Professional Reading & Policies

There is a legacy of writings that support what we all do. Collected on this page are some of these texts, research, and guidebooks. If you have something to add, please contact diana[at] 

Local Ecosystem and Climate Change Reports

The Miistakis Institute has a variety of reports and publications regarding the impact of highways, agriculture, and energy production on wildlife. 

State of the Mountains published by the Alpine Club of Canada is an annual report highlighting changes in Canada's alpine landscapes. There are currently three reports: 2011, 2018, and 2019. The 2019 State of the Mountains Report continues a commitment by the ACC to provide accessible, current, and accurate information about the forces that affect Canadian mountain places, ecosystems, and communities. 

Report: Responding to Climate Change Education: A Primer for K-12 Education by The Sustainability and Education Policy Network. The purpose of the primer is to offer research-based understandings of how Ministries of Education, School Divisions, and Schools can help inform and empower climate action.

Yale Climate Connections has two lists of reports published in 2019 by governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations underlining the urgency of meeting the challenge of climate change and offering recommendations for ways to meet that challenge. See 12 major climate change reports from 2019 and 12 reports on carbon pricing, climate security, and more.

Yale Climate Connections 13 major climate change reports released so far in 2020.



Climate Change Books

Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living by the Union of Concerned Scientists presents climate solutions with data to assess the impact of actions we can take.

Yale Climate Connections compiles climate change book lists:

12 books about climate change solutions that show how individuals, businesses, and governments can address climate change

12 children's books about climate change

12 summer escapes, featuring climate science books, self/planet help, and climate fiction

12 books on climate change, air pollution, and public health

9 climate change books for educators

Books on teaching climate change communication, eco-literacy, and eco-justice

13 books and reports about the future of food in a changing climate

12 books on climate change, the environment, and history

Books about life in the Anthropocene

New books about hope in a time of climate change

15 books about women leading the way on climate change

12 books for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with topics on clean air, clean water, and wildlife protection

12 books for summer reading lists

12 books on climate, environment, and action to read over the holidays

12 new books explore fresh approaches to act on climate change

New books, reports on environmental and climate justice

            New and recent books about women, climate change, and the environment



Communities of Practice, Networks, and Partnerships

Catalyzing Networks for Social Change, released by GEO and Monitor Institute, explores what it takes for grant makers to cultivate a network mindset, offer recommendations for how funders can effectively build the capacity of networks, and identifies five network approaches that are helping grant makers and social change makers to harness the power of networks.

Cultivating a Community of Practice - A Quick Start Up Guide is a one page summary of considerations when starting Communities of Practice.

The Constellation Model for Social Change comes from the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto. An interesting way to look at how groups come together to tackle a common issues or challenge.

The Partnership Handbook is designed to provide information, tips, and questions. The creation of this 90 page document was funded by Human Resources Development Canada.

Promoting and Assessing Value Creation in Communities and Networks: A Conceptual Framework looks at one way to evaluate the value of Communities of Practice and networks. 

Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice is an excerpt from Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder.

Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale is an article by Margaret Wheatley looking at the characteristics of networks and how they can lead to change.

The Community of Practice Design Guide provides a practical approach to creating communities of practice.



Early Childhood and Environmental Education

Connecting with Nature: An Educational Guide for Kindergarten and Grades One to Three are designed to help educators connect their students to nature, help them understand how their actions can affect it, and empower them to bring about positive change.

Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth contains more than 100 classroom activities to help children learn about and care for the Earth.

Empowering the Next Generation To Connect With Nature: A Global Movement and in particular, Stream 8: Inspiring a New Generation, is focused on a legacy whereby future generations will develop and nurture life-long relationships with nature.

Forest and Nature School in Canada: A Head, Heart, Hands Approach to Outdoor Learning is a resource focused on new approaches to nature-based learning.

Guide to Education for Sustainability offers introductory tools, background, and examples to help educators of all grade levels and subject areas strengthen classroom curricula and community projects.

Helping Children Love the Earth Before We Ask them to Save It is a short article that summarizes research into nature connection and its benefits. 

International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education focuses on addressing issues, policies, practices, and research that matters for early childhood environmental education.

Learning to Love the Natural World Enough to Protect It is an article from Louise Chawla that makes the connection between early childhood experiences outdoors with a caring adult and environmental action later in life.

Nature Play and Learning Places offers a set of guidelines for those that create, manage or promote development of nature spaces in the everyday environment of children, youth and families, especially in urban/suburban communities. 

Natural Start newsletter, published each month by the Natural Start Alliance.

Outdoor Learning is a module developed to explore the importance of outdoor environments for children's learning, and show how educators can plan and use outdoor spaces with children. 




The Affiliate Network from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is a network of state and provincial associations that support environmental education. Visit the website to find your affiliate. 

Community-Based Social Marketing primer by Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr.

Connecting the Dots focuses on learning strategies and the ways of organizing learning experiences; the “how to” of learning. These learning strategies involve students as engaged learners, learning within the context of their communities and addressing relevant, local issues.

Pathway to Stewardship is a framework providing a guide and roadmap towards stewardship. It covers every stage of a child's development using a series of benchmarks or goals. It is grounded in extensive research and interviews with 75 community leaders. Pathway to Stewardship is a call to action for everyone who plans for or spends time with children - parents, teachers, relatives, community groups, health professionals and government agencies. 

Seasonal Storyline for Field-Based Science Education is a framework for place-based learning in design with children, families, communities, and educators. The resource also contains lesson plans and student tools. 


High Value Presentations

Dr. Rick Kool is a former Program Head for the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University in Victoria. See these two power point presentations by Dr. Kool: Powerlessness, Terror and Hope, and Persuasion and Influence



Measuring Success of Environmental Education Programs

Measuring What Matters, created by ACEE in 2016, is our recommendations on how to better connect with teachers. Recommendations are aimed at all organizations that offer programs, grants or awards, and are based on our focus groups and surveys of Alberta teachers that identified barriers, challenges and ideas on how to better engage teachers in accessing environmental and energy education resources - and measure the impacts. 

Measuring the Success of Environmental Education Programs is an easy to follow guide to evaluating your environmental education programs. 



NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education

The Guidelines for Excellence series set is available for free download. Guidelines for Excellence include: Community Engagement, Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs, Nonformal Environmental Education Programs, Environmental Education Materials, K-12 Environmental Education, and Professional Development of Environmental Educators. 

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook is a tool to help legislators and community leaders advance youth-centered state policies for outdoor education and engagement. It highlights existing and promising policy solutions, provides a platform for sharing and advancing new ideas, and connects cross-sector leaders working on statewide policy initiatives.



Pre-Service Teacher Resources

DEEPER: Deepening Environmental Education in Pre-Service Teaching is a resource guide for formulating a new vision for pre-service environmental education.



Research in Environmental and Outdoor Education

An Analysis of the Educational and Health-Related Benefits of Nature-Based Environmental Education in Low-Income Black and Hispanic Children - recent research suggests that nature contact may reduce these health and educational disparities for urban low income populations. The study found that low-income, urban, black and Hispanic children significantly improved their HRQoL and STEM capacity after participating in a Nature-Based intervention in St. Louis, Missouri.

Back to School: Back Outside from the National Wildlife Federation documents how outdoor time boosts academic performance.

Benefits of Environmental Education (National Environmental Education Week) - lists several benefits on the importance of environmental education with numerous research studies to support each one

Bibliography of Environmental Education – Education for Sustainability Research (2000-2011) is a comprehensive bibliography developed by Michael Mappin.

Canada, Climate Change and Education: Opportunities for Public & Formal Education by Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) and Lakehead University. This nationwide study of 3,196 Canadians provides the first comprehensive snapshot of climate change educational practice in Canada.

Climate Science Belongs in the Classroom factsheet by the Climate Reality Project is a free resource containing facts and information for teaching about climate change. 

Closing the Achievement Gap prepared by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (Lieberman, Gerald A. & Hoody, Linda L, 1998) presents the results of a nationwide study using the Environment as an Integrating Context for learning (EIC). The report notes, “Using the environment as an integrating context is interdisciplinary, collaborative, student-centered, hands-on and engages students in learning”. Their research shows that student learning shows improvement in reading, writing, math, science and social studies; exhibit increased pride in their accomplishments; greater engagement and enthusiasm for learning; better ability to apply science to real-world situations; better application of systems thinking; increased ability to think creatively; and more advanced skills in applying civic processes to real-life situations.

Education and the Environment by Gerald Lieberman is an innovative guide to creating and implementing a new type of environmental education that combines standards-based lessons on English language arts, math, history and science with community investigations and service learning.

EEresearch, compiled by the NAAEE Research SIG (Special Interest Group) and Cornell University, highlights journal articles that contain results useful for educators. 

Environment-based Education: Improving Attitudes and Academics for Adolescents - data collection on the South Carolina Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) for student learning program, shows that the significant improvements were made on student learning, including on increased academic achievement, classroom behavior, and instructional practices with the implementation of more environment-based education.

Environmental Education Report by Wheeler and Thumlert, et al (2007) examined 76 studies from US state, national, and international sources and ranked them according to methodology and outcomes. Their findings indicate that environmental education allows for the ready integration of many techniques that are thought to define good education; the multi-faceted nature of environmental education is a key component of its effectiveness; and increases in math and science achievement, some increases in social studies and mixed evidence that it increases language arts achievement.

Environmental Learning: Insights from Research into the Student Experience outlines how school and university students experience and respond to learning activities related to environmental issues.

Environmental Outdoor Education and Exposure to Nature: The Positive Effects on Student Wellness and Academic Achievement is an annotated bibliography by Bill Bagshaw. It provides an extensive list of research on the effects of outdoor education on mental well-being, abilities and physical wellness.

Evidence of Impact of Sustainable Schools, published the University of Bath’s Centre for Research in Education and the Environment for the United Kingdom’s Depart of Education outlines the educational and social benefits to young people of learning in sustainable schools.

Green school grounds promote the holistic development and health of children - research indicates that green schoolyards generally have more holistic health benefits for children than more traditional schoolyards. They offer the opportunity for educators to promote better nutrition through gardening and foster student social inclusion. They also help students relieve stress, improve their attentional functioning, heighten their sense of productivity, and improve self-esteem. Environmental awareness and stewardship are also promoted on green school grounds. 

How Should Climate Change be Taught in Schools? is a concise article by the EdCan Network about key tips for educators looking to better integrate climate change education into their classroom teaching.

Nudges Toward a Healthy Natural Environment synthesizes research in psychology and behavioural economics. This report identifies five areas: attitudes, agency, emotions, social norms, and environmental or decision context that can be influenced to improve the outcomes of conservation programs.

Pacific Education Institute is a project-based inquiry program in Washington State that has undertaken various research initiatives using the environment to integrate subject areas.

Promise of Place -  there is a growing body of research that supports place-based education and related fields. Educators, administrators, and program managers will find this research useful for writing grants, promoting and developing programs, and developing quality, effective curricula.

Project Learning Tree - a growing base of research is documenting the impacts of environmental education. Refer to the references here that provide more evidence about the benefits of environmental education.

Stanford's analysis suggests EE provides a wide array of benefits for K-12 students—and environmental knowledge is just the tip of the iceberg - experts at Stanford University systematically searched the academic literature and identified 119 peer-reviewed studies published over a 20-year period that measured the impacts of environmental education for K-12 students. The review found clear evidence that environmental education programs provide a variety of benefits.

The effects of environment‐based education on students' critical thinking skills and disposition toward critical thinking - this study examined the relationship between environment-based education and high school students' critical thinking skills. The results of this study support the use of environment-based education for improving critical thinking and can be used to guide future implementation.


School Board, Provincial, Canadian, and International Policies

School Board Sustainability Plans: 


Provincial Documents:


Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans

British Columbia:

Environmental Learning and Experience – An Interdisciplinary Guide for Teachers 


Education for a Sustainable Future: A Resource for Curriculum Developers, Teachers, and Administrators  
Cross-curriculum maps


Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow: A Policy Framework for Environmental Education in Ontario Schools

Greening the Way Ontario Learns, by Environmental Education Ontario (EEON)

Ontario Government documents to support environmental education in Ontario schools

Canadian Policies:

Environmental Education in Canada: An Overview for Grantmakers, by the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (CEGN) outlines some key policy approaches and strategies.

International Institute for Sustainable Development has an analysis of environmental and sustainable development policy development in school districts in Manitoba and Canada. 

Survey of National Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development Laws and Policies: Lessons for Canada by the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP).

International Policies: 

Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto developed by the United Kingdom’s Department of Education sets out a vision to enable every young person to experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of their learning and personal development.

Seattle Public Schools School Board Action Report - This Board Action Report presents a resolution committing Seattle Public Schools to transitioning the district to 100% clean, renewable energy with the goal of improving student health and the creation of more sustainable and equitable communities.


Wellness Education

Connecting Canadians with Nature: An Investment in the Well-Being of Our Citizens from the Canadian Parks Council is a report that provides an overview of the benefits of connecting with nature.

Forest, Trees, and Human Health draws together work carried out over four years by scientists from 25 countries working in the fields of forestry, health, environment and social sciences. While the focus is primarily on health priorities defined within Europe, this volume explicitly draws also on research from North America.

Grounds for Action by Bell, Anne C and Dyment, Janet (2006) found that children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative. 

Intergenerational Place-based Education by Mannion and Lynch (2010) found that environmental or place-based education that incorporates children and adults learning together improves intergenerational relations and individual, community, and ecological well being. Their research encourages schools to include intergenerational learning, contextualize curricula in the environment and embrace outdoor learning.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ to describe the negative effects of children not spending time in nature. He brings forward the growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

The David Suzuki Foundation's - Connecting Youth with Nature initiative has a Superhero Challenge program and a number of Nature as a Classroom guides for grades K to 8 in English and French.

10 Ways to Come Alive in Nature - This article from the Child and Nature Network in the United States details easy ways to connect with nature.

A Healthy Dose of Education - An article from the Huffington Post discussing the 'no child left inside' initiative in the United States.




Action Education

A Rationale for Action Education by ACEE.

Backgrounder on Youth Engagement by the the Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF) and What we Heard from the province-wide consultations conducted by ACEE, on contract to AEF.

Community Climate Change Education: A Mosaic of Approaches features information and resources on over a dozen approaches to community climate change education, from public art, resilience gardening, and climate justice, to social innovation, marine science, and youth programming. 

Green Street Guide to Authentic Youth Engagement outlines some of the best ways to encourage authentic youth participation within organizations and includes practical advice and real-life examples.

Educating for Action - Green Teacher Article is a framework for thinking about the place of action in environmental education (William F. Hammond, from issue #50)

Building Outdoor Classrooms: A Guide for Successful Fundraising was created by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to help teachers create outdoor classrooms. 

A Primer on Community-Based Social Marketing (thanks to Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Ph.D.). There is much more information on the Fostering Sustainable Behavior website.