• Progress

    In 2015, 23 percent of the 140 local education agencies that responded to a Chesapeake Bay Program survey self-identified as well-prepared to put a comprehensive and systemic approach to environmental literacy in place. Fifty-three percent of these 32 local education agencies—a term that commonly refers to school districts that operate public elementary, middle and high schools—are located in Maryland. Forty-four percent are located in Virginia, and the remaining three percent—or one agency—is located in Pennsylvania.

    Environmental literacy preparedness varies among jurisdictions. Of the 60 local education agencies that self-identified as somewhat prepared to implement environmental literacy programs, 58 percent are located in Virginia, 30 percent are located in Pennsylvania and ten percent are located in Maryland. (One somewhat prepared agency is located in the District of Columbia.) Of the 48 agencies that self-identified as not prepared, 52 percent are located in Virginia and 44 percent are located in Pennsylvania. (One not prepared agency is located in West Virginia and one not prepared agency is located in Maryland.)

    Fifty-six percent of the local education agencies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed did not respond to the Chesapeake Bay Program survey that measured their preparedness to put environmental literacy programs in place. In other words, 44 percent of local education agencies did respond to the Environmental Literacy Indicator Tool: Maryland and the District of Columbia (home to 24 watershed local education agencies and one watershed local education agency, respectively) saw a 100 percent response rate, Virginia (home to 94 watershed local education agencies) saw a 79 percent response rate, Pennsylvania (home to 193 watershed local education agencies) saw a 21 percent response rate and West Virginia (home to eight watershed local education agencies) saw a 13 percent response rate.

    Issues surrounding data collection in Delaware led the Environmental Literacy Workgroup to omit this state’s data from the 2015 dataset. The workgroup will work to ensure Delaware data is included in the next round of reporting. This dataset does not include data from New York.

    In the coming decades, the public will be called upon to understand complex environmental issues. Ensuring the public is capable of this task will require a concerted effort toward environmental literacy and education. Indeed, students exposed to environmental education score higher on environmental knowledge, sensitivity and behaviors than those who are not. These students will form the core of an informed and environmentally active citizenry.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the environmental literacy planning outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Supporting the development and implementation of clearly defined, attainable objectives necessary for all graduates to achieve science, citizenship and environmental literacy;
    • Identifying and advocating for the resources necessary for all graduates to achieve science, citizenship and environmental literacy;
    • Disseminating information to stakeholders on the policies, programs and practices that promote science, citizenship and environmental literacy;
    • Maintaining an up-to-date list of definitions and best practices to inform program development and funding;
    • Ensuring the implementation of environmental literacy outcomes includes a focus on diverse and underserved students with an emphasis on career and college readiness;
    • Promoting the implementation of the Environmental Literacy Indicator Tool (ELIT) and related data visualization tools to assess progress toward science, citizenship and environmental literacy; and
    • Maintaining the necessary workgroups to oversee the implementation of the environmental literacy management strategy.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the 2017 and 2025 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), citizen stewardship, diversity, public access, and water quality standards attainment and monitoring outcomes.

    Monitoring and assessing progress toward the outcome will occur through the Environmental Literacy Indicator Tool (ELIT).

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome will be reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in February of 2017.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.

    Completed actions from the work plan include:

    • In 2016, the Education Workgroup hosted the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Literacy Leadership Summit, which brought environmental education experts, cabinet-level state government representatives and other decision-makers together to explore how states can help local education agencies create and sustain high-quality environmental literacy programming as part of their ongoing education reforms and work the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
    • In 2017, the Education Workgroup established indicators of environmental literacy in order to assess progress toward environmental literacy goals.
    • In 2017, the Education Workgroup distributed the second Environmental Literacy Indicator Tool (ELIT) survey and is analyzing related data.
    • In 2017, the Education Workgroup published An Educator’s Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. This easy-to-use manual for constructing high-quality educational experiences for all students brings consistency and quality to the work done under the Environmental Literacy Planning, Student and Sustainable School outcomes. As jurisdictions continue to implement improved and more systemic MWEEs, they will use and promote this so-called MWEE Guide with teachers and non-formal educators and strengthen outdoor learning for students throughout the region. This resource will help create young citizens who understand and respect our natural world.
  • Participating Partners

    The Fostering Stewardship Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome.

    Participating partners include:

    • State of Delaware
    • State of Maryland
    • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Commonwealth of Virginia
    • District of Columbia
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • National Park Service
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • U.S. Geological Survey
    • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    • National Wildlife Federation
    • North American Association for Environmental Education