All children and youth have regular, safe, and varied opportunities to learn in and about the natural world. OAK supports efforts to:
- integrate environmental and outdoor education into the formal pre and K-12 school curricula;
- establish or improve high-quality and safe outdoor learning environments; and
- strengthen and expand educational programs outside the public school system that are related to our public lands, waters and shores.
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.