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Future Conservation Depends on Environmental Literacy

We’ve been focusing our attention this year on strengthening and expanding our environmental education work, the foundation of which is our new Science in Nature program.

Michelle Eckman, who joined Connecticut Audubon Society in January 2012 as director of education, has been participating in environmental literacy efforts across the state. She wrote this post about recent happenings...

We’ve been focusing our attention this year on strengthening and expanding our environmental education work, the foundation of which is our new Science in Nature program. Our belief is that environmental literacy is essential to an enlightened, conservation-minded pubic, now and in future generations.

Our education program is designed to address specific goals outlined in the Connecticut Environmental Literacy Plan, and so we were delighted earlier this month when Governor Malloy issued a proclamation supporting the plan. Here’s part of what it said:

Connecticut’s future depends on its citizens being environmentally literate and able to make informed choices about issues such as energy and water use, air quality and land development …

Therefore I, Dannel P. Malloy … support environmental literacy and sustainable communities and convey honor on the Connecticut Environmental Literacy Plan as a way to meet environmental challenges in the State of Connecticut.

Connecticut’s Environmental Literacy Plan was devised by a steering committee of education experts, starting in 2009, in response to federal No Child Left Inside legislation (Ellen Castaldini, a longtime member of the regional board of our Center at Glastonbury, was a member of the steering committee).

You can find a link to the plan here, on the website of the Connecticut Outdoor and Environmental Education Association. We particularly like this summary, in the section of the plan called, “Background: The Need for Environmental Literacy”:

An Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) for Connecticut is an important stepping-stone for our state’s future. It is imperative that we act now to prepare today’s students - tomorrow’s citizens and policy makers - with the proper knowledge and skills to make critical decisions regarding our global and local resources and environmental health. The ultimate goal is for all citizens in Connecticut to use environmental literacy for individual and social purposes to create and maintain sustainable communities.

This is precisely what we had in mind earlier this year when we released our Connecticut State of the Birds 2012 report, “Where Is the Next Generation of Conservationists Coming From?”

Connecticut Audubon Society’s education program is designed to reach that next generation. We will inaugurate Science in Nature in September, for Bridgeport and Fairfield schools, and expand statewide in coming years. We intend to keep our focus on the ELP and we like to think of the Governor’s support as an indirect endorsement of our initiative.

Our belief is that environmental literacy is essential to an economically, mentally and physically healthy society, now and in future generations.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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