Environmental Education

When kids gain the environmental know-how they need to thrive in our rapidly changing world, we’ll see smarter decisions, stronger communities, and daily actions that improve their well-being and our planet.

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Whether in a classroom, canoe, or anywhere in between, research shows that environmental learning sticks with kids more than traditional learning, fuels interest in science, and sparks the curiosity that makes kids better learners including in the language arts and math. It also improves health and wellness, because play outdoors improves children’s mental and physical health. Environmental education strengthens children’s self-esteem, leadership, and character, and enhances social justice by leveling the playing field.

How We Do It

Inside and outside the classroom, outstanding leaders, strong organizations, and new concepts are accelerating the adoption of widespread environmental education. Our strategies include supporting:

Smart Policy Ideas

More and more schoolsLooking for more information? You can dive deeper with these resources:

Environmental Education Brings Numerous Academic Benefits, an executive summary of a study by Stanford University

Nature Can Improve Health and Wellbeing by the Children & Nature Network, an overview of benefits from time in nature

An index of more than 40 articles on the impact of environmental education on social justice with access to over 600 summarized, searchable articles on the importance of nature connection and environmental education

Want to go further? These organizations offer a wide range of information on environmental education:

North American Association for Environmental Education

Children & Nature Network

Blue Sky Funders Forum
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, states, and communities are tapping into the benefits that come from environmental education and making it part of every child’s experience. To drive better educational results and ensure our kids get a well-rounded education, we support collaboration between the environmental education community and other stakeholders to increase environmental education in the lives of children.

Building the Environmental Education Field

We help develop the environmental education field by bringing more funders together and creating new environmental literacy allies. We invest in connecting them with environmental education leaders and practitioners to strengthen the capacity to deliver effective programs. We support academic researchLooking for more information? You can dive deeper with these resources:

Environmental Education Brings Numerous Academic Benefits, an executive summary of a study by Stanford University

Nature Can Improve Health and Wellbeing by the Children & Nature Network, an overview of benefits from time in nature

An index of more than 40 articles on the impact of environmental education on social justice with access to over 600 summarized, searchable articles on the importance of nature connection and environmental education

Want to go further? These organizations offer a wide range of information on environmental education:

North American Association for Environmental Education

Children & Nature Network

Blue Sky Funders Forum
1
and a culture of evaluation to advance the field’s overall effectiveness. A crucial component of our strategy includes advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Environmental Education Inside Schools

There are opportunities in our K–12 classrooms to equip our kids with environmental know-how while better supporting the attainment of other important education goals, like achievement in science, math, and social sciences. We support innovative approachesLooking for more information? You can dive deeper with these resources:

Environmental Education Brings Numerous Academic Benefits, an executive summary of a study by Stanford University

Nature Can Improve Health and Wellbeing by the Children & Nature Network, an overview of benefits from time in nature

An index of more than 40 articles on the impact of environmental education on social justice with access to over 600 summarized, searchable articles on the importance of nature connection and environmental education

Want to go further? These organizations offer a wide range of information on environmental education:

North American Association for Environmental Education

Children & Nature Network

Blue Sky Funders Forum
1
to infusing school classroom time with environmental principles and concepts, like standards and exemplars that will promote high-quality instruction and new networks that support teaching gardens at schools across the U.S.

Environmental Education Outside Schools

After-school time, school field trips, service learning, and summer camps all offer outstanding venues for high-quality environmental education. Focusing on middle and high school, where there are fewer existing programs, we fund professional development efforts that strengthen programs that benefit kids outside the school classroom.

Looking for more information? You can dive deeper with these resources:

Environmental Education Brings Numerous Academic Benefits, an executive summary of a study by Stanford University

Nature Can Improve Health and Wellbeing by the Children & Nature Network, an overview of benefits from time in nature

An index of more than 40 articles on the impact of environmental education on social justice with access to over 600 summarized, searchable articles on the importance of nature connection and environmental education

Want to go further? These organizations offer a wide range of information on environmental education:

North American Association for Environmental Education

Children & Nature Network

Blue Sky Funders Forum

Equipping kids with environmental know-how and a lifelong connection to nature will empower them to make smarter decisions that lead to stronger communities and a greener planet.

Duke University

Dr. Charlotte Clark and her team at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment are leading a national effort to strengthen environmental education through evaluation. This unique collaboration is engaging new voices, including program partners and evaluation experts, to measure and highlight the impact of environmental education beyond any individual program. The work centers diversity, equity, and inclusion and practitioner engagement to ensure the results reach all sectors and stakeholders.

After a year of planning and extensive field-interviews, the project has two ambitious goals:

  1. Produce an online portal of evaluation resources
  2. Document promising practices for undertaking “collective evaluation,” meaning evaluation that assesses progress towards numerous goals by collaboratively evaluating across networks using the same measurement tools.

Key partners in this collaboration include researchers from Duke University, Clemson, and Virginia Tech; Oregon’s Outdoor School for All Initiative; the Colorado Association of EE; the Alliance for Watershed Education; NAAEE; a team bringing an emphasis on diversity equity, and inclusion including independent evaluators and researchers from Antioch University of New England; and key funders, Gray Family Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and the Pisces Foundation.