The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) announced its endorsement of legislation to expand and strengthen hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities for elementary and secondary school students around the country.
The No Child Left Inside Act, which Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) reintroduced for the 118th Congress today, would provide grants to states to integrate environmental education and field experiences into public schools’ core academic program and provide the necessary training to teachers.
The bill calls for the Department of Education to set up an environmental literacy advisory panel and coordinate environmental education activities across federal agencies. It also charges the department with posting information about federal environmental education resources on its website.
Studies have shown that outdoor learning engages students more than classroom instruction. Field experiences also help them develop important skills such as perseverance, self-confidence, and leadership. Students also report feeling more connected to nature.
Now in its 50th year, CBF’s award-winning environmental education program has been a cornerstone of our efforts to save the Bay and inspire future generations of Bay savers.
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 Sarbanes’ bill include House Bay delegation members Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Reps. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.). Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Senate version of the No Child Left Inside Act today as well.
CBF Vice President for Environmental Education Tom Ackerman issued the following statement:
“Today’s students live in a world dominated by technology and challenged by disinformation about climate change. They rarely learn about, much less experience, how important a clean, healthy environment is to their future and the future of this planet.
“No Child Left Inside would make a desperately needed down payment to help students develop the connection to nature and the critical thinking skills necessary to be creative environmental problem-solvers.
“CBF appreciates Rep. Sarbanes’ unwavering commitment to promoting environmental literacy in the Bay watershed and around the country. We are proud to endorse his legislation and urge Congress to give environmental education the priority it deserves.”