A Field At Risk

boy looking through leaf

Environmental and Outdoor Science Education Organizations Face Threat of Shrinking by More than Half Due to COVID-19

University of California at Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science recently released a policy brief outlining the results of a national survey, conducted in partnership with the California Environmental Literacy Initiative, North American Association for Environmental Education, and Ten Strands. This study surveyed outdoor learning and environmental education organizations to assess impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the field.

Across the 1,000 organizations that responded, the survey findings project that by December 31, 2020:

  • 11 million kids will have missed environmental and outdoor science learning opportunities -- 60% of them from communities of color or low-income communities
  • $600 million in revenue will have been lost
  • 30,000 employees laid off or furloughed
  • 30% of the organizations nationally are highly unlikely to reopen
  • Over 1/3 of the outdoor education field (up to 65%) is likely to disappear, eroding a key component of the nation’s education infrastructure

The Lawrence Hall of Science has released the full policy brief, A Field at Risk, sharing recommendations on strategies to mitigate impacts and losses. Press release on the study from the Lawrence Hall of Science is available here.