Environmental Literacy Steering Committee

We partner with the California Department of Education and key stakeholders to implement A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every California Student In, About, and For the Environment. 

California has the opportunity for every student to obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to make informed decisions about the environmental issues facing our world.

Creating the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

In 2014, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson appointed an Environmental Literacy Task Force to develop A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. The Blueprint is a call to action for all administrators, teachers, and program providers serving K–12 students—both in school and beyond, indoors and outdoors—to infuse environment- and standards-based learning opportunities into their instruction. With California’s new, innovative, and cross-curricular academic standards, there is a remarkable window of opportunity to ensure that every student develops the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to make sound informed decisions about environmental issues facing their communities and society.

 

Advancing the Blueprint and Bringing Environmental Literacy to California’s K–12 Students

In 2016, Superintendent Torlakson appointed an Environmental Literacy Steering Committee, composed of six Work Teams, to create and lead an implementation plan for the Blueprint. Comprised of 30 prominent educational leaders and nonprofit stakeholders, the Steering Committee includes representatives from the California Department of Education and CalRecycle, three directors of the University of California’s Subject Matter Projects, and a member of the State Board of Education.

The Steering Committee is now working to implement 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. Ten Strands serves as project director for the Steering Committee, actively fundraising and providing project management and support as members begin implementation of the Blueprint’s most leveraged, timely, and scalable opportunities.

The ELSC is committed to equity, inclusion, and cultural competence.

 

The Steering Committee’s approach involves:

  • Identifying ways to enhance the cultural relevance of environmental literacy while ensuring equity and inclusion in program initiatives
  • Ensuring the State’s Environmental Principles and Concepts are fully represented in new instructional materials, professional learning programs, and assessments
  • Scaling the California Regional Environmental Education Community Network to forge meaningful connections between program providers, community-based organizations, schools, and school districts
  • Working with select districts around the state to model how to identify strategies and resources to weave environmental literacy work into standards-based coursework linked to Local Control Accountability Plans and other local funding sources
  • Communicating success stories and best practices to establish support for environmental literacy as a driver for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, career technical education, and the Governor’s climate action goals
  • Continuing to raise private money and secure public money to drive implementation priorities

 

Current Members

Will Parish (Co-chair), Craig Strang (Co-chair), Karen Cowe (Project Director), Tom Adams, Bill Andrews, Carl Anthony, Tim Baird, Shelley Brooks, Anne Campbell, Ken DaRosa, Candice Dickens-Russell, Jeff Davis, Bryan Ehlers, Jose Flores, Bruce Holaday, Tony Knight, Jerry Lieberman, Kim Moore Bailey, Seaberry Nachbar, M. Paloma Pavel, Jennifer Rigby, Celeste Royer, Emily Schell, Maria Simani, Jason Spencer, Jane Steinkamp, Darrell Steely, Leslie Tamminen, Kirk Anne Taylor, Lesley Taylor, and Eric Zilbert

View full member bios.

View the full Blueprint:

If you are interested in receiving quarterly updates about the work that the Steering Committee is engaged in please sign up for the Steering Committee Newsletter.

Our Partners in this Work:

 

California Department of Education

California is the largest state in the country, serving over 6.2 million public school students and 300,000 teachers, in over 1,000 school districts and 10,000 schools. The California Department of Education's mission is to…

CalRecycle

California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) brings together the state's recycling and waste management programs, and maintains a tradition of environmental stewardship. CalRecycle's vision is to inspire and challenge Californians to…

Lawrence Hall of Science

The University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science is the country’s only science center that is part of a top-tier, public research university. This distinctive affiliation allows the Hall to partner with world-class…

The California Subject Matter Project

The California Subject Matter Project is a network of nine discipline-based projects that provide rigorous professional development for K–12 educators to enhance learning for all students. With a network comprising the nine projects—History–Social…

State Education and Environment Roundtable

The State Education and Environment Roundtable provides professional development programs to meet the needs of schools and districts. Their programs are highly interactive, and are designed to help teachers achieve standards-based learning goals…

ChangeScale

ChangeScale advances the cohesiveness, effectiveness, and prominence of the environmental education field in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. Their mission is to ensure that every generation is inspired with the environmental know-how…

TreePeople

TreePeople inspires and supports the people of Los Angeles to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes. They unite with communities to grow a greener, shadier,…