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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Environment, Environmental Education, Literacy, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: The organization's mission is to bring about enduring institutional change to education by promoting sustainablitiy as a core k-12 learning framework. Through early education we can equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will lead to a sustainable future for everyone.

Results: CELF has reached more than 1 million students by training more than 13,000 teachers in over 4,000 schools. This is just the beginning of our work to bring systemic change to K-12 education that is based on engaging students in authentic, place-based learning using the environment as a context for learning.

Target demographics: Prepare students to understand the dynamic interconnected systems of the natural and human built world and become actively engaged citizens who contribute to a sustainable future for all.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350 teachers in 25 school communities and 100,000 K-12 students

Geographic areas served: New York, Connecticut, California and Texas

Programs: The CELF Summer Institute: a professional development curriculum intensive designed to advance educational goals together with locally identified social, economic and environmental objectives. The Institute builds practical curriculum integration of stewardship perspectives, skills and action and the restoration, rebuilding, and reconnecting of human communities and community stewardship and civic life. CELF Professional Learning Programs: the concepts of sustainability are universal, but every district and school starts from a different place in implementing sustainability education. CELF customized professional development helps schools infuse curriculum and school culture with education for a sustainable future. PD services include: gap analyses; on-site education for sustainability training and resources (specific to grade level and school or district needs and interests); and review of facilities "green" improvements to help infuse projects into curriculum. We provide a framework for integrating sustainability concepts into existing curricula, and review curriculum exemplars and case studies on implementation of sustainability education at other schools, often leading to the National Green Ribbon Award. CELF Citizen Science: Connecting Classroom to Community: this program engages educators and students in project-based STEAM learning outside the classroom. As environmental health researchers, middle and high school students collect and analyze air quality data in their communities using AirBeam technology. Using this data, students identify sources of air pollution, understand connections to human behaviors, develop prevention and remediation plans for their communities and share their findings with peers and policy makers. The year-long program combines the development of 21st century skills with the motivation and creativity generated by solving a problem in one's own community.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Ruth P.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was extremely lucky to participate in TWO summer institutes AND a school PD from CELF. I am so impressed with the professionalism, their goals and easy lessons to bring back to the classroom. I can not recommend them enough to any district, school, or individual that wants to make a difference in our world. The sustainability focus is relatable and I can't even think of how I used to think before my training. I was excited that I could help bring them to our school and I am a cheerleader for their summer institute. It was a life changing experience! One that I would want everyone to have!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

CELF has been a great asset to our school and community. I was lucky enough to attend a summer institute and participate in a PD at our school. It has helped our students become more aware and accountable in creating a more sustainable future.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CELF continues to provide resources and professional development that are geared toward integrating curriculum around the idea of sustainability. Having been a part of CELF’s summer institute as well as PD at my school, their ideas are simple to implement and have made a long lasting impact on our science instruction and curriculum!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

CELF is hands down the best professional development organization focused on sustainability. I have been working with and supporting CELF for many years because they make a needed difference for schools and student outcomes. Their teacher trainings are deep and thorough. They help schools with systems thinking needed to create whole school change, and teachers with the connections they need in the large themes of sustainability to make teaching relevant. I am a current Board member because no organization meets schools and teachers where there are as well as CELF. At this moment in time it is particularly critical because we students need be prepared to meet the global and climate challenges they currently and will face.

1 Maureen C.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This past summer I had the pleasure of attending my first CELF Seminar at Manhattanville College and was introduced to a new way of thinking and empowered to take it back to the classroom with the . assurance that support would be readily available to us even after the conference. I am a seasoned professional and appreciate well run professional development. CELF ranks at the top of my experience. I met many new peers and colleagues and came away with a wealth of new ideas for sustainability and the care of our world. My young students benefit from the wealth of materials I returned to school with and look forward to putting into practice the many ideas we planned together.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been consistently in touch with CELF from 2012 . I live in Sharjah , UAE . I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the summer institute in 2012 and 2019 . The learning that I have acquired enabled me as an administrator and an instructional leader to improve sustainable best practices in the school that I work with . From lesson plans to projects, campaigns ,morning assemblies and parent engagement activities , I was able to bring in a lot of innovation and creativity by integrating areas such as place -based education , system thinking , geo-enquiry and UN Sustainable Goals that I learnt . The CELF staff work with perseverance and determination to frame the summer classes every year. Each day is made memorable with unique and informative sustainable activities . I wish to keep in touch with them always for improving my learning each year .Best wishes to CELF in their future ventures .

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am writing this review because over the summer I was fortunate to spend several days learning and growing as a teacher with the CELF's program. CELF brought in wonderful guests speakers, from book authors to motivational speakers to school administrators. All of their guests had such a positive impact on me that it moved me to improve my teaching strategies. I learned so much from CELF I could not wait for the school year to start so I could apply some new strategies.
During the summer program I met great people that love teaching. I highly recommend taking a CELF course and I look forward to their school visit this year.

Stacey



1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an elementary educator, CELF has helped me raise the level of my teaching in order to better meet the needs of my students. They supported me as I went through the grant-writing process and then went above and beyond to help fulfill the goals of our grant. CELF worked with me to reinvigorate our elementary school's nature walk program by creating a curriculum aligned to the new science standards that connected to hands-on, place-based learning. Their summer institute and the connections I developed while there were incredible, too.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been fortunate to be a CELF board member for a number of years and feel honored to be supporting this talented, passionate education team. It has been incredibly powerful to watch students become inspired to make sustainable changes in their communities and the world thanks to teachers who brought the CELF training and curriculum back to their students. CELF is helping all students become sustainability leaders.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Asst. Supt of Warwick Valley Central School District. We have done a lot of work with CELF for the last 5 years. However, the most impactful was when they were able to help us with attaining the Federal Green Ribbon Award. All four schools have won this prestigious award and we have been the only school district to win the last two years in the state of New York. CELF was an integral part of the third pillar of the Green Ribbon award, which centers around education. They were able to work with our teachers and create performance task units at every grade level and/or subject area. They also helped me as a leader to grow the sustainability effort throughout the District.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended my first CELF conference last summer. Without a doubt, CELF cares deeply about children and the environment. Their work with teachers and schools is something to be emulated. Their staff is knowledgeable and organized. When it comes to sustainability and environmental education, no task is too great.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our partnership with CELF has helped to create discussions surrounding sustainability in our district. Working with our K-12 science vertical team, the CELF staff developers have taught key concepts around sustainability and had the team look at our surroundings in a new way. A small team of teachers also attended the CELF summer institute and left that week inspired to bring new learnings back into our district. We are looking forward to working with CELF for a second year.
Gail Duffy
Director of Curriculum- Public Schools of the Tarrytowns

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have worked with and for CELF over the past 5 years in various manners. Collectively, we have helped train high school age students to organize and take action against injustices around the world, raise funding to send water treatment materials to schools in countries without access and train teachers on how to help support education for sustainability in their classrooms and surrounding environments. Anyone involved with leading children toward a more conscientious and sustainable future should strongly consider working with CELF to improve your effectiveness and scope of knowledge. Aside from their expertise in these fields and quality work, all the individuals involved are simply a joy to work with. Most recently they have helped provide a focus for our school district and have helped lead to some important breakthroughs for our buildings. I always look forward to opportunities to work with their talented and dedicated staff and strongly urge you to consider adding them to your network going forward.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I began my work with CELF a few years ago through the partnership my school district formed with them. I attended the Summer Institute with no expectation other than to possibly better understand sustainability. However, I have to say I gained so much more than that. Through CELF's guidance and support, I was able to better understand the Big Ideas of Sustainability, and therefore share those connections with my students. With their support, I was able to help find curriculum connections in all subject areas. We have done an enormous amount of work within the district to bring more awareness to students and the community. All of this was possible because of the work we were able to do with CELF. They helped to jump start our sustainability efforts and have helped to empower teachers and students alike. I am now a co-chair of my district's Sustainability Committee, helping to promote sustainability K-12. If you ever get the opportunity to work with CELF, I highly recommend it!!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) has been, and still is, an oasis in the environmental and nutritional desert of East Harlem. CELF encouraged the sustainability efforts in our former school, that was eventually closed, during its most challenging years, with a positivity, and can-do/hands-on attitude and follow through, that was authentic, contagious, and inspiring. They provided Professional Development (PD), expertise, and support for our sustainability team school during the years I spent fundraising for the Vito Marcantonio Community Peace Garden and throughout the time we spent securing and nourishing 15 trees we received from the Million TreesNYC program. And they have backed every effort to 'green' our school environs and asphalt yard. I met my most progressive and thoughtful colleagues while attending their workshops. The deep-hearted intelligence and generosity of its staff members, the thoroughness of its curriculum and PD workshops, and the flexibility of its programming to custom fit the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic school setting, exemplifies what it means to be sustainable. They enter the fray and get their hands dirty–they literally helped us build our outdoor raised beds and shovel the mountain of soil we received from the New York City Parks Department. For the last two years, the Citizen Science project that CELF introduced to our middle school students has awakened their interest and curiosity about air pollution in their neighborhoods and how it contributes to wide spread asthma. Their emerging environmental literacy empowers them and raises the likelihood that they will make a difference in their communities and their lives. Central Park East 2's principal, Naomi Smith, who leads the school community for the second year in a new building, has recently welcomed a re-energized partnership with CELF. Their mutual passion and commitment to sustainability is a propitious sign for the new year.