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N.C. Environmental Literacy Plan


North Carolina's Environmental Literacy Plan

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality entered into a partnership to develop a state environmental literacy plan. North Carolina's environmental literacy plan has been developed by DPI and DEQ in partnership with Environmental Educators of North Carolina, the state professional association for environmental educators, and the NC Association of Environmental Education Centers, with additional input from a wide range stakeholders in the education and environmental communities.


NC Environmental Literacy Plan

View an interactive version of the state's Environmental Literacy Plan or view the PDF version

NC Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group
Representatives from DEQ, DPI, EENC, NCAEEC, higher education, teacher education, teachers, environmental non-profits and other stakeholder groups actively participate in the NC Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group meetings on a bi-monthly basis. Working Group Members




References and Resources
State Environmental Literacy Plans - 2013 Status Report

This report from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) provides an update of the status of individual states’ environmental literacy plans as summarized by NAAEE staff between July 30th and December 5th, 2012. A total of 47 states, as well as the District of Columbia, completed online surveys or were interviewed over the phone to gather these results.

North Carolina Environmental Education Plan, 3rd Edition (pdf, 3.0Mb)
N.C.'s master plan for environmental education. The environmental literacy plan supports many of the goals and objectives outlined in the NC Environmental Education Plan. Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE)
North Carolina's Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort - also known as ACRE - is the state's comprehensive initiative to redefine the Standard Course of Study for K-12 students, the student testing program and the school accountability model. In undertaking this ambitious work, North Carolina education leaders are the first in the nation to address learning standards, student tests and school accountability simultaneously.

Developing a framework for assessing environmental literacy
This document was developed by researchers, educators, and assessment specialists in social studies, science, and environmental education and experts in other related disciplines.


reading outside
Researchers in the N.C. State University College of Natural Resources have released a study on environmental literacy among North Carolina middle school students. Environmental, Institutional, and Demographic Predictors of Environmental Literacy among Middle School Children can be found in the in the online, open access peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

The study shows that several factors have a positive effect on environmental literacy for various student groups, including time spent in outdoor learning experiences, the use of published environmental education curricula and teacher experience and education level.

Fact Sheet

News Release: Outdoor Education Helps Minority Students Close Gap in Environmental Literacy

Complete article in PLOS ONE


What Other States Are Doing
North Carolina is one of several states developing environmental literacy plans. Below are a few examples:

Utah Environmental Literacy Plan
The vast majority of Utah educators and ninety-five percent of parents and schoolchildren nationwide have requested that environmental education be incorporated into their state’s core curriculum. In order to satisfy the needs of the educators and students in this state, USEE is defining and developing an Environmental Literacy Plan. Through collaboration with state and community agencies, organizations, and partners, USEE is spearheading the initiative to make Utah a leader in environmental education.

Nebraska Alliance for Conservation and Environment Education

On August 11, 2010, the Nebraska Environmental Literacy Plan was presented to the Nebraska Board of Education. Over the past 12 months, NACEE has coordinated stakeholder meetings across the state of Nebraska to create a comprehensive Environmental Literacy Plan for the State of Nebraska. Through these input sessions, feedback from more than 110 individuals representing: classroom educators; nature centers; government agencies; non profits; environmental, conservation and agricultural organizations was obtained. The plan was well received by the Commissioners.
Nebraska Environmental Literacy Plan (pdf)

Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature
Maryland's environmental literacy planning efforts started through an Executive Order (pdf, 30kb) issued by Governor Martin O'Malley in April 2008. The Executive Order established a Partnership charged with developing and implementing an environmental literacy plan as well as a plan to provide youth with structured and unstructured opportunities for play, outdoor recreation, learning and scientific study. The Partnership issued their final report, which included the environmental literacy plan, in April 2009. In October 2009, they released the FY2010 State Action Plan for implementing the recommendations called for in the final report.
Final Report and Recommendations (pdf)

Oregon Environmental Literacy Task Force

The Oregon Environmental Literacy Task Force was created when House Bill 2544 (2009 Session) was signed into law. House Bill 2544, also known as the “No Child Left Inside Act,” created the eleven-member Oregon Environmental Literacy Task Force. The Task Force was charged with developing the Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan and reporting back to the Legislature by October 1, 2010.
Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan (pdf)