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Youth Outside and BEETLES: A Partnership Making Environmental Education More Equitable

In service of CAELI’s commitment to centering equity and justice throughout the environmental literacy field, we are highlighting the partnership between Youth Outside and BEETLES at the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley, which is improving the quality and cultural relevance of outdoor science education. Over the past several years, these two groups have partnered to examine environmental education programs and practices through an equity lens, and created critical resources for other organizations.

How Justice and Equity are Shaping Environmental Literacy for a Better Future

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, a reckoning with racism, and the enduring battle against climate change have starkly revealed the need for systemic change. Equity has proven to be a critical component of how leadership should be guided toward justice. As the environmental education field continues its efforts to become more inclusive, we’re honored to learn from leaders like CAELI member Candice Dickens-Russell—the justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion manager at DoGoodery, a social impact agency helping organizations make positive change. In this Q&A, Candice shares how her work advocating for equitable practices inspires her vision for the future.

Hoover Hawks Victory Garden: A School and Community Jewel

The Hoover Hawks Victory Garden thrives on the Hoover Elementary School campus in West Oakland, a neighborhood rich in history, culture and people. Urban farmer Wanda Stewart is the tireless champion and architect behind the garden project, which has become an intergenerational hub of healing, learning, and wonder for the local community. In this Q&A, Wanda shares her journey to change the lives of students, families, and neighbors by teaching them to nurture a vibrant, fruitful ecosystem.

2020 Distinguished Contribution Award Winners: Ten Strands and CAELI!

Karen Cowe, Ten Strands CEO and California Environmental Literacy Initiative project director, discusses her work to uplift environmental literacy in this interview with California Association of Science Educators (CASE). This article originally appeared on the CASE website and was republished with permission.

A Silent Service: Why Water Workers Support Environmental Literacy and Career Technical Education

Water is a vital natural resource that shapes the development of California’s environmental, social, and economic landscape. Despite this, the essential workers that maintain California’s water supply are often overlooked. As a member of the California Environmental Literacy Initiative’s (CAELI) Leadership Council, Public Affairs Manager at the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), and leader of the Water Energy Education Alliance (WEEA), Tiffany Baca is working to change that. In this Q&A, Tiffany shares how environmental literacy frames her work at MWDOC, an agency that provides more than 3.2 million California residents with water-saving resources, water-centric education, sustainability programs, and clean drinking water.

How Global Education and Environmental Literacy Empower Students as Citizens of the World

Global education and environmental literacy go hand-in-hand when helping students connect with the world around them. As the executive director of the California Global Education Project (CGEP), Dr. Emily Schell works every day to help teachers deliver timely and impactful lessons as they relate to the current issues affecting our world. In this Q&A, Dr. Schell shares how global education and environmental literacy work together, why there’s a need to support teachers in this work, and how she applies this expertise as a co-chair of CAELI’s leadership council.

Teaching Environmental Science with Social Justice at the Center

Science gives us critical clues to understanding the complex web of the natural world, how it works, and how we can embrace our role in it. That’s why Dr. Suzanne Pierre, a member of CAELI’s leadership council and environmental science educator at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Teacher Institute, believes curiosity and connection are the basis for understanding and action, especially on climate issues. In this Q&A, Sue shares her background as a microbial ecology researcher and woman of color, and how that informs her work to support teachers as they incorporate hands-on, inquiry-rich experiences into their classrooms.

The Green Return to School: California Administrators Find a New Lens for Teaching Environmental Literacy

The new school year is approaching, and educators are having to adapt to a new educational reality amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As California administrators think outside the box with new solutions to keep environmental literacy at the forefront as students return to school, outdoor education is emerging as an opportunity to pair social distancing with the benefits of giving students access to nature and equitable educational opportunities.