Planting the seeds of ecoliteracy to grow environmental leaders
Climate Corps Education Outside (CCEO), a program of Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), advances science education and environmental literacy in urban elementary schools by bringing learning outdoors. Our aim is to spark children's interest in science and connect them to the natural world through consistent, hands-on classes in school gardens. We achieve this by placing a dedicated AmeriCorps Fellow at each participating school site, who leads science and ecoliteracy lessons for K-5 students throughout the school year. During the 2019-20 cycle, we will serve 35 school sites in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Children are spending less time outdoors than ever before in human history. The term “Nature-Deficit Disorder,” coined by Richard Louv in 2005, describes the human costs of alienation from nature. The Children & Nature Network is home to an expanding body of scientific evidence which suggests that “nature-deficit disorder contributes to a diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, conditions of obesity, and higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses. Research also suggests that the nature-deficit weakens ecological literacy and stewardship of the natural world. These problems are linked more broadly to what health care experts call the “epidemic of inactivity,” and to a devaluing of independent play. Nonetheless, we believe that society’s nature-deficit disorder can be reversed.”
Our mission is to build environmental leaders to drive climate solutions, and we know that time engaged in outdoor activities influences a feeling of connection to nature and leads to environmental stewardship. Research shows that children’s daily contact with nature supports: