The study investigates environmental literacy of pre-service teachers at one of the largest public universities in Turkey. The research evaluates the relationship of pre-service teachers' environmental knowledge, attitude, and concerns of their interests in environmental problems, involving outdoor activities, parents' interest and involvement in environmental activities. Canonical analysis is used to explore relationships between pre-service teachers' environmental background and literacy. The results are promising and rewarding in addition to restructuring efforts of faculties of education in Turkey. Showing that environmental background of pre-service teachers is positively related to environmental literacy and attitudes along with other uses affected significantly by gender. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.