OAK supports initiatives that provide children and youth with opportunities to learn about — and in — the great outdoors. These initiatives provide experiences that are both in-school and out-of school experiential learning, are hands-on; and ultimately improve both academic skills and practical skills, promote environmental literacy and create the well-rounded education that all kids need to thrive.
- Outdoor and environmental education is integral to school curricula from early childhood through high school.
- All children and youth, from prekindergarten through grade 12, have access to high-quality and safe outdoor learning environments.
- All children, youth and families have regular, safe and varied opportunities to engage in outdoor and environmental education through non-formal community education providers, during out of school time, and with natural resource agencies on our nation’s public lands and waters.
Legislative Issues and Initiatives Related to Education
- SUPPORT No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI), which creates incentives for states to implement environmental literacy plans for pre-kindergarten through grade twelve public school students — including opportunities for schools to partner with community organizations. OAK Supports the inclusion of NCLI in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.
- SUPPORT Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, which will improve children’s health, support economic growth and strengthen the future of conservation in America by providing state-level incentives to develop five-year state strategies that connect children, youth, and families with the natural world, support research documenting the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in nature, and direct the President of the United States to develop a similar strategy at the federal level by bringing together federal agencies and national partners to create a national action plan.
- SUPPORT restoration of funding for key outdoor education programs through the Congressional appropriations process including reauthorization of the National Environmental Education Act. OAK supports robust appropriations for federal programs that contribute to environmental and outdoor education. In particular, OAK supports full funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Education Act programs, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET), and Environmental Literacy Grants programs
Administrative Issues and Initiatives Related to Education
- SUPPORT the Department of the Interior Secretary Jewell’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative. OAK supports the Secretary’s campaign to expand opportunities for play, learning, youth service and volunteer work on our nation’s public lands. Specific to this OAK pillar, over the next four years, the initiative aims to offer education opportunities to over 10 million students both in classrooms and outdoors.
- SUPPORT the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program, which includes outdoor time and environmental education in its criteria. Through the Green Ribbon Schools program, the U.S. Department of Education will recognize schools with high levels of achievement under three pillars: having a net zero environmental impact; improving the health and performance of students and staff; and ensuring the environmental and sustainability literacy of all graduates.
- SUPPORT Every Kid in a Park program to encourage children to learn and get active outdoors. Every Kid in a Park will work with schools and partners to provide free passes for fourth graders to visit our public lands, waters and shores. The program also provides transportation resources for Title I schools and educational programming.