Why environmental education is crucial

Saturday, March 12, 2011; 6:33 PM

The March 5 Metro article "An endangered environment" should have been on the front page.

Environmental education has a long and well-established history in Maryland. For nearly half a century, the state's advances in regard to environmental issues can be traced directly to educational programs such as those in Prince George's, Montgomery, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties. Educators have long recognized that for real change to occur, students need to be involved in meaningful, authentic lessons. Each year we are presented with the dismal report card on the state of the Chesapeake Bay and the slow, painful efforts to clean it up. I believe that without outdoor environmental education programs, there would have been little progress at all.

We all know that education is expensive and that times are tough, but think how much worse the environment will be without an environmentally literate population. To learn to care about the environment, to make sound decisions, to ask meaningful questions and to take positive action, students must be provided with content knowledge, skills and direct experiences. These threatened outdoor education programs provide all of these.

Bill Kraegel, Poolesville

© 2011 The Washington Post Company