The Weather Channel and Landmark Communications Foundation will donate $2.5 million to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to create an interactive, Web based environmental education program that will ultimately reach 20 million U.S. high school students.
The program draws on expertise and content from the Forecast Earth properties created by The Weather Channel and the innovative educational programming of The National Environmental Education Foundation. High school students and teachers nationwide will be invited to design this program from the ground up to make teaching and learning about the environment easy, accurate, timely, accessible and effective for any subject taught in high schools.
It’s one of the largest donations made to date from the foundation, furthering the company’s Forecast Earth efforts and signifying the ongoing importance of climate and environmental education to the company. It’s also the first time a major media company will be actively involved in contributing to environmental education programs that reach such a large number of high school students, the channel said.
“This generous gift is a fabulous contribution to environmental education,” Diane Wood, president of The National Environmental Education Foundation, said in a release. “The Weather Channel’s focus on high school students and teachers allows us to join forces with our environmental education partners to support motivated and caring teachers and teens to channel their interests and concerns where and when they can make the greatest environmental difference.”
NEEF’s Environmental Literacy in America report, based on ten years of NEEF/Roper surveys and related studies, notes that just 12% of Americans have a basic understanding of energy topics and less than half of the population understands that the cars and appliances used in everyday life contribute to climate change.
“This means a lot of teens head off to school leaving their cell phone chargers on and computers plugged in, not realizing they are making a serious problem worse. The NEEF/Weather Channel environmental education program will be developed by students and teachers to share this kind of knowledge in a way that makes environmental issues important and personal to the next generation,” Wood said.
The program is meant to prepare students for the future and provide them and their teachers with base-line environmental knowledge needed to make informed decisions and take action to protect the environment at home and in their communities. Specifically, the program will encourage high school students to develop critical thinking skills to make informed decisions to protect the environment throughout their lifetime, engage in solving environmental issues in their communities and pursue environmentally-related careers.