Call to Action on Environmental Literacy

Dear Colleagues,

As the year-end approaches, I reflect on the progress we've made getting more kids involved in camp programs. While I am cheered by the progress, I am also frustrated that as a nation, we have made very little progress in advancing environmental and outdoor education. It seems a poor legacy to leave our children. The American Camp Association (ACA) has been very active in advocating for the No Child Left Inside Act, 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, we support 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, 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.

I am appealing to you directly to ask you to participate by contacting President Obama and urging his creation of an Environmental Literacy Executive Order. Advocacy is easy, and just takes a few minutes. Who better to advocate for children and youth than the ACA community? We even have a template message for you to edit as you wish. Advocate here:

For details on the executive order, please review our Key Messages Sheet and the Case for an Executive Order on Environmental Literacy prepared by the No Child Left Inside Coalition.

Please advocate today!

May you have a Happy Holiday Season,

Peg L. Smith