Colorado Environmental Education Plan: Leveraging Resources to Advance Environmental Literacy
Colorado students need to be prepared to address present and future environmental challenges and innovations that impact quality of life. Colorado’s environment, economy, and communities depend on informed citizens who can make decisions about air and water quality; the health of farms, ranches, forests and wildlife; how to meet energy and other resource needs; how to create and sustain healthy communities; and how to provide opportunities for residents to partake in the state’s natural beauty while protecting it for future generations.
Colorado Kids Outdoors Grant Program Legislation, HB10-1131
HB10-1131 was signed into law in May 2010. This bill recognizes the importance of the outdoor environment on the health of the state’s residents, especially Colorado youth. This legislation requires the State Board of Education to adopt a statewide plan for environmental education. Beginning in the spring of 2011, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) developed the Colorado Environmental Education Plan (CEEP) to foster the partnerships and awareness needed to promote, coordinate, and sustain standards-based environmental education across the state. The Colorado State Board of Education formally adopted this plan in December 2012.
This Colorado Environmental Education Plan outlines strategies for building a feasible, cost effective, and sustainable infrastructure to support the education of an environmentally literate citizenry. Developing and implementing a statewide environmental education plan depends on CDE and DNR leveraging existing partnerships with teachers, administrators, families, community members, community organizations, business owners, nonprofits, and governmental leaders to develop a visible, accessible, and feasible network for environmental education. The adoption of this plan sets the stage for the vision articulated in HB 10-1131 for coordination and cooperation among schools, districts, and community partners.
Environmental Education Instructional Units
The Environmental Education Instructional Units posted here were authored by a team of Colorado educators. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.
High School Instructional Units
Geography Unit Title: Globalization: Promise or Peril? (Mesa County Valley School District, Boulder Valley School District, Briggsdale School District, and Brighton School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on the many facets of globalization. Students explore the concept of globalization and then examine the political, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of our increasingly interdependent world. Students then look at ways globalization impacts the distribution, access to and availability of resources. Students also examine how globalization and issues caused by increasing populations and decreasing resource availability leads to the potential for both cooperation and conflict. This unit culminates with a presentation to the President of the United States recommending if and/or how the United States should intervene in an international conflict.
Biology/Environmental Science Unit Title: Matter and Energy in an Ecosystem (Denver Public Schools, Mesa County School District, and Montrose County School District)
Unit Description: In this unit, students will focus on the relationship between the conservation of matter and energy, nutrient cycles, how matter and energy are cycled through an ecosystem, and how disruptions alter the functionality of ecosystems. The unit culminates in a performance assessment where students take the role of an Environmental Consultant asked to make a recommendation on land-use practices to a group of public stakeholders.
4th Grade Instructional Units
Integrated Unit Title: Whose Land Is It Anyway? (Stanley British Primary School, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Brighton School District, and Platte Canyon School District)
Unit Description: In this unit, students will focus on the interdependence of organisms in their environments. Students will understand the cause and effect relationships of Colorado’s environmental systems by identifying, observing and analyzing patterns among biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components of ecosystems. Across the unit’s 4-6 week duration, students will explore the diverse economic, social, civic, geographic and ecological factors that influence Colorado.
For more information contact:
Social Studies Content Specialist