State and Local Support
Stakeholders should offer their organized support for environmental literacy to school systems. Support from both state administrations or legislatures and local agencies can foster a shared vision and influence policies, priorities and practices.
While national education reform has lent itself to using the environment as an integrating context for learning, the shifts in teaching and learning required by these reforms pose ongoing challenges to systemic approaches to environmental education.
Our ability to increase the environmental literacy of students across the watershed will depend on the availability of funds for student projects, sustainable school initiatives, professional development and transportation.
Cultural Connections to Nature
Research indicates American children are growing more and more distant from the outdoors. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates children aged 8 to 18 spend more than seven hours a day in front of electronic media, and author Richard Louv argues that the coinciding drop in time spent outside has led to “nature deficit disorder.” Schools can perpetuate this disconnect when recess is limited, school grounds are restricted or off-site field experiences are scaled back. A loss of contact with the outdoors could create a citizenry with no connection to the natural world and no desire to take part in the protection or restoration of the environment.
Factors Influencing Progress
A range of factors—including funding, support and our cultural connection to the natural world—impact the Chesapeake Bay Program’s ability to increase the environmental literacy of students across the watershed.