California’s commitment to providing all public school students with the opportunity to become environmentally literate citizens prepared to lead our state into the future. Specifically, the bill:

  • Directs the State Board of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction, district superintendents, and their school boards to support environmental literacy
  • Codifies California’s adopted Environmental Principles & Concepts (EP&Cs) in Education Code as the state’s definition of environmental literacy
  • Moves core ideas from the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy into Education Code
  • Articulates a process in Public Resources Code for revising the EP&Cs, if appropriate, based on current scientific and technical knowledge

In 2017, Ten Strands worked with Senator Ben Allen to sponsor SB424, resulting in $4 million of state Budget Act money to support:

  • California teacher demand for the Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum materials
  • The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network, which brings community providers of environmental education together with teachers and administrators to provide students with hands-on, outdoor, environment-based experiences

Environmental Principles & Concepts

State Board of Education approval of California’s Environmental Principles & Concepts (EP&Cs) in 2004, and the requirement that they be included in all state-approved K–8 science and history–social science core instructional materials, expresses a significant commitment by the state to environmental literacy.

SB720 also ensures inclusion of the EP&Cs in new curriculum frameworks, as has already happened in the Science, History–Social Science, and Health Frameworks, which will provide guidance to educators on how to integrate environmental literacy into these and other core subjects. Educators now have clear guidelines regarding how the EP&Cs support teaching. Exemplars and vignettes detail how the EP&Cs support student learning, and detailed charts are available that describe connections between the EP&Cs and specific academic content standards.

Conferences and Success Stories

Ten Strands and our partners share environmental literacy success stories at over 20 professional conferences and workshops annually, including: the California Science Teachers Association, the National Green Schools Conference, the California STEAM Symposium, ACSA Superintendents’ Symposium, California Council for the Social Studies, Bioneers, North American Association of Environmental Educators, and most recently a major education affiliate event that was part of the Global Climate Action Summit.

We publish a biweekly blog that features environmental literacy success stories from educators and administrators engaged in this groundbreaking work.



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