Who We Are - Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation

Who We Are

The mission of Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation is to establish sustainability as an integral part of every child’s K-12 learning experience.

CELF has reached more than 1 million students by training more than 14,000 teachers in over 4,000 schools. This is just the beginning of our work to bring systemic change to K-12 education.

Preparing Future Citizens and Leaders

The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation was founded in 2003 on the principle that education for sustainability is essential for today’s K-12 students. Education for sustainability is a teaching methodology that develops critical thinking skills necessary to understand complex, interconnected issues. Students today face unprecedented challenges and an imperative to balance economic, social and environmental problems. They need to feel inspired and be prepared to innovate new solutions.

CELF programs use real-world problem solving to prepare students with the holistic thinking skills and motivation to become agents of change for a healthier, more stable and sustainable future.

At the college level, many traditional fields of study have evolved to teach students the skills they’ll need to become part of the sustainable future. CELF believes sustainability education must begin earlier in students’ academic life, during formative years for shaping thinking, attitudes, values and behaviors.

“In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy — our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly. This means that ecoliteracy must become a critical skill… and should be the most important part of education at all levels…”

Fritjof Capra
PHD

Our Core Values

During FY 2020, CELF’s Board of Directors and staff defined the organization’s core values, which will serve as a guidepost during our continued expansion and growth.

INNOVATION. Because we believe we can each make a difference in this world, we embrace flexibility and resiliency to drive change. We are always willing to adjust course and take risks as conditions in the world and as individual situations evolve.

INTEGRITY. Our organization is deeply committed to having both high professional and personal ethics. Our long-term partnerships and client relationships are built on the foundation of the very highest ethical standards.

COLLABORATION. Our mission demands authentic and continual collaboration with multiple stakeholders. We are open-minded and committed to modeling meaningful collaboration in everything we do. We strive to collaborate with partners who can amplify CELF’s mission in areas most impacted by ecosystem degradation and inequity in access to quality education for sustainability.

DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES. We seek to engage the voices of the individuals who share the racial and economic backgrounds of students most impacted by pervasive inequality, because they can bring an essential perspective to Education for Sustainability.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING. We believe in the power of education to inspire action and creative problem solving for current and future generations. As we work with schools, educators and students to achieve sustainable transformational change, we operate with a sense of urgency and an emphasis on non-derivative thinking, action, self-care, empathy and reflection.

RESILIENCE AND TENACITY. It takes courage to challenge norms, accept failures and analyze them honestly, stand tall and adapt. This is part of growth and we are proud to model the ability to reflect, redesign and regenerate to make lasting impact.

COMMITMENT TO ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY & SYSTEMS THINKING. Our actions are guided by the vision of an ever more sustainable future for our planet, understanding that human action can either nurture or negate the health and climate of the Planet. 

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