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Maryland preK-12 schools have developed an integrated Environmental Literacy Program to involve students with the environment from a young age, and from a variety of angles.
In early August, more than 160 teachers, administrators and other education professionals gathered for an Environmental Literacy Summit in the beautiful setting of Rocky Gap State Park. Every school county in Maryland sent roughly five representatives focused on refining their understanding of the environment, including scientific knowledge, and social issues like environmental jobs. The Maryland State Department of Education funded the gathering with a Math-Science Partnership grant.
Environmental issues won’t only be taught from a scientific standpoint. In this model, they will be integrated into subjects like math, social studies, literature, and even art classes. Without neglecting a global perspective, the Environmental Literacy Program will focus on Maryland and local issues. It’s hoped this will bring issues like climate change and environmental jobs closer to home.
In, Carrie Samis, the education coordinator at Maryland Coastal Bays, writes, “The process of . . . reviewing a slew of potential actions which may help us mitigate or adapt to our changing climate, will help prepare students for tackling complex environmental issues in the future.”
Students who learn through this program will have a great understanding not only of how the environment affects all aspects of life, but will be better prepared for seeking environmental jobs. As environmental jobs become more necessary, these kids will be well positioned for success.
In a country where education is changing as rapidly as the climate, it’s encouraging to see educators who understand that the environmental issues future generations will face will be dramatically different from those we face today, and who are dedicated to preparing children for that responsibility.
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