by Olivia Wisner
July 14, 2021
High-level leaders from state natural resource and education agencies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed gathered with federal and nongovernmental partners virtually on June 15, 2021 to discuss the state of environmental literacy efforts in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The 2021 Mid-Atlantic Environmental Literacy Summit was convened by Chesapeake Bay program partners the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Chesapeake bay Office. It focused on ensuring equity as we prepare the next generation of climate-ready environmental stewards. Participants heard from national leaders in climate change education and educational equity, including Dr. John B. King, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and president of The Education Trust, Patti Curtis of the U.S. Department of Education and Laura Schifter of the Aspen Institute.
Throughout the day, the 200 registrants engaged in meaningful breakout sessions that centered around key topics affecting the field today, such as how to apply lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, involving K-12 students in climate action and policy and building career awareness to support the green economy .
The day ended with representatives from each state sharing the priorities that they intend to pursue as a result of the conversations they had at the summit, which included updating state environmental literacy plans, better connecting civics education to student environmental literacy, reinvigorating environmental education associations and providing targeted professional development to current teachers and teachers in training.
The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Education Workgroup will be working with state teams on these and other goals coming out of the summit. The workgroup will also examine the environmental literacy action plans of the Chesapeake Bay Program for opportunities to better represent equity and climate change education in all that it does.
These efforts support the Environmental Literacy Goal outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which the workgroup strives to achieve.