Fostering environmental literacy in children is essential to creating a healthier, more sustainable environment for Santa Clara County students, families and communities. Children are our future leaders who will be making decisions that will forever shape the future health of our planet.
Growing evidence points to the need for an urgent response to climate change and with that comes expanding environmental literacy programs in all schools. According to a recently released Climate Adaptation Plan by the US Department of Education, the United States experienced a record breaking 22 natural disasters in the year 2020. Additionally, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in August 2021 further stated the impacts of the climate crisis, which disproportionately impact low-income, Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) emphasizes environmental literacy by providing professional development opportunities for educators and expanding technical assistance for the development of school gardens and school garden curriculum in schools across Santa Clara County. To learn more about the Growing Gardens project go to https://sccoe.to/growinggardens
Educators and community-based partners are provided support through the Environmental Literacy Leadership Collaborative, a network that works to bring environmental literacy into classrooms.
Families and educators find outdoor education to be transformative. Walden West provides students with hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that foster environmental literacy and sustainability. To learn more about the available programs including Summer Learning Programs, go to http://sccoe.to/waldenwest
To promote advocacy around climate change and to build more equitable systems and economic stability, it is important to encourage youth to take an active role. By encouraging students to participate in programs like Walden West and investing in environmental literacy programs, we are creating the next generation of environmental stewards.