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Environmental Education

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Academic Standards Under Review

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a transparent and comprehensive process for reviewing and revising academic standards. The process began with a Notice of Intent to review and a public comment period which began on August 2nd, 2017 for ​Environmental Education. The State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council examined those comments and recommended to revise the standards. The State Superintendent authorized the writing of new Wisconsin Academic Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability.

The writing committee has developed a draft of the new standards. The first draft was released on January 31, 2018 for public review and provided to the education committees of the legislature. After the comment period ends, the State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council will provide further review. The State Superintendent then determines adoption of the standards.

Public hearings will take place from February 12th at the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6 Conference Center, Collaborations Conference Room, 2300 State Road 44, Oshkosh and February 13th at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) headquarters, 125 South Webster Street, Room P41, Madison. Both hearings will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. 


Washburn School District Awarded Green Ribbon for Sustainability Efforts - Read more

Evers congratulates state’s 2017 Green Ribbon School award recipients

Read press release

Environmental education is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The language makes EE programs explicitly eligible for funding under Title IV of the bill:

  • Environmental education is called out as eligible for funding under a $1.6B “well-rounded education” grants program
  • Environmental literacy programs are eligible for funding as part of the $1B 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
  • The prioritization of STEM activities including “hands-on learning” and “field-based or service learning” to enhance understanding of STEM subjects provides additional opportunities for environmental science education programs. 

Download the fact sheet from the North American Association for Environmental Education

Wisconsin Legislature supports "Wisconsin Children's Outdoor Heritage" Resolution

Read more.

How is Environmental Education Implemented?

Teacher and students outside

Environmental education teaches students how to think, not what to think. Environmental education instruction utilizes a variety of instructional models and guidelines that have been long accepted in the field of education. Through integrating environmental education into content areas, educators can also differentiate instruction, engage less motivated learners, and challenge students who are ready to go further. 

Many Wisconsin schools integrate environmental examples into some of their coursework, thereby fostering enthusiasm not only for learning about the world we live in, but also for reading, math, science, social studies, art, health and other disciplines. In fact, Wisconsin leads the nation in green schools where the environment is used as context for learning all subjects! Infusing environmental education throughout the K-12 curriculum increases classroom learning and can help students develop critical thinking, reasoning, and effective cooperative skills. 

Wisconsin has many resources to support environmental education in schools. For more information and resources, see the links on the left-side menu.


For questions about this information, contact Victoria Rydberg (608) 266-0419