eeADVOCACY: Q4 Appropriations Update

As I reflect on the past year, much of it feels like a blur. But with a little concentration and focus, it’s clear that 2021 delivered new opportunities and potential for environmental education policy. From a growing interest in outdoor learning as a way to provide safer, healthier environments for students and teachers to a new urgency around the climate crisis, the need for environmental education has never been more apparent. 

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As the year ends, there is still a great deal we don’t know about how some of our federal advocacy efforts have paid off this year. But we have lots of reasons to be hopeful for 2022! Here are a few highlights:

  • While the continuing resolution passed by Congress earlier this month funds the federal government at fiscal year 2021 levels until February 18, we are still optimistic that Congress will pass an FY22 budget with potential increases in funding for environmental education programs at EPA and NOAA. 
  • Negotiations continue on what should be included in the Senate version of the Build Back Better package, and it’s anyone’s bet if the bill will reach the Senate floor before the end of the year. We are hopeful that a robust civilian climate corps and money for climate change education will be included in the final package. Both would open up big new opportunities for environmental literacy and workforce development next year. 
  • Something huge for environmental education is on the horizon! We expect a bipartisan No Child Left Inside Act to be introduced in the coming weeks and can’t wait to get organized in building support for the bill nationwide and on Capitol Hill. The bill would provide federal education funding for the implementation of statewide environmental literacy plans, incentivize partnerships between schools and nonformal program providers, and establish a new national pilot program for outdoor school models. 

At NAAEE, we are so grateful to work with eeAdvocates across the country to increase access to high-quality environmental education. Thanks for all you do! Wishing all of you a peaceful and joyful holiday season. We look forward to the work ahead together in the new year.