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Q&A with Oglala Lakota Activist and Educator Mark Tilsen

On October 11, we celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day and honored the history and Indigenous cultures in our community and beyond. The California Environmental Literacy Initiative is striving to achieve a culture of gratitude and recognition throughout the year. In this week’s article, we interviewed Mark Tilsen Jr., an Oglala Lakota poet and educator from the … READ MORE

Growing Up Wild: Fostering Youth Development through Education and Environmental Stewardship

Youth reminds us of the curiosity and awe we all once held of the world around us. That same curiosity lays the foundation of science-based inquiry. Even when constrained, youth creates dreams, possibilities, and innovation. In this month’s interview, Ismael Cruz, founder of Growing Up Wild, talks about his journey in connecting youth to nature, fostering environmental stewardship, and creating an equitable approach to outdoor education.

Closing the Gap: Environmental Education Means Amplifying the Power of Communities to Make Systemic Change

In this month’s interview, Marcos Trinidad, Director at the Audubon Center at Debs Park, explores the ways in which community engagement isn’t just important to effective environmental educators — rather, environmental educators must critically focus on integrating environmental education into community organizing and activism if we hope for it to be truly impactful in the day-to-day lives of students and communities.

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.

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.