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Environmental Literacy Guidelines

What IS environmental literacy?

Environmental literacy is an individual’s understanding of how their actions and decisions affect the environment.  Armed with this information, people can act on that understanding in a responsible and effective manner.

Environmental literacy is the primary and overarching goal of environmental education.  It is an experiential life-long learning process that increases awareness about the environment and results in a citizenry empowered to meet their future responsibilities regarding the environment.

An environmentally literate citizen has the knowledge, tools, and sensitivity to weigh various sides of environmental issues to make responsible decisions as individuals and as members of their community. 

Indiana's Environmental Literacy Guidelines

In 2008, after a symposium of organizations from across the state, EEAI learned that there was a strong desire for Indiana to have an Environment Literacy Plan.  The first step toward developing an Environmental Literacy Plan was to establish Indiana's Environmental Literacy Guidelines.  With guidance from the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Indiana Department of Education, business leaders and nonprofit organizations, EEAI developed the state's Environmental Literacy Guidelines.  The document provides guidance for educators on four key competency areas as they relate to Environmental Education: Analysis, Knowledge, Skills, and Action and includes specific benchmarks for assessing environmental literacy in 4th, 8th, and 12th grades.

View Indiana's ELGs here: Indiana Environmental Literacy Guidelines.pdf

The ELGs align with Indiana Academic Standards.  You can access more information about that alignment here: ELG Indiana Standard Alignment.xlsx 

Why adopt the Environmental Literacy Guidelines in your classroom, school, program or district?

  • Indiana’s Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) outlines the steps needed to ensure our citizens are environmentally literate.
  • The state's Environmental Literacy Plan is built around the Environmental Literacy Guidelines, a thoughtfully developed list of content and skill standards that Indiana children should learn by grades 4, 8 and 12. 
  • The Environmental Literacy Plan extends beyond school age citizens, starting at preschool and extending to post retirement.
  • Having an ELP in place may give Indiana access to federal funds through our Department of Education.
  • All citizens of Indiana deserve the opportunity to learn about, use and experience the diverse environments and natural resources found in all corners of our state.
  • Environmentally literate citizens are better equipped to deal with environmental issues and to create beneficial solutions.
  • Environmentally literate citizens will be better managers of the state’s natural resources, upon which much of the state’s economy depends.
  • Environmentally literate citizens are better equipped to bring economic opportunities to the state through rapidly growing “green” industries (green energy, pollution prevention, waste management, sustainable agriculture, urban planning, health care, natural resource management, tourism, recreation, etc.).
  • Environmentally literate citizens have a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world, making the emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits of nature more accessible.

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