Since the creation of Earth Day nearly 40 years ago, Environmental Education has often suffered from an image problem. Instead of being a vital part of every school and home, the important study of our ecosystems has often been downsized to an extra-curricular activity or a reason to erect a bluebird box in a backyard once a year. But the importance of understanding how the natural world works has never been more important to our lives and to our children’s future. Climate change, habitat loss, threatened biodiversity, pollution of water cycles, overpopulation, and startling changes in food production are all topics that pepper our nightly news and local papers. The world has changed, and so have our educational goals. In order to make the decisions that will protect our natural resources and ourselves, we need to learn to speak the language of the environment. The District’s Education Coordinator’s challenging goal, as we re-create our programs and resources, will be to help county residents understand their role in the natural world and recognize that we cannot separate ourselves from the environment. We are the environment. What we do to our natural habitats, we do to ourselves. The District’s strong and ever-growing Envirothon programs address these issues with school students throughout the county. But it is vitally important to expand our programs to educate all residents, enabling them to make informed decisions. Continuing to enjoy the quality of life we have become accustomed to in York County will only be possible by maintaining the quality of our county’s rich natural resources.

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