WAEE and its members work to advocate for EE in Wisconsin in various ways. As timely and important issues arise, we invite members to engage in civic action in order to affect change in the political realm. We believe we can expand our impact in the EE field by advocating for policies, legislation, and government resources that affect our members and the greater EE community.
Our advocacy actions support Goal 3 in Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities. (Goal 3: Build the capacity of individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments to advance environmental literacy and sustainable communities.)
Initiatives are determined by the Advocacy Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.
2019-21 – Biennial Budget Updates
The WAEE Board of Directors would like to bring to your attention that the current proposed biennial budget for Wisconsin includes appropriations to support an environmental education grants program via the University of Wisconsin System budget. Details on this proposal can be found here under Item #13:
Find upcoming public hearing dates and how to testify HERE.
2018 – DRAFT State EE Standards – 2018
The Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability, developed by a statewide writing team and informed by key stakeholders across Wisconsin, are now available for public review. You are invited to review and comment on this draft during the month of February, 2018.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will also be holding two public hearings on this topic:
February 12th at 4:30pm in the Cooperative Education Service Agency 6 Conference Center, 2300 State Road 44, Oshkosh
February 13th at 4:30pm at the Department of Public Instruction, 125 South Webster Street, Room P41, Madison
2017-18 – Proposed DPI Administrative Rule Changes
In December, 2017 the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) proposed changes that, if passed, will impact the environmental education preparation teachers receive.
Public comment period is January, 2018 with a web-based submission available.
More Info: State statute 118.19(6) requires that:
In granting certificates or licenses for the teaching of courses in economics, social studies or agriculture, adequate instruction in cooperative marketing and consumers’ cooperatives shall be required. [keep reading]
2017 – DNR Cuts to Education
WAEE takes a stance on the Department of Natural Resources’ cuts to educational staffing and materials. Read the Wisconsin State Journal article dated Sunday, July 2, 2017.
Excerpt: “The political pressure and budget cuts that dismantled the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources science research bureau are also taking a toll on the agency’s ability to engage the public in conservation.
Under Gov. Scott Walker, the DNR has reduced environmental education efforts despite state law and department regulations mandating an active effort to ensure that citizens understand natural resources topics…” [continue reading]
2017-19 – Biennium Budget
* Forestry Mill Tax – Copy & Paste This Letter to Legislators
See also WAEE’s Mill Tax Statement 2017 to the Joint Finance Committee.
* Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) reinstatement – Copy & Paste This Letter to Legislators
WAEE is encouraging members and stakeholders to reach out to legislators while the state budget is being reviewed. There are several ways constituents can influence this part of the budgetary process. 1) write or call your legislators 2) speak at a budget listening session. Find full details, instructions, and specific asks here.
2017 – State Superintendent Election
WAEE posed four questions to both State Superintendent candidates regarding their views on Environmental Education. The Election will be held on April 4th, 2017. Full responses can be read here.
2015-17 – Biennial Budget
Governor Walker’s proposed 2105-17 Budget took many swipes at eliminating state support for environmental education. Thanks to a coalition of strategists from WAEE, the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB), the Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation (WEEF) and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education (WCEE), the WAEE membership was able to mobilize, reach out to legislators, and win back many budgetary cuts, including the DPI EE Consultant position, the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education (WCEE) mandate, and a one-year extension of the WEEB’s existence to June 2017. Find the full Summary of State Budget Results for EE here.
2016- Children’s Outdoor Heritage Resolution
As best told in this video by these Wisconsin 5th graders, every child has the inalienable right to hike a trail, sleep under the stars, hunt and fish with a mentor…
For years WAEE, in partnership with the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, worked to pass the Wisconsin Outdoor Heritage Resolution (formerly known as the Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights). Joint Assembly Resolution 27, with the help of Assemblywoman Chris Taylor and 31 other supporters in the House and Senate, was passed in February 2016.
More info at: WiscoKidsOudoors.org
2010 – Leave No Child Inside
In 2009 a Federal bill, The Leave No Child Inside Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The main goal of the proposed legislation was to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind Act) of 2010 under the Bush Administration to include funding and support for EE. Wisconsin was an early endorser of the legislation and WAEE joined the No Child Left Inside Coalition. The Wisconsin Coalition’s major work was creating the PK-12 State plan which provides a road map to statewide collaborations and strategies for successful education for environmental literacy.
2010 – EE Consultant at DPI
For many years the EE Consultant position at the Department of Public Instruction was cut from the State budget. Thanks to the letter writing and other advocacy work of WAEE members, the position was reinstated in June 2010. This position is designed to increase the capacity for effective environmental education in PK-12 schools in the state by working directly with teachers and school districts as well as state agencies and non-governmental organizations who are also interested using the environment as a context for learning.
2009 – State School Superintendent Election
During the 2009 election period, WAEE interviewed both State Superintendent candidates on their stance on EE and shared their responses with the WAEE membership and other EE constituents. Full responses can be found here. Tony Evers was elected into office in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013. The next State Superintendent election will be in 2017.
Communicating with Elected State Officials
WAEE works to advocate for specific and timely EE issues on behalf of its membership and the greater EE community in Wisconsin. We invite you to contact your legislators at any time to speak with them about issues that are important to you. Here is some useful information on making your EE voice heard in Wisconsin:
Tips on writing to your Legislator from National Education Association
EE Advocacy at the National Level
WAEE supports and is an active member in the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) Advocacy Action Network. This group works to affect National legislation regarding EE. More information on their work can be found on the NAAEE website.