No Child Left Inside Virginia | Advancing Environmental Literacy in the Commonwealth


Student holding crab. Photo copyright Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

As citizens, we have a responsibility to provide future generations with the knowledge, skills, and motivation needed to make informed environmental decisions that are certain to be part of their future. Stewardship is everyone's responsibility, and now is the time to ensure that our students achieve the environmental literacy necessary to help keep Virginia a naturally rich place to live and work. Key to any long-term plan to protect and restore Virginia's waterways and other natural resources is an educated citizenry. Today's young people must understand the connections between the natural world and humankind, and the necessity of environmental stewardship. Environmental education, combined with meaningful outdoor experiences, provides opportunities for students to develop environmental awareness and the abilities they will need to act as conscientious stewards and to address the increasingly complex environmental challenges and opportunities they will face as future citizens, parents, voters, and leaders.

Recent polling shows that nearly three-fourths (74%) of voters say they support placing a greater priority on additional environmental literacy requirements for high school graduates in Virginia, similar to proposals being made in some other states.

Business leaders increasingly recognize the positive impacts of systemic environmental and outdoor education in preparing today's young people to succeed in a 21st Century workforce. Environmental education is inquiry-based, helping students to develop critical and creative thinking and problem solving skills so essential to successful business practices. Moreover, the global market for environmental products and services alone—renewable energy generation and energy efficiency, recycling and waste management, water supply, and other resource management—is projected to double by 2020.

Virginia's No Child Left Inside Coalition is a collaborative effort comprised of organizations from education, conservation, business, health care, outdoor sports, and other communities who believe rich outdoor learning opportunities tied to classroom instruction are important for preparing students for the 21st century workforce.

Virginia's No Child Left Inside Coalition will work with local and state partners to identify and promote actions, programs, and policies that ensure all Virginia students graduate environmentally literate.

Photo © Chesapeake Bay Foundation