Anne Lewis on Community Assets
that Build Environmental Literacy
The South Dakota Discovery Center located in Pierre received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency in April 2011 to develop an environmental literacy plan for the state of South Dakota. This plan once developed would be used by the state Department of Education to help achieve certain educational objectives such as integrating 21st Century skills into the schools as well inform the state's green schools program. The plan was intended to support the formal, preK-Grade 12 sector.
A funny thing happened while developing the plan, though. In listening sessions conducted around the state, one of the concerns raised by teachers was whether or not the schools alone could do enough to foster environmental literacy in the students. The repeated message was that the community had an important role to play in developing environmental literacy. As one teacher succinctly put it "If the kids don't get it in the community, they will leave it at school."
This session will explore how communities can foster environmental literacy in youth, families and the citizenry at large. This session will be interactive and will utilize small group work and reporting. We will spend time looking at green maps (www.greenmap.org) and other mapping options. Also, information about mini-grant funds to enhance community assets through a culminating Earth Day event will be provided.
Four Learning Objectives:
As a result of this session, participants will:
- Understand the concept of environmental literacy.
- Reflect on the role of community in developing environmental literacy.
- Know two resources for enhancing their communities' capacity to facilitate environmental literacy.
- Understand how the community can support formal K-12 education institutions in developing environmental literacy.
About Anne Lewis:
Anne Lewis is the Special Projects Director for the South Dakota Discovery Center in Pierre. She coordinates a statewide watershed information and outreach project, oversees the environmental education outreach, and administrates HOP, the Discovery Center's traveling exhibit service. She has a Master's of Arts in Education in Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University in St. Paul. In her free time Anne likes to kayak, bicycle, walk, cook from scratch, and read. Her interests are history, science and sustainable living.