Public Comments for: HB636 - Virginia student environmental literacy; grant fund and program.
Environmental literacy is absolutely necessary. The next generation faces an urgent environmental crisis. Without action we will fail as society, as humanity. Environmental literacy will help save our planet—and help new generation advance the urgently needed careers and awareness
We strongly support the legislation. Promoting environmental literacy and providing our youth with opportunities to learn about Virginia’s natural resources through outdoor field experiences is very important to our organization and members. These opportunities are key to creating future stewards of the Commonwealth’s environment. We are very grateful to Delegate Carr for carrying this bill and championing environmental education.
This bill would support workforce development for 21st century jobs and protection of our natural resources. It would allow for the people to gain a better understanding of their local environment and it's global impact.
I want to offer my support to this bill HB636. I think enhancing and promoting environmental literacy programs is an essential piece in reaching an overall goal of community growth and relationship building. These programs help the community at large build a respect and understanding of the natural resources in their backyards and often engender a commonality of purpose with their neighbors. These programs promote civic engagement and help people see the benefits of preserving and protecting the natural world around them to share with visitors and future generations alike. Please vote yes on this bill!
Friends of the Rappahannock supports HB636. There currently exists a leadership void in state government for environmental literacy after the Office of Environmental Education was disbanded due to budget cuts. This bill helps to begin the process of re-instilling that leadership with the creation of a state wide environmental literacy plan.
Deborah Mitchell, a senior editor for Environmental Protection magazine explains that the benefits of teaching environmental literacy helps develop and expand children’s critical thinking skills, prepares them for citizenship, nurtures their appreciation of the natural world, and enhances their physical well-being. HB636 will require the Department of Education, along with other stakeholders to establish a Virginia student environmental literacy plan that will prepare students the major environmental challenges facing the Commonwealth and the United States; provide field experiences; and create opportunities for the enhanced and ongoing professional development of teachers. This bill will help students to recognize the value of Virginia’s extraordinary natural resources as well. Legislators can support local school districts and advance Virginia’s STEM efforts, with the goal of creating a workforce ready to be successful in the high paying and in-demand jobs of the future. Therefore, CCAN Action Fund supports this bill HB636.
SUPPORT HB636 Reasons to support HB636: 1) Environmental education combines many disciplines and builds teamwork as well as high-level thinking and problem solving skills. 2) Legislators can support local school districts and advance Virginia’s STEM efforts, with the goal of creating a workforce ready to be successful in the high paying and in-demand jobs of the future. 3) Learning how humans impact the environment positively and negatively and recognizing the value of Virginia’s extraordinary natural resources is an essential part of our state education standards. 4) Many school districts are not connected to the curriculum resources, professional development, or local programs needed to offer these types of learning opportunities to all students. Additional statewide coordination will organize and distribute existing resources to all Virginia students and local districts as well as link new initiatives that would benefit from environmental education. Overview: HB636 requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Science Museum of Virginia, and other stakeholders, to establish and update at least once every five years a Virginia student environmental literacy plan. The environmental literacy plan will prepare students to understand the major environmental challenges facing the Commonwealth and the United States; provide field experiences; and create opportunities for the enhanced and ongoing professional development of teachers. The bill requires the plan to include a description of how the Board will measure the environmental literacy of students, programs for the professional development of teachers, and how the Board will implement the plan, including securing funding and other necessary support. The bill establishes the Virginia Student Environmental Literacy Plan Grant Fund and Program, to award competitive grants to any local school board that seeks assistance to initiate, expand, or improve teacher professional development opportunities or student environmental education programs that align with the content and objectives of the plan.
Please SUPPORT HB636