Engaging youth to be future conservation leaders
Tomorrow's leader need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit.
That requires a commitment to providing children with environmental education. To grow the next generation of conservation leaders, AFF works with tens of thousands of educators every year, giving them a peer-reviewed, award-winning environmental education curriculum.
In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, AFF recognizes the importance of makign a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and natural resources.
America is in the midst of one of the most profound and rapid societal shifts in history. Today's generation of children is the first to grow up indoors. Their plugged-in lives are largely devoid of exploring the natural world and we are just beginning to understand the ramifications of their virtual world.
This movement indoors is not benign; there are costs to the health of our children: attention difficulties, hyperactivity, childhood obesity, dimini8shed use of senses, disconnect from things that are real. Additionally, if children are detached from nature, how will they learn about, understand, and value nature? How will the next generation care about the land and be stewards of its resources?
Schools are a place to teach students to be environmental stewards
More than one in six people who live in the United States - 55 million children, teachers and staff - spend their days in k-12 schools. For more than 35 years, PLT has been used to teach students to be environmental stewards.
PLT is one of the most widely-used environmental education programs in America. Today as more children are disconnected from nature, 500,000+ teachers have been trained to use PLT curriculum, opening a door to this country's outdoor natural heritage for 75 million students.
Our schools need more encouragement, resources, and time to devote attention to environmental education. They need funding and other support to train teachers to incorporate environmental education into their everyday lesson plans and to develop the confidence and skills to take their students outdoors to learn.
Students can transfer their knowledge into positive environmental action in their own schools and communities. PLT's service-learning programs and the community action components of many activities, encourage educators to take their students outside where they can learn about their environment and work to improve it.
Since 1992, PLT's community action program, GreenWorks! has helped fund nearly 1,000 community service projects across the country. Elementary, middle, high school and college students have planted trees, designed native plant gardens, restored streams and riparian habitats, constructed hiking trails, started composting projects, investigated alternative sources of energy, and many other projects.