Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan: Building a Network

envlitplancoverby Traci Price

In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed the No Oregon Child Left Inside (NOCLI) Act that established an eleven-member task force charged with developing The Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan: Toward a Sustainable Future[1](OELP). The OELP, accepted by the Oregon Legislature in 2010, articulates a vision for education in Oregon where every student experiences a continuum of place-based, outdoor learning opportunities and becomes a lifelong steward of his or her environment and community, prepared to address challenges with sound decisions for our future.

The OELP’s five learning strands have been comprehensively aligned with Oregon Academic Standards and Essential Skills. You can find a crosswalk of this alignment work on the Oregon Department of Education’s website: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2886. Consider using the OELP crosswalk for your own programs to help get teachers outside!

In 2012, because we have been unsuccessful (so far) in obtaining a governor’s executive order to establish the Oregon Environmental Literacy Council to oversee implementation of the OELP to schools across Oregon, an alternative strategy is under way to formalize OELP integration. Stay tuned for recommendations in early 2013. In addition to devising mechanical support for the OELP, network building for environmental education professionals across Oregon is underway, supported by the board of directors for the Environmental Education Association of Oregon (EEAO). This network building will help fulfill an important vision of the OELP to establish regional “hubs” across Oregon where nonformal professionals can work more collaboratively to cultivate an environmentally literate citizenry.

The OELP project, housed in the near-term by The Oregon Community Foundation, represents partnership, leadership and commitment to reconnecting Oregon youth with the natural world. Longer-term planning, including exploration into establishing a fund, is in process and contingent upon continued contributions from partners and stakeholders across Oregon. If you support the vision of the OELP where:

“Oregonians lead healthy lifestyles, enjoying frequent interaction with the outdoor environment. Oregon’s vibrant and comprehensive education system leads us to develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about our natural world. We understand the interconnections between community, economy, and environment, are able to examine issues from multiple perspectives, and exercise the rights and responsibilities of being an environmentally literate citizenry.”

Please consider joining as a partner to help insure the cultivation of all Oregonians as lifelong stewards of our environment and community working together to preserve our vibrant natural resource legacy. Visit http://www.grayff.org/projects/NOCLI/ for more information.

[1] www.ode.state.or.us/gradelevel/hs/oregon-environmental-literacy-plan.pdf