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Environmental Literacy

An individual’s understanding, skills and motivation to make responsible decisions that considers relationships to natural systems, communities and future generations.
Environmental or Ecological Literacy is the desired outcome of students learning outside and building relationships, connections, and understanding of the world around them through place-based educational principles.

What are the Environmental Literacy Practices? 

Environmental Literacy Practices serve as a throughline woven into all  core curricular areas Pre K-12.

These practices help to deepen scientific inquiry, content based literacy, and boost student Social Emotional Learning(SEL).

Skills gained include:

  • Sound scientific inquiry and information
  • Skills for critical thinking
  • Creative and strategic problem solving
  • Ability to make informed decisions which benefit local and global communities
  • Preparation for “green” careers in the future

“Creating a scientifically informed citizenry requires a concerted, systematic approach to environmental education.”

The National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education 

Environmental Literacy Practices

Observation Spots

Visiting a particular outdoor location in the schoolyard to build a relationship with the natural world around oneself and deepening curricular connections and meaning through first hand observation.

Nature/Place Walks

Exploring and connecting to the world around us through “walking classroom” experiences.

Phenology Calendars

Keeping track of seasonal change and timing.  Creating a timeline of  information on plants and animals throughout the year.  Used in Citizen Science gathering climatological data.

Weather Recording

Observing, recording, and tracking weather and meteorological phenomena

Field Journaling

Keeping a log of observations, data, inquiry, and experiences

Nature Connection & Investigation Table

Bringing the Outdoors In for Deeper Inquiry


Teaching students how to gather with respect and reciprocity for collections, scientific inquiry and curiosity. 


Studying the landscape and mapping practices to better understand geography, topography, direction, scale, and  sense of place.

Sensory Awareness Activities

Fostering a connection to the world around us through the senses.  Developing a mindful attitude and increases cognitive &  SEL benefits.

Living Schoolyard Studies

Investigating the schoolyard as an ecosystem.  Deepening awareness around habitat, organisms and sustainable  life systems.