ACA Partners to Pursue an Executive Order on Environmental Literacy

Contributed by Susan E. Yoder and Kyle Heatherly

While the American Camp Association (ACA) continues to advocate for programs that get more children involved in camp programs, we are frustrated that as a nation, we have made very little progress in advancing environmental and outdoor education. We have been very active in advocating for the No Child Left Inside Act (www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/NCLI), however, with the stalemate in Congress, we’ve had to seek out other avenues to advance the environmental literacy of all Americans — most especially our young people.

As members of the No Child Left Inside Coalition (www.cbf.org/page.aspx?pid=687), we support a dual approach to the issue, and thus are pursing forging an Executive Branch approach by appealing directly to President Obama. In April 2010, when President Obama expressed his support for reconnecting Americans — especially children — with the outdoors through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/AGO), we saw hope that the goals laid out in the Environmental Education Act of 1970 might finally gain some priority. However, with the No Child Left Inside Act stalled in Congress, we are urging the President to further his commitment to children and the outdoors by issuing an Environmental Literacy Executive Order.

This executive order would reconnect Americans with the great outdoors, provide opportunities for healthier lifestyles, prepare our youth to compete in the 21st century global economy, increase our nation’s environmental literacy, ensure stewardship of our environment, and help ensure the most efficient use of existing environmental, conservation, and outdoor programs.
If you would like updated information about this initiative as it occurs, or would like to participate directly in advocating to the President, visit: www.ACAcamps.org/sites/default/files/images/publicpolicy/documents/ELEO-Key-Messages.pdf. For additional information about all of ACA’s public policy initiatives, please visit: www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy.  

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