Sustainable Sustainability Programs

CELF, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, was founded in 2003 to promote awareness of the importance of sustainability education and  to help schools and school districts make sustainability an ongoing part of education.

We do this by providing consulting services for schools and school districts, training for teachers and administrators and sustainability education programs for students. We work with all kinds of schools—urban, suburban and rural, public and private. Our professional development programs are led by some of the most highly regarded authorities in the field.

Why Education for Sustainability?

Today, because of the rapidly changing and interconnected world in which we live, our youth need a more holistic view of the world around them. This includes understanding the natural, physical environment as well as the social constructs of society, economics and governance. Education must help students develop styles of thinking, attitudes and skills to create a just and sustainable future for all.

Education for sustainability promotes systems thinking in order to help students recognize these interconnections. The goal is to develop a citizenry empowered to make decisions that will improve the state of ecosystems, the economy and the health and well-being of people on the planet.

Sustainability education involves every subject taught in school. Many schools have green initiatives like recycling, a school garden or environmental club, typically involving a limited number of people and a small fraction of school activities. In contrast, a truly sustainable school will, in time, weave environmental literacy throughout the fabric of the institution, making it part of the infrastructure and school culture.

Making Sustainability Education Self-Sustaining

CELF takes a comprehensive approach to integrating sustainability concepts into education, engaging students, teachers and administrators and involving parents and businesses as well. We work with all stakeholders in a school community to integrate the concepts and principles of sustainable development into education policy, school curricula, teacher education and lifelong learning.

CELF partners with and provides guidance to education leaders who advocate for sustainability education at the state and national levels. Our long-term goal is for every school to make sustainability education a regular part of its mission and on-going policy.

Fitting the Experts and Programs to the School

Each school and community is different. To meet diverse needs, we work with many of the most highly regarded experts in education for sustainability, tailoring our programs to the specific needs of the schools with which we work. CELF understands that the field is evolving and that educational experts continue to emerge. We fit our experts and solutions to our client schools and school districts, not the other way around.

We recognize that individual teachers, schools and districts will have their own strengths, needs and preferences in integrating sustainability concepts into the curriculum, and we are flexible and resourceful in responding to those needs. We adapt to the style, resources and timetables of our clients.

A Leader in Sustainability Education

CELF, an acclaimed leader in sustainability education, received the first Green Leadership Award from the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County’s (FCWC) in recognition of our “visionary program to integrate sustainability education into the cur­rent school curriculum.”

We stay up to date with developments in business, industry and higher education,and are aware of the skills and abilities colleges are seeking in their students and employers in their prospective hires. Our consulting professionals include curriculum experts and teacher trainers, architects, engineers and scientists, as well as product designers and manufacturers, lawyers, financial analysts and social activists.


Watch this Video to see CELF in action!


Thousands are

CELF has educated thousands in school communities to empower them to assume responsibility for creating and enjoying a sustainable future.

  • Over 7,500 teachers and administrators are now CELF-educated
  • Our programming has reached more than 700,000 students
  • More than 2,800 schools are now CELF-involved, through our professional development programs for educators, CELF student programming and speaker events.
  • We have built coalitions between stakeholders, connecting leaders in business and higher education with K-12 teachers, parents and students.


"An amazing
catalyst ..."

"I am inspired by CELF's dedication to helping educators understand sustainability as an urgent and compelling context for learning.
...CELF works tirelessly to understand the shifting tides of state and national education policy, to understand the context in which teachers are being asked to perform and to develop programming that will meet the needs of the people who most need and want to be involved in education for a sustainable future."

Sherie McClam, PhD, Director
Center for Teaching and Learning
Assistant Professor, School of Education, Manhattanville College



“Ecological Intelligence: an all-encompassing sensibility that enables us to see the interconnections between our actions and their hidden impacts on the planet, our health, and our social systems.”

Daniel Goleman

Copyright 2014. Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation. All Rights Reserved. CELF-taught is a Service Mark of CELF.