Our Strategy

Our Strategy

A growing number of school and out-of-school programs aim to help our youth meet the most pressing issues of our time – how to mitigate and reverse damage to the environment as well as live sustainably on a challenged planet. The iCREST Foundation strives to enhance the impact of these efforts by conducting an Environmental Literacy Leadership Empowerment Forum bringing together key leaders from organizations already focused on climate and environmental literacy and Earth system science as well as create a Resilience and Sustainability (RS) Framework based on the most important skill sets that the next generation need to live, thrive, succeed, and cope in the decades ahead. 

The iCREST Foundation will serve as a catalyst to supercharge environmental literacy organizations with similar objectives building on and sharing the work they are doing to reach greater numbers of middle and high school youth through schools, clubs, and community programs. Utilizing the latest research findings, available resources, and experience of the Forum participants, iCREST aims to bring resilience and sustainability education to youth to promote and encourage environmental stewardship and improve public health, safety, and wellbeing through student learning and engagement in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) as well as data analysis, sharing, and dissemination. The iCREST Resilience and Sustainability Framework will be a unique and effective learning catalyst for change, future performance, and learning.  Equipped with the skill sets of the Resilience and Sustainability Framework, we believe today’s students will establish the U.S. as a global leader in environmental conservation.

Environmental Literacy Leadership Empowerment Forum

The Environmental Literacy Leadership Empowerment Forum (Forum) will create a platform for collaboration among some of the existing environmental literacy organization leaders and luminaries to discuss and exchange ideas on climate and environmental education, Earth system science, and strategies for empowering youth. By sharing existing resources as well as co-design and co-develop science-based information for environmental literacy, the Forum will:

  • help organizations leverage each other’s expertise, 
  • avoid duplication of efforts, 
  • create synergies to overcome fragmentation,
  • generate new knowledge,
  • empower leadership, and 
  • bring new resources to the communities they serve.
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The Forum will bring together like-minded individuals, including funders, who are passionate about creating positive change and provide networking opportunities for all participants to help them connect with potential partners and community members. It will also foster professional development for leadership in this field, enabling participants to enhance their skills and knowledge on a variety of topics including how to accelerate their work.

The ultimate goals of the Forum are to:

  1. Identify opportunities and challenges for increasing the adoption and promotion of environmental stewardship and education programs and practices.
  2. Provide the stage for organizations (including the iCREST Foundation) that have developed environmental literacy frameworks, designed to identify the knowledge and skills youth need to preserve the natural world as well and live and thrive sustainably on a challenged planet, to share these frameworks and identify similarities and unique attributes with the purpose of creating collaboration and cross pollination of framework concepts.

 

It is of utmost importance to the iCREST Foundation to bring together a highly diverse group of organizations and individuals representing various fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), CTE (Career Technical Education), and environmental knowledge with broad demographic backgrounds (including youth voice), and extensive reach into middle and high school youth.

 

The environmental literacy field is rich in programs and content and the Forum will create a powerful coalition of existing initiatives that collectively will reach larger numbers of youth nationwide, beyond the current network of existing programs.

Resilience and Sustainability Framework

As part of our strategy, the iCREST Foundation is committed to the realization of a Resilience and Sustainability Framework (RS Framework) based on the five principles established by our Education Advisory Board. The five principals revolve around five major skill sets creating a plan of action: Ecosystem Literacy; Computer Modeling, and Data Analytics; Narrative and Storytelling; Youth Agency and Societal Process; and Resilient, Just, and Thriving Communities.

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The iCREST RS Framework is founded on enabling access to the most up-to-date science-based information and knowledge for coping with the contemporary environmental challenges facing communities nationwide. 

The RS Framework is the intellectual glue that will:

  • Create a unified, collective vision for environmental literacy with a STEAM approach focusing initially on U.S. middle and high school youth.
  • Initiate a movement within the K-12 community specific to the RS Framework.
  • Establish a common language for education around environmental priorities.
  • Develop STEAM and CTE curriculum for middle and high schools and youth programs aligned to the Framework to be used by educators and program leaders.
  • Disseminate information to practitioners, policymakers, and influencers with a consistent theme.
  • Accredit the iCREST Foundation as the catalyst bringing together public and private partnerships to address the most pressing challenges facing our youth.
  • Coalesce organizations with similar objectives.

A downloadable summary of the iCREST Foundation story can be found here.

We know that learning is “a process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance and future learning”. (Ambrose et al, 2010, “How Learning Works: Seven Research Based Principles for Smart Teaching”