ESA Press Release:


ESA Ecology and Education Summit to address environmental literacy

Nationally recognized conference will explore progress in science and environmental education

The Ecology and Education Summit “Environmental Literacy for a Sustainable World” will be held October 14-15, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Co-organized by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and National Education Association (NEA), the event is sponsored by federal agencies, foundations, societies and associations and being held in collaboration with more than 20 national organizations and over 30 individuals. The summit brings together educators, scientists and policy professionals from a wide variety of sectors—including academia, business, agriculture, government, the health industry and the media—to focus on environmental education and opportunities for progress.

“Environmental literacy is essential for creating a sustainable society,” said Meg Lowman, ESA Vice President for Education and Diversity, and Summit co-chair. “As we move into a technologically advanced future, our understanding of Earth’s systems and how humans play into those systems is increasingly vital—the more we know about Earth processes, the better prepared we will be for environmental changes and future resource management.”

Environmental literacy is concerned with the ability to understand ecological, biological and physical systems, as they connect with human systems, and with environmental decision making. The Ecology and Education Summit is moving toward a Decadal Action Plan for environmental literacy outlining immediate next steps and long term goals.

“The Summit will engage educators and experts from a wide range of fields to generate ideas and collaboration and to lay out a specific plan for developing a green workforce and society,” said Carolyn Breedlove, Manager of NEA’s Green Across America, and Summit co-chair. “We have designed interactive strategies to foster discussion and promote creative action.”

The Summit will also feature two keynote speakers, five panel discussions, two breakout sessions and an evening reception on October 14 featuring a poster session, interactive displays and exhibits. In his Keynote Address “Eyewitness to Global Warming,” Will Steger—the National Geographic Society’s first Explorer-in-Residence—will recount his personal experiences observing the effects of global climate change. Will Allen—former professional basketball player, urban farmer and “hero” in the 2010 edition of Time Magazine’s 100 World’s Most Influential People—will talk about the current state of the urban agricultural movement in his Keynote Address “Growing Food and Community in the City.”

Other topics in the Summit include:

  • Learning about Complexity and Change: New Foundations for Environmental Literacy
  • Turning the Tide: Building a Green Society through Learning and Doing
  • Seeing our World Inside and Out: Harnessing New Technologies for Environmental Literacy
  • Fostering Lifelong Learning Skills: Empowering Best Practices in Effective Teaching and
  • Learning
  • Expanding Funding, Strengthening Public Policy
  • Environmental Literacy for All

The Ecology and Education Summit agenda is available at The Summit is sponsored by the Ecological Society of America, National Education Association, National Science Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Education Foundation, Tree Foundation, National Geographic and Green Mountain Digital.

Contact: Katie Kline
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America