October 12, 2023 Newsletter

Nestled in the southernmost region of California, Imperial County holds a place of honor in the history of environmental justice as the site where legendary leader Cesar Chavez rallied the local community against injustice, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s social fabric. Yet today, Imperial County continues to be a center of adversity as its community faces one of California’s most pressing environmental and health crises.

In this month’s newsletter, we spoke with José Flores, a member of the CAELI CBP Innovation Hub. Jose is a research and advocacy specialist at Comite Civico Del Valle (CCV), an organization dedicated to informing, educating, and engaging the Imperial County community around civic participation. We also share a legislative update, details on the Green School Conference on October 17th, and other upcoming meetups to take part in.

José Flores Feature Story

People living in Imperial County have high rates of asthma due to poor air quality directly linked to the externalities of the very farms where many work. Comite Civico Del Valle, a civic engagement nonprofit organization, aims to address environmental health disparities and involve the community in finding solutions. In this article, José Flores, a research and advocacy specialist at Comite Civico, shares insights into addressing environmental concerns from the agricultural community, the CAELI resources that helped bridge the gap, and how to ensure communities get the benefits of the green energy transition.

Read more here.

A California Legislative Update

Climate Ready Schools Coalition with UndauntedK12

Ten Strands is proud to have co-led the Climate Ready Schools Coalition with UndauntedK12, an active partner in the CAELI network. While the coalition built a strong campaign to support SB 394, introduced by Senator Lena Gonzalez, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill that would have created a much needed masterplan for healthy, sustainable, and climate-resilient schools. We look forward to building on the foundation established this past year to continue advocating for this important bill. Read UndauntedK12’s press statement here.

AB285 Pupil instruction: science requirements: climate change
In other advocacy news, we’re happy to share that AB 285, introduced by Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, was signed into law. Although Ten Strands and members of the CAELI network were supportive of this bill to improve climate change education in science classes, we believe it could have gone further by extending beyond science education. We applaud this initial step and encourage our legislators to support integrating content related to the climate crisis into all areas of study in the future. You can read our support with amendments letter here.

Green Strides Tour Recap Reflection 3

In mid-September, the U.S. Department of Education’s Infrastructure and Sustainability initiative partnered with the California Department of Education to bring the annual Green Strides Tour to the San Francisco Bay Area and Central California schools. The tour highlighted the incredible passion and commitment of the many students, teachers, administrators, and community partners who have catalyzed and implemented robust environmental and climate action initiatives across their school community’s campuses, curricula, communities, and cultures.  

The tour also demonstrated the rich diversity of California schools with visits to communities that included California’s most marginalized students. This drove home the message that Green Ribbon action is for ALL of California’s students. Furthermore, highlights from the tour showcased that whole systems change requires prioritization and engagement from leaders at all levels, from the classroom to the boardroom.

Finally, the tour provided a great opportunity for CAELI members, as well as partners of sponsors Ten Strands and UndauntedK12, to come together in person to network, learn, and celebrate environmental and climate action in TK–12 schools.  

To learn more about the highlights from each site, check out the reflection blog authored by Naomi Stern, one of the lead organizers of the Green Strides Tour and Federation of American Scientists Environmental Sustainability and Infrastructure Impact Fellow, U.S. Department of Education.

To learn more about CAELI’s Taking Green Ribbon to Scale Campaign, visit the CAELI working group page

Green School Conference Meetup

Last chance! Sign up for the third annual CAELI Meetup at the Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit and Exposition in Pasadena on October 17. Join the District Innovation Hub and CAELI members for sessions in the Education Program and networking events. 

Check out the Summit Agenda, complete the summit registration, and RSVP here.

Innovation Hub Spotlight

CAELI’s innovation hubs represent a growing community of people dedicated to environmental literacy and outdoor education for youth. Here, we introduce one of our innovation hub leaders! 

Opportunities, Events, and News

  • Join the Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (AEOE) for this year’s fall meetups! Connect with environmental and outdoor education professionals from across your region to explore a local site, meet colleagues working in a variety of settings, and deepen your practice through shared learning. The event includes lunch, a tour of the site, networking activities, professional development, and an online gathering of meet-up participants from sites across California for the annual fall awards ceremony celebrating the northern and southern environmental educators of the year. Registration opens soon. Learn more here.
  • The Outdoor Learning Store is proud to offer a free virtual workshop series. Register for the next webinar on October 17 about Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings ​facilitated by educator and author Launa Purcell. Learn more here.
  • October 18 marks Take Me Outside Day! This day aims to raise awareness about outdoor learning by encouraging educators to take their learners outside. To celebrate, visit the Take Me Outside website and join in on a full week of prizes, art, and resources for educators. Learn more here.