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Sustainability Education

Climate Change

For climate change information for formal or nonformal education, see Pennsylvania's Climate Action Plan, which outlines a pathway to reaching the state greenhouse gas reduction goals: 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels.

EV charging, tree planting, wind turbines, and solar panels

To see some efforts in Pennsylvania that address climate change and sustainability, check out the awardees for the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.


There are over 500 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania’s roads. Litter is also polluting our neighborhoods, parks, streams and rivers, and countryside and woodlands. Be pro-Pennsylvania. Be anti-litter.

Illustration depicting litter next to trees and mountains

Pennsylvania’s first ever statewide Litter Action Plan includes recommendations on what state government agencies, the state legislature, local governments, organizations, schools, and businesses can do to reduce littering.


DEP’s Guidelines for Recycling in Your Community is a useful resource to help students, residents, and businesses understand how to recycle correctly. The booklet provides information to help maximize the social, environmental, and economic benefits of recycling, including locating local recycling programs and rules.

Trash is bundled at a recycling center in Lycoming County

Bay Backpack

Teaching Resources

Teaching sustainability in the classroom is a critical component of providing students a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE). Discover a wealth of environment-related books, multimedia, curriculum guides, individual lesson plans and online data sources.

Action Projects

Engaging students in action projects that address problems in their communities and schools helps them master curriculum content by making meaningful connections between what they are learning and the real world.
MWEE action projects come in a wide variety of forms and often fall into one or more of the following categories: For projects directly related to sustainability check out the resources under Restoration and Protection, Community Engagement, Civic Engagement, Everyday Choices, Outdoor Play and Learning, and Healthy Schools. Use the projects to formulate action ideas and plan and implement a project. Remember, action projects should be student-directed so students are involved in all steps of the process.

People plant a rain garden

Keep PA Beautiful

litterhawk.jpgKeep PA Beautiful offers the Litter Hawk Youth Awards, a recognition program for students in grades K-6 who complete a designated project specific to their grade level. Kids can participate individually or as part of a lesson initiated by schools, home-schools, scout troops, 4-H clubs, environmental clubs, or other organized groups.

The Litter Hawk Youth Award program was created with funding from DEP.

For more information, contact Kylie McCutcheon.

US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program

The aim of the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is to inspire schools, districts and institutions of higher education to strive for 21st century excellence, by highlighting promising practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes schools, districts, and institutions of higher education that:

  • Reduce environmental impact and costs
  • Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff
  • Provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways

Pathways to Green Schools

Every school in Pennsylvania can start on the path towards a more green and sustainable future.  Whether a school district is considering a renovation or construction project, reviewing operations and maintenance practices, planting a school garden, or updating curriculum, there is an opportunity to make our schools more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and healthier places of learning.

Women for a Healthy Environment

Women for a Healthy Environment educates and empowers women to act as ambassadors about environmental risks so that they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families and advocate for change for a better tomorrow for all.

Penn State Extension: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

The best school IPM programs are the ones where school employees, parents, and the community share in the design and implementation of the program as a team, with each member of the team having specific roles.

In Pennsylvania, state laws and regulations require IPM plans be created for the management of pests on school grounds. In addition, state laws and regulations require IPM to be a part of Pennsylvania's academic standards. IPM is found under Subject Area 4: Environment and Ecology, and Subject Area 4.5: Humans and the Environment.

Additional Resources