California Environmental Literacy Initiative

The California Environmental Literacy Initiative is a public–private partnership that seeks to increase access to relevant and impactful environment-based learning for all of California's K–12 students.

Ten Strands is leading the Initiative to create a system of support in California that enables all students to have local, standards- and environment-based experiences that enhance their learning inside and outside of the classroom. We partner with more than 20 government, non-government, and other stakeholder organizations to move the Initiative forward, and we seek advice and input from a 30-person advisory body in addition to a wide array of other educators, scientists, and environmental experts.

The environment around us is an engaging way to teach and learn, and when interwoven throughout core subject areas like science, history–social science, English language arts, mathematics, and health, can lead to outcomes that include academic success and increased engagement in learning among students.

Learning through, and about, our local surroundings fosters a sense of connection to community and place. Environmental literacy supports students in acquiring the knowledge and motivation to think critically and act in ways that reflect an understanding of the interrelatedness of human and natural systems.

Our work is focused on a theory of action organized around the goals of equity and cultural relevance, recognizing school districts as a fundamental unit of change—then taking this work to scale.

Our theory of action focuses on:

  • Developing a supportive statewide context for environmental literacy
  • Ensuring environmental literacy is infused throughout the education system
  • Demonstrating, through pilot programs, that any school district can create districtwide environmental literacy programs based on plans that focus on equity of access and cultural relevance for all students

To learn more about what’s been accomplished and projects currently underway, we invite you to read about our work below.

 

Supportive Context

Creating a supportive context for environmental literacy in California ensures coordinated, high-quality learning experiences for all students....

Incremental Infusion

Incremental infusion increases the capacity of school districts and teachers to incorporate environmental literacy into the core academic experience o...

Leading-edge Exemplars

These district-level projects create and demonstrate successful and sustainable models of partnership which are relevant to place, ensuring sustainabi...

Partners

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…

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…

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…

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,…

Inside the Outdoors

The Orange County Department of Education’s Inside the Outdoors turns nature’s classroom into a living laboratory for over 125,000 students each year.  Our field trips, Traveling Scientist, and Service-Learning community action projects…

Inverness Research

Education improvement is a complex and demanding enterprise without simple answers. Inverness Research's goal is to help funders and project leaders improve their thinking, their investment strategies, their program designs, and their…