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State EE Advocacy News (March 2022)
We're excited to read how environmental and climate education is gaining momentum in recent news. In this blog post, we outline bills under consideration in the states of Washington and Rhode Island. And New Mexico celebrates a win for outdoor learning!
"Outdoor Education Bill in Budget Negotiations in WA Legislature," The Seattle Times
"House Bill 2078 would establish two programs intended to increase Washington students’ outdoor learning opportunities, one of which would make grants available to school districts, tribal schools and outdoor education providers. The other program, called the Outdoor Education Experiences Program, creates funding for public schools to send all fifth and sixth grade students on outdoor learning trips."
"New Mexico Teachers, Students to Have Spaces for Outdoor Learning," Santa Fe New Mexican
“There are so many evidence-based benefits for kids’ health; physical and mental and spiritual health,” [Environmental Education New Mexico spokeswoman Stephanie] Haan-Amato said. “This new program ... is a very important first step in realizing equitable outdoor and environmental learning in New Mexico.”
“'You don’t talk to a 5-year-old about p-values in research articles, about how everything [with climate change] is death and destruction,' said Jeanine Silversmith, executive director of the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association. 'You get them excited about the natural world, encourage good observation skills, how to argue what they are seeing, debate what they see with another student, or give peer feedback. It’s all good science skills. It’s just using climate change as an anchor phenomena.'
The bill received broad support in a recent House Environment and Natural Resources Committee hearing from educators and trade groups. It is the second year in a row climate literacy legislation has been introduced."
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