Eco-Schools USA September Newsletter

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

~Lily Tomlin

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, this school year 50.8 million students and 3.7 million educators (not including charter and homeschool students and teachers) will be welcomed back to our nation’s almost 133,000 schools. No matter whether your school setting is urban, suburban or rural, we hope you and your students will embrace nature and its numerous benefits throughout the schoolyear – learning – investigating – playing – sharing – destressing. Here’s to you and a great 2019-2020 school year!

Back to School – Check Out Our New Design

As we continue welcoming everyone back to school our team is proud to share our new enhanced portal.

With a new design, comes new experiences.

  • Please login to your account. You will need to create a password through the “Forgot Password?” link. Creating a password is a new security measure put in place to protect the information our Eco-Schools provide.
  • Go to your school’s profile and review the information. Make updates to your profile as needed. Note: our new systems uses an external tool called School Digger to aggregate publicly available public school data, such as school population, district, and address. Private and home schools will still need to enter this information manually.
  • Go to your school’s dashboard and update metrics, photos, and videos as needed.
  • Prepare for the new year by reviewing the team members associated with your school. To check your team, login and choose “Team Management” from the left hand navigation.

Pathway Focus on Learning About Forests


Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

It’s hard to believe the first day of autumn is just weeks away! As trees across the nation begin making their seasonal changes, we chose September to explore the Learning About Forests Pathway, and related Sustainable Development Goal #15 (SDG15), Life on Land. From orchards to urban forests and tiny forests to U.S National Forests, the LEAF pathway aims to increase student knowledge about forests and their critical role in sustaining life around the globe.

Take students for a walk outside to explore micro-habitats such as rotting logs or the understory of a tree. Use the SEEK app to identify and learn more about the plants and animals on school grounds. Engage students in a discussion that connects loss of forests in the USA with current global events. Introduce some of the targets of Global Goal 15, such as 15.5 which promotes action to reduce habitat degradation and halt biodiversity.

Follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on Facebook and Twitter each month to get more tips and information related to this pathway and SDG. Get inspired to take action for #GlobalGoal15. Share what you learn through school announcements, news programming and/or monthly communications. #LearningAboutForestsPathway

Fall Clean-Up For Your Schoolyard Habitats®

Fall is a perfect time to harness student excitement and energy to spruce up the school garden. Remove weeds, litter, and invasive plants, then consider dividing and replanting large perennials. Clean and refill any bird baths and/or bird feeders. Clean and repair or replace garden equipment.

Be sure to use the link below to the Native Plant Finder on the National Wildlife Federation’s website. It’s a helpful tool to find the best plants for your geographic region.

Learn more about native plants on the Garden for Wildlife website.

Native Plant Finder

Finally, don’t forget to evaluate and document any best practices that worked to keep your garden thriving (or at least surviving) during the summer heat.

In the Classroom | Current Events

Infographic 5 Ways to Go Back to School with Eco-Schools USA

With long, back to school lists common for hard-working teachers, we’re sharing a simple infographic to make this time of year a little easier; check out 5 Ways to Go Back to School with Eco-Schools USA. Explore the 12 environmental pathways, which offer a variety of relevant topics for engaging students, including Watersheds, Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Food. Our goal is to facilitate the blending of Eco-Schools USA into the classroom. Take a minute to explore our new, streamlined website and share a school story with us next time you are on social media. Follow us @EcoSchoolsUSA and use the hashtag #JoinActShare.

Explore the 12 Pathways!

Learn About Wildlife

If you have ever visited Yellowstone National Park, you may have been lucky enough to see the iconic American bison. These massive creatures— the males often weighing up to one ton—once roamed North America with numbers in the millions. The Better with Bison story in the September issue of Ranger Rick® Magazine explores the many reasons bringing bison back to areas of the country where they once roamed is so important. The companion Educator’s Guide includes discussion questions and student activities to follow up the story. Consider adding a subscription to this award-winning magazine to your classroom library.

Photo Credit: NPS

Discover fun facts and more about the American bison in the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Guide

Green Opportunities and Grants

Take the pledge and join the Great American Campout
NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Webinars to support ocean and climate literacy
NAAEE Professional Development
NAAEE Monthly Webinar Series
NOAA Planet Stewards Upcoming Events
Green Strides Webinar Series
The Green Teacher Webinar Series
The World’s Largest Lesson – Global Goal 15: Life on Land
Captain Planet Foundation Grant Opportunities
Monarch Watch Milkweed Grants