TAKE STUDENTS OUTSIDE TO LEARN ON EARTH DAY 2010
April 9, 2010
|April 9, 2010||For Information Contact:|
|For Immediate Release||Tom Zolper, 443-482-2066|
|– or –|
|Emily Hartman, 202-518-0044, ext. 30|
Take Students Outside to Learn on Earth Day 2010–
Earth Day Network and the No Child Left Inside Coalition Issue Call to Action: Get Smart, Get Healthy, and Get Kids Outside
ANNAPOLIS, MD — In recognition of the critical role that environmental and outdoor education play in increasing student achievement, promoting healthy and active lifestyles, and preparing the nation’s youth for 21st century green jobs, the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI) and the Earth Day Network Education team today called on teachers and schools across the nation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by taking students outside to learn on April 22, 2010.
“Get Smart, Get Healthy, and Get Kids Outside. That’s the essence of our message to parents and teachers on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Mother Nature is a great teacher.” said Don Baugh, Director of the NCLI Coalition and Vice President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a founding member of No Child Left Inside Coalition. The two organizations say they hope every teacher and school in the United States will mark the anniversary by providing time outside for learning activities as part of the school day.
“We know that environmental education improves student achievement, encourages young people to get interested in science, and it certainly supports the new national effort led by First Lady Michelle Obama to reduce childhood obesity,” said Baugh.
“The first Earth Day in 1970 inspired millions of youth across America to take action for the environment,” said Sean S. Miller, Earth Day Network Education Director. “Now, we are proud to partner with the No Child Left Inside Coalition to ensure that our next generation is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century.”
President Obama took an important first step when he included funding for environmental education in his proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Education. “We are so pleased that President Obama recognizes the link between environmental education and an emerging green jobs and clean energy economy,” said Baugh. “We think that getting children outside on Earth Day is a great way to send the message to Congress to pass the No Child Left Inside Act this year.”
The No Child Left Inside Act would provide $100 million dollars to states to provide high quality environmental instruction. Funds would support outdoor learning activities both at school and in non-formal environmental education centers, teacher professional development and the creation of state environmental literacy plans.
Many schools were forced by the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law to sacrifice subjects like environmental education to spend more time preparing students for high-stakes reading and math tests. Many teachers and parents also report that field trips and time devoted to outdoor learning activities have been cut to give more time to tested subjects.
Environmental education programs can yield extensive benefits. A number of studies have found that students who take part in environmentally-themed lessons do better in science and other core subjects, and are more engaged in learning. Getting outside to learn also encourages a healthy lifestyle, and can alleviate symptoms associated with attention disorders and depression.
The movement to increase outdoor learning and play for children has been picking up dramatic momentum in recent years. “Across the country, many schools have made learning outside a priority for students, and they have seen the benefits,” Miller said. “But it’s time to make sure that all students have that opportunity. What better time to start than on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day?”
About the No Child Left Inside Coalition
NCLI is a broad-based grassroots organization made up of more than 1,600 member groups representing 50 million individuals from across the United States. Our membership, which is growing steadily, includes environmental, educational, business, public health, outdoor recreation, and conservation groups. Since its inception in 2006, the NCLI Coalition has become the leading voice for environmental education, speaking for a diverse group of Americans who believe all of our nation’s young people should receive a strong education about their natural world. The Coalition’s federal policy goal is to ensure the inclusion of the No Child Left Inside Act in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
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About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network was founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, have a moral right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Our mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable environment. We pursue our mission through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer activism campaigns.
Earth Day Network campaign and programs are predicated on the belief that an educated, energized population will take action to secure a healthy future for itself and its children. The organization has a global reach with a network of more than 20,000 partners and organizations in 190 countries. Earth Day Network is a 501(c)3 organization located in Washington, D.C.