Report on the NOAA Office of Education Environmental Literacy Program Community Resilience Education Theory of Change
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Report on the NOAA Office of Education Environmental Literacy Program Community Resilience Education Theory of Change

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  • NOAA Program & Office:
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    NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program (ELP) supports projects that both inspire and educate people to use Earth system science to increase ecosystem stewardship and resilience to extreme weather, climate change, and other environmental hazards (NOAA Education Strategic Plan, 2015-2035). In 2015, ELP grants shifted from focusing on climate change education to community resilience education. This shift occurred in response to a need identified by ELP grantees to use approaches that are more solutions-oriented for educating, engaging, and empowering children, youth, and adults to tackle climate impacts and other environmental challenges. Resilience offered a framework that is locally focused, solutions oriented, and actionable. Since this shift occurred, the program has funded 22 community resilience education projects across the United States, testing approaches that target different audiences. Community resilience education was not only a new area of investment for NOAA’s Office of Education, but also an emerging field in education that required different ways of planning and implementing programs than previous approaches used in climate change and science education. Many lessons were being learned by ELP grantees and their peers who were working toward building community resilience through informal and formal education. At the same time, ELP staff were being asked to articulate how one would demonstrate that ELP-funded projects were contributing to achieving the stated goal of the funding program: to build the environmental literacy of children, youth and/or adults so they are knowledgeable of the ways in which their community can become more resilient to extreme weather events and/or other environmental hazards and become involved in achieving that resilience. The need to create a theory of change for the ELP’s community resilience education grants became clear.
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