The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) endorsed legislation introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today to expand and strengthen hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities for elementary and secondary school students around the country.
The No Child Left Inside Act would provide grants for states and school districts to integrate environmental education and field experiences into their core academic programs and offer the necessary training to teachers. The bill would authorize $150 million annually through 2027.
The bill also would require the Department of Education to establish an advisory panel to report on environmental education activities across the federal government and post information on environmental education resources on the department’s website.
Studies have shown that students are more engaged when learning outdoors and develop important skills such as perseverance, self-confidence, and leadership from these experiences. Students also report feeling more connected to nature.
CBF’s award-winning environmental education program has been a cornerstone of our efforts to save the Bay for nearly 50 years. CBF educates tens of thousands of students, teachers, and school administrators a year—25 percent from under-resourced schools—through immersive field experiences and professional development courses that foster a lifelong connection to the watershed and its stewardship.
Original co-sponsors of the House version of No Child Left Inside are Bay delegation members Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), and Albio Sires (D-N.J.). Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Va.) introduced the Senate version of the bill today.
CBF Vice President for Education Tom Ackerman said:
“CBF has invested in environmental education and raised generations of Bay-savers because students need to be aware of and prepared for the challenges they are going to face as citizens, as participants in the economy, and as voters.
“Hands-on, scientific investigation outdoors helps young people develop critical-thinking skills and connect with their environment. With all of the time kids spend online and indoors, it is more important than ever that every student has access to these incredible, life-changing experiences.”
CBF Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko said:
“CBF applauds the dedication of House Bay champs John Sarbanes, Gerry Connolly, and Eleanor Holmes Norton to ensuring that elementary and secondary school students can reap the education and emotional benefits of outdoor learning.
“We are proud to support the No Child Left Inside Act, and urge Congress to put environmental literacy at the top of the nation’s education agenda.”