EE Advocacy Priorities

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Addressing complex and urgent environmental problems requires an informed and engaged citizenry. Federal environmental education (EE) programs through the EPA and NOAA have been crucial in funding local education initiatives that help students and the general public participate in community decisions about environmental issues.

Additionally, we’re working to build bipartisan support for a new climate change education program. Education is a critical tool when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. We are also exploring opportunities to strengthen support for and improve access to environmental and outdoor education for preK–12 students.

For the fiscal year 2023 Federal Appropriations, we are seeking an overdue funding increase for the programs listed below:

Federal Legislation

NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program

NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) Program

National Environmental Education Act/EPA Office of Environmental Education

Climate Change Education Act

No Child Left Inside Act of 2022

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NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program

The NOAA B-WET program promotes locally relevant, experiential learning for K–12 students. The competitive, peer-reviewed funding promotes “meaningful watershed educational experiences” in six regions: California, Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Hawai'i, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. Since 2002, NOAA has invested over $50 million to support more than 600 B-WET projects. Funding has been stagnant over the past few years, while the need for this type of education has grown dramatically. 

  • NAAEE Position:  We endorse increased funding to the FY 2010 level of $12 million
  • Key decision-makers: Members of House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on commerce and related agencies
  • Our Ask: We urge Members of Congress to sign a letter to Appropriators in support of this funding

NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) Program

The NOAA ELG Program provides the public with science-based environmental education related to increasing community resilience and efficacy in solving local problems.  Funding for the ELG program has been level for a number of years, while demand for the funding has grown. 

  • NAAEE Position: We endorse increased funding back to the FY 2010 level of $8 million
  • Key decision-makers: Members of House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on commerce and related agencies
  • Our Ask: We urge Members of Congress to sign a letter to Appropriators in support of this funding

Download our fact sheet on NOAA B-WET and ELG funding to share with Congressional offices.


National Environmental Education Act/EPA Office of Environmental Education

This 30-year-old federal program directs essential grants to EE across the country. It funds innovative programming, facilitates key professional development, enables scholars and practitioners to conduct basic research, and provides vital basic services for the field. The program is central to the work of EE, including a local grant program key for communities all around the US.

  • NAAEE Position: This very successful program should be funded at $10 million for fiscal year 2023, a modest increase from FY 2016 appropriation of $9.6 million, which was then cut to $8.7 million for the past few years
  • Key decision-makers:  Members of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittee on interior, environment, and related agencies
  • Our Ask: We urge Members of Congress to sign a letter to Appropriators in support of this funding

Download our fact sheet on funding the National Environmental Education Act to share with Congressional offices.


Climate Change Education Act

The Climate Change Education Act will create a Climate Change Education program at NOAA designed to strengthen community capacity to address local climate issues. The program will fund education about resilience strategies to counter the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, droughts, and other extreme weather events. The program would also support teacher training in STEM and other fields to incorporate climate change science into K–12 curricula. The Congressional bills (S. 966, H.R. 2310), were reintroduced in 2020 and are identical to one another.

  • NAAEE Position: Climate education should be an essential component of any comprehensive legislative effort to address climate change
  • Our Ask: We urge Members of Congress to cosponsor the Climate Change Education Act and to include related language in any climate change measures proposed this year

Download our Climate Change Education Act fact sheet to share with Congressional offices.


No Child Left Inside Act of 2022

Champions for EE in the Senate and House are expected to introduced an updated version of the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) in the spring of 2022. A previous iteration of the bill was instrumental in securing language making environmental education programs explicitly eligible for certain federal education grants. The new version of NCLI will build on that important first step by providing grants for implementation of state-wide environmental literacy plans and establishing a national pilot program for outdoor school models.

  • NAAEE Position: When introduced, we will urge legislators to become cosponsors of the legislation and support strengthening EE in federal preK–12 education policy. 
  • SIGN UP to receive timely updates and action alerts about the No Child Left Inside Act.
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New to advocacy? Getting started is easier than you think!

  1. The first step is to find out who represents you and the areas where your program has impact. Use the Senate and House websites to find your legislators.
  2. Once you know who represents you (and your program), learn more about their record of support for EE (note tabs on the bottom to switch from Senate to House).
  3. Explore our current advocacy priorities (above) and use the instructions and resources provided to reach out to Congress today!

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Continue Learning on eePRO

Join the Advocacy, Policy & Civic Engagement Group for regular updates on NAAEE’s policy initiatives and our monthly grassroots EE advocacy calls.

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