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Eco-Schools USA November Newsletter
“What we practice on a small scale sets the patterns for the whole system.”
~Adrienne Maree Brown
As 2019 slows down and we look forward to upcoming breaks and quality time with our friends and family it’s a good time to reflect and be thankful for the experiences and opportunities that have come before.
The Eco-Schools USA team will be reflecting on the needs of our teachers and the schools and communities we serve, as well as the conversations and work we need to do to ensure our voice, actions and resources are inclusive, equitable and just.
Celebrate 10 Years of Eco-Schools USA
November wraps up our year-long celebration highlighting our transformation from humble beginnings to a national leader in education for sustainable development. We celebrate this milestone, our aluminum anniversary (please be kind to the planet and recycle), with our 10 year story map. Please share, as this story is your story, from our first school to our 5,000th and beyond, your stories are woven together into the fabric of our program. And for that we are most thankful.
Pathway Focus | Climate Change
Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and its impacts
The focus on the Climate Change Pathway during the month of November coincides with our Nationwide Day of Action on 11/7/19. We are encouraging students and the school community to take a simple pledge committing to take one or more positive actions for the planet and sharing on social media. Even after our Climate Action Day has passed, there are plenty of resources teachers can use to build climate literacy and engage students. In addition to the Climate Change Pathwayy, each of our Eco-Schools USA pathways are interconnected with climate change, such as the negative impacts of extreme weather on biodiversity (Biodiversity Pathway), or the important role played by forests as they absorb and store carbon (LEAF Pathway).
Every month we share more tips and information on social media related to our monthly focus, so be sure to follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on Facebook and Twitter and learn how to take action for #GlobalGoal13. Share what you learn through school announcements, news programming and/or monthly school communications. #ClimateChangePathway Link:
Teachers can also introduce the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 13, Climate Action, including Target 13.1 which seeks to, “Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.”
Earth Systems Science in Your Schoolyard Habitat®
Did you know that several times a year we offer a free, eight week online professional development opportunity for teachers who want to become a GLOBE trained teacher or continue their GLOBE training? During this self-paced course, which is open from 11/13/19 – 1/8/20, we share how to provide experiential learning opportunities to students using GLOBE investigations and the Eco-Schools Seven Step Framework in a Schoolyard Habitat. Registration is now open. Learn more about how the Eco-Schools USA Pathways and Seven Step Framework align to The GLOBE Program.
In addition to our course offering, if this is the year you plan to create a new Schoolyard Habitat, fall is a good time to begin the planning process with your students. To get started, here’s 5 basic steps for creating a Schoolyard Habitat.
In the Classroom | Current Events
Endangered species need our help! A recent post on the National Wildlife Federation blog highlighted the creative artwork submitted by college students as part of the 2019 Saving Endangered Species art contest hosted by Endangered Species Coalition. As we look ahead to the 15th annual Endangered Species Day on May 15, 2020, we want to take this opportunity to highlight educator resources and student opportunities for involvement over the next 6 months leading up to the celebration and awareness day. These resources, from both the National Wildlife Federation and the Endangered Species Day Coalition, offer a variety of ways to engage students in activities to boost their knowledge and take action on behalf of endangered species.
- 2020 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest (includes ideas for classroom discussion topics and art lesson plan)
- Eco-Schools USA Seven Easy Steps to Take at School
- National Wildlife Federation work to protect endangered species
- Event Promotion Toolkit to plan your own event for 2020
- Educator Resource Center
Learn About Wildlife
The latest issue of Ranger Rick® Magazine includes an interesting article, Giving Terrapins a Head Start, about how schoolkids in Maryland are helping to care for tiny terrapins being raised in an aquarium in their science classroom. It’s an important job, since, according to the article, these baby terrapins have roughly a 1 in 100 chance of survival their first year in the wild. Not only did the 5th and 6th graders at St. Andrew’s School get to name the two terrapins (Chips and Avocado), but throughout the year, they monitored weight and size, collected other measurements, and generally cared for the terrapins. At the end of the school year, the students traveled with the terrapins by boat to Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay (the place where Chips and Avocado were born), where they were released back into the wild. Learn more about Diamondback terrapins, the official state reptile of Maryland.
The free Ranger Rick® Educator’s Guide for November also has extension activities for students with writing prompts related to the terrapin story. Students can also explore the National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Guide to learn more about turtles, including conservation efforts for those listed as endangered.
Green Opportunities and Grants
- The World’s Largest Lesson – Global Goal 13: Climate Action
- Plan and Register for a Green Apple Day of Service; projects can happen throughout the school year
- NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest for Kindergarten through 8th grade students; enter by 11/30/19
- 2020 Farm to School Grant Request
- 2020 Recycling Video & Poster Contest “Then, Now, and in the Future” Submit entries by 12/20/19
- Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest, Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis; Enter by 6/15/20
- Captain Planet Foundation Grant Opportunities
- Monarch Watch Milkweed Grants