Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Environmental Education and Environmental Literacy

Information on current environmental literacy resources and grant opportunities.

Distance Learning and COVID-19 Science Resources

Guidance and resources for teachers and families in K-12 schools regarding high quality distance learning (Content Resources tab)

Overview

The California Department of Education (CDE) supports environmental education and environmental literacy in kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) schools, through our California Regional Environmental Education Community Program and by providing access to resources and grant opportunities both internal and external to CDE.

A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

Recognizing that critical environmental concerns face California, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson convened the California Environmental Literacy Task Force to think deeply about how to build a future for an environment that is sustainable, healthy, prosperous, and equitable. The resulting report, A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every Student In, About, and For the Environment provides guiding strategies and recommendations to realize the ambitious goal of achieving environmental literacy for all California students.

Report

A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every Student In, About, and For the Environment (PDF)
Accessible Alternate Version of A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

Lyris Email List

Email lists: If you would like to receive Environmental Science Education updates via email notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to Environmental Science and Environmental Education, subscribe to the Lyris email list by sending a "blank" message to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Environmental Science Education Lyris email list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

 

EE Grants

CDE Environmental Education Grant Program (EEGP)

The CDE’s EEGP provides grants to support programs that will result in long-term educational benefits to California educators and students. The EEGP plays a vital role in connecting California educators with professional development and information about high-quality, standards-based environmental education programs.

Funded projects provide high-quality instructional resource materials and professional learning opportunities for educators and help connect teachers to regional environmental literacy and education sites with the goal of increasing students' environmental literacy levels. California Public Resources Code Chapter 1105 Section 21190(c) permits the State Department of Education to administer moneys appropriated "for the purposes of this subdivision to fund environmental education programs of school districts, other local schools, state agencies other than the State Department of Education, and community organizations."

EEGP Request for Applications

In 2021, the California Department of Education (CDE) received an allocation of $360,000 from the Environmental License Plate Funds (ELPF) to be distributed per Public Resources Code Chapter 1105 Section 21190 (c) "for the purposes of this subdivision to fund environmental education programs of school districts, other local schools, state agencies other than the State Department of Education, and community organizations.” The 2021-22 Request for Applications (RFA) for the California Environmental Literacy Projects is available for viewing.

Current Funding Results

Past Funding Results

In 2017, the state legislature approved an allocation to CDE from the following sources: ELPF and Budget Act of 2017, Item 6100-488-0001, Provision 6. These funds were distributed through the Environmental Education Program.

Other Grants Available to Schools

California Coastal Commission Whale Tail Grants

The California Coastal Commission offers WHALE TAIL® Grants External link opens in new window or tab. for nonprofits, schools, and government entities.

California State Parks Grant Program

The Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS) External link opens in new window or tab. develops grant programs that provide funding for local, state, and nonprofit organization projects.

Grants Posted on CREEC Network Website

Use this map to locate your CREEC Region number and click on the appropriate Region link to see statewide and regional grants for incorporating environmental literacy into schools.

U.S. EPA Environmental Education Grants

Under the Environmental Education Grants Program External link opens in new window or tab., EPA seeks grant applications from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment.

Lyris Email List

Email lists: If you would like to receive Environmental Science Education updates via email notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to Environmental Science and Environmental Education, subscribe to the Lyris email list by sending a "blank" message to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Environmental Science Education Lyris email list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

 

Programs & Resources

CDE Programs and Initiatives

California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network
The CREEC Network is a program of the California Department of Education. The CREEC Network is a network supporting the environmental literacy of California’s students by providing teachers with access to high quality environmental education resources.

Green Ribbon Schools Award Program
The California Green Ribbon Schools (CA-GRS) recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) to recognize schools and school districts across the state for environmental excellence and demonstrated achievement of the three Pillars of ED-GRS.

Resources

California's Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C's) External link opens in new window or tab.
The EP&C's examine the interactions and interdependence of human societies and natural systems.

Lyris Email List

Email lists: If you would like to receive Environmental Science Education updates via email notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to Environmental Science and Environmental Education, subscribe to the Lyris email list by sending a "blank" message to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Environmental Science Education Lyris email list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

 

Partners & Networks

Partner Statewide Networks

California Environmental Education Interagency Network (CEEIN)
Consortium of the CDE, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the Department of Food and Agriculture that supplies environmental educational services, materials, and programs. Access curriculum and resources for each participating agency through this link.

The California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI) External link opens in new window or tab.
CAELI is a public-private partnership that works with school districts and county offices of education throughout California, building the capacity for all K–12 students to become environmentally literate. CAELI, led by Ten Strands External link opens in new window or tab., works with statewide guidance from a leadership council to support environmental literacy with a focus on access, equity, and cultural relevance.

California Outdoor Schools Association (COSA)
Information about COSA, a statewide network of outdoor schools and faculty that are managed by local educational agencies.

Lyris Email List

Email lists: If you would like to receive Environmental Science Education updates via email notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to Environmental Science and Environmental Education, subscribe to the Lyris email list by sending a "blank" message to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Environmental Science Education Lyris email list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

 

Climate Change

In addition to our Environmental Education and Environmental Literacy web page, Multiple California Department of Education (CDE) web pages and California County Office of Education web pages provide information and resources to teach adults and students in grades TK-12 about climate change. Climate change education is a critical component of environmental literacy education. Environmentally literate citizens are necessary to help people survive in particular areas of the Unites States affected by climate change and to create necessary technology and mitigation practices. Therefore, the CDE currently has multiple programs to help create environmentally literate California citizens.

Professional Learning

Climate change is addressed through multiple academic content areas provided on the CDE Professional Learning Curriculum Areas web page. The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network provides professional learning opportunities, access to high quality curriculum instructional materials, and support to teachers to develop lessons related to environmental literacy. More information about the CREEC Network can be found on the CDE CREEC Network web page.

State Content Standards

Climate change is addressed through multiple academic content areas provided on the CDE Content Standards web page.

State Frameworks

Climate change is addressed through multiple California State Frameworks provided on the Curriculum Frameworks & Instructional Materials web page.

California Green Ribbon School Award Program Resources

Climate change is addressed in multiple resources that help California schools achieve a California Green Ribbon School Aware. Resources are listed on the Green Ribbon Application Resources web page.

California Environmental Principles and Concepts

The California Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C's) examine the interactions and interdependence of human societies and natural systems. As stated in California Education Code Section 51227.3. "the environmental principles and concepts shall be incorporated, as the state board determines to be appropriate, in the criteria developed for textbook adoption required pursuant to Section 60200 or 60400." More information about the EP&Cs is provided on the San Diego County Office of Education's Environmental Literacy in CA External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

California Summits and Events Related to Climate Change Education

Multiple summits and events have occurred in California dedicated to climate change education. A list of some recent events and resources related to those events are provided below.

The 2019 University of California-California State University Environmental and Climate Literacy Summit.

Resources to Teach About Climate Change

CREEC Network Resources

Use this map to locate your CREEC Region number and click on the appropriate Region link to see statewide and regional resources for incorporating environmental literacy (including climate change) into lessons with students.

Resources from the 2019 University of California-California State University Environmental and Climate Literacy Summit.

Lyris Email List

Email lists: If you would like to receive Environmental Science Education updates via email notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to Environmental Science and Environmental Education, subscribe to the Lyris email list by sending a "blank" message to join-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Environmental Science Education Lyris email list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-environmental-science-ed@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

 

 

Questions: Standards Implementation Support Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Recently Posted in Curriculum Areas
  • SSCE Frequently Asked Questions (added 01-Apr-2021)
    Answers to frequently asked questions about the State Seal of Civic Engagement (SSCE).
  • State Seal of Biliteracy: Ideas from the Field (added 19-Mar-2021)
    The data presented in the following table is a record of suggestions for supporting, promoting, and expanding participation in the State Seal of Biliteracy opportunity through local action.
  • Global California 2030: Suggestions from the Field (added 19-Mar-2021)
    The data presented in the following table is a record of suggestions for supporting, promoting, and expanding participation in the Global California 2030 initiative (Global 2030) through local action.