Environmental Literacy


The purpose of Maryland's Environmental Education program is to enable students to make decisions and take actions that create and maintain an optimal relationship between themselves and the environment, and to preserve and protect the unique natural resources of Maryland, particularly those of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

What is Environmental Education?

Environmental Education promotes environmental literacy and the development of the skills needed for life-long learning. Environmental Education refers to education efforts that increase public awareness, concern, and knowledge about environmental issues and provides the critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills needed to make informed and responsible decisions about the environment in all its complexity. Environmental Education promotes interdisciplinary integration of subject matter, problem-and issues-based learning experiences, and both cooperative and independent learning opportunities. More details here.

The Standards: Overview

Standard 1 Environmental Issues: The student will investigate and analyze environmental issues ranging from local to global perspectives and develop and implement a local action project that protects, sustains, or enhances the natural environment.

Standard 2 Interactions of Earth's Systems: The student will analyze and apply the properties of systems thinking and modeling to the study of Earth’s systems.

Standard 3 Flow of Matter and Energy: The student will analyze and explain the movement of matter and energy through interactions of earth’s systems (biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and cryosphere) and the influence of this movement on weather patterns, climatic zones, and the distribution of life.

Standard 4 Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems: The student will use physical, chemical, biological, and ecological concepts to analyze and explain the interdependence of humans and organisms in populations, communities and ecosystems.

Standard 5 Humans and Natural Resources: The student will use concepts from chemistry, physics, biology, and ecology to analyze and interpret both positive and negative impacts of human activities on earth’s natural systems and resources.

Standard 6 Environment and Health: The student will use concepts from science, social studies and health to analyze and interpret both positive and negative impacts of natural events and human activities on human health.

Standard 7 Environment & Society: The student will analyze how the interactions of heredity, experience, learning and culture influence social decisions and social change.

Standard 8 Sustainability: The student will make decisions that demonstrate understanding of natural communities and the ecological, economic, political, and social systems of human communities, and examine how their personal and collective actions affect the sustainability of these interrelated systems.


Kim Day
Curriculum Specialist for Elementary Social Studies

(301) 644-5264

Administrative Secretary

(301) 644-5264


MSDE Enviornmental Literacy

Maryland Enviornmental Literacy standards

When Environmental Literacy Standards are Taught

Embedded in Social Studies and Science; grades P – 5

Embedded in Social Studies and Science; grades 6 – 7

Biology, Government, Modern World History, American Studies 2 (all courses are graduation requirements)