Eco-Schools USA October Newsletter

NWF   |   October 1, 2019

If you’re trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

~Maya Angelou

The end of September saw youth around the world organize, speak and march, to bring attention to the inaction of our leadership to take significant climate action and right climate injustice. Eco-Schools USA is proud of each and every young person who participated online or in person and the adults who stood with them. Keep organizing and advocating! #StandUnitedBehindtheScience!

Credit: Emily Fano/Amy Werner

Celebrate Earth Science Week

October 13-19, 2019 we celebrate the 21st anniversary of Earth Science Week. The theme, Geoscience is for Everyone, will kickoff a year’s events that will emphasize both the inclusive potential and the importance of the geosciences in the lives of all people. Order your toolkit today and select the activities you’ll use during the week-long celebration. Also register for our Earth science focused professional development, GLOBE training for Eco-Schools, Using Earth Systems Science in your Schoolyard Habitat

Pathway Focus on Sustainable Food


End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

There’s been a lot of activity recently related to climate issues, and one way to keep the conversation going is to engage students through the Sustainable Food Pathway and related Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. The pathway provides opportunities for students and educators to explore and implement programs designed to focus on food sustainability in an age where rising temperatures are impacting soil, fisheries, and other basic aspects of our food supply. Discuss the targets of Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger such as Target 2.4 which addresses sustainable food production and resilient agriculture practices and make plans to take action.

Every October we also join in celebrating National Farm to School Month. Explore resources on the Farm to School website like the Farm to School fact sheet that contains ideas for ways to bring the celebration to your local school community.

Follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on Facebook and Twitter each month to get more tips and information related to our monthly focus areas. Get inspired to take action for Global Goal 2. Share what you learn through school announcements, news programming and/or monthly school communications. #SustainableFoodPathway #ZeroHunger 

Creating an Edible Garden in Your Schoolyard Habitat®

Schoolyard Habitats® provide a means for all students to benefit from exposure to the natural world and the protection and conservation of wildlife. These habitats serve as a student engagement tool and as outdoor learning laboratories. Many Eco-Schools have successfully used planters or raised beds to increase wildlife habitat (Schoolyard Habitats/Biodiversity Pathway) or grow various fruits, vegetables, and herbs (Sustainable Food Pathway). Schools have been involved in growing food that is harvested and served in the cafeteria or sold at a school market stand – providing fresh produce to local community members.

And for those schools thinking you don’t have adequate space or soil, explore our new Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Toolkit, and get inspired by learning how students from P.S. 31 participated “from seed to sales” in a hydroponic farm stand. Find more resources including lesson plans at the Edible Schoolyard Project


In the Classroom | Current Events

Since January we have been celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Eco-Schools USA Program, and sharing program highlights on the National Wildlife Federation blog. Recently, Greta Thunberg spoke at the UN Climate Summit in NYC – her leadership sparked a worldwide youth movement to take climate action into their own hands. On the blog, we detail 3 ways the Eco-Schools USA program supports the development of student leaders. From promoting school leadership to providing opportunities for cross-cultural action experiences, we are proud to play a role in developing students who are empowered for a sustainable tomorrow. We invite you to share your stories, tag @EcoSchoolsUSA, and use the hashtag #JoinActShare.


Learn About Wildlife

A new study in the journal, Science, shows a loss of 3 billion birds since 1970. The recent story—Birds in Crisis: How One Bill Can Help Our Nation’s Winged Wonders—on the National Wildlife Federation blog discusses the highlights of the State of Birds 2019 and how the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019 can support fragile biodiversity with conservation efforts and wildlife protections.  

Wondering what can be done to help? While teachers of middle and high school ages students can use the article and study as a jumping off point, discussing the role of the legislative process in helping to protect wildlife, all students can learn more facts about birds in all shapes and sizes using The Cornell Lab’s educational resources. Don’t forget to check out the October issue of Ranger Rick® Magazine’s Hooked on Hornbills.

Green Opportunities and Grants

Each month we highlight action days, upcoming professional development, webinars, and environmental grant opportunities from around the country.