Environmental Programs

Environmental Programs

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is committed to advancing environmental literacy in our county. We provide districts, schools and community partners with environmental education programs, resources, and professional learning experiences.

Environmental themes — energy, natural systems, climate, sustainability — engage students in real-world, relevant studies that support equitable development of strong science, language, and math skills and prepare students for civic engagement and career paths.



At the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School, fifth and sixth grade students experience a four- or five-day residential, hands-on science program. Students focus on investigating the rich coastal redwood forest ecosystem that surrounds our coastal community.


YEA seeks to elevate the voices of students in order to to transform the school system to be more sustainable. YEA supports students in developing the skills and plans to bridge the gap between adult decision makers and youth, to work together toward common goals and environmental and climate action plans. Visit the website here.


Teacher Leadership Institute for Sustainability – This professional learning program supports TK-12 teachers to integrate environmental sustainability within their classroom curriculum and engage students in action projects at their school or in their communities. All content areas are encouraged to apply. 

Green Classroom Challenge – Visit the website for more information, resources, or to take on the challenge! Teachers and students can make a difference by Greening their Classroom and pushing our schools forward towards a greener future. Topics include Energy, Water, Transportation, Food Waste Reduction, and more. 

Environmental Literacy Professional Learning – Find on demand workshops and curated resources in our Professional Learning Plan. 

Green School Program – Working with the California Green Business Network, County of Santa Cruz schools can become Green Certified and we are here to help. Visit the website for more information and resources.

Resources for EDUCATORS

Environmental Literacy for All – Visit our website to find tools and resources for students, teachers, administrators, and community partners. Topics include Tools for Green Schools, Climate Education, Research on Benefits of Environmental Education, and Awards and Grants.

Partner Portal – Visit our portal for more information about our community-based environmental education partners and their programs and resources. Use search features that identify programs that align with your local needs and meet your educational standards.

Bay of Life Curriculum Resources for TK-12 Classrooms – This curriculum resource collection provides educators with access to the Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales, the work of world-renowned photographer Frans Lanting, which focuses on the extraordinary biodiversity of the Monterey Bay Region. The curriculum resource collections map photo themes to local field trips and instructional resources. 


California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI) – A collective action network that seeks to ensure access to high-quality environment-based learning for all California’s TK–12 students. Santa Cruz COE serves as the co-lead of the statewide County Office of Education Innovation Hub and co-leads the Environmental Literacy Fellowship for county office of education staff.

Monterey Bay Environmental Educators Network (MBEE) – Brings together our region’s environmental education community-based organizations to collaborate and leverage resources in order to create equitable access to nature-based learning experiences and inspire students, teachers and families to actively explore and care for the environment.

The CREEC Network is a project of the California Department of Education. The CREEC Network fosters regional partnerships throughout the state of California to promote environmental education and environmental literacy by providing teachers with access to high quality professional learning opportunities and education resources.