Eco-Schools USA June Newsletter
It’s Great Outdoors Month! How does celebrating the outdoors look to you? Do you fish, hike, bike, or climb? Is it green, brown, or blue spaces you enjoy? Do you adventure alone, with a friend, or with your community? Whether your adventure takes you around your neighborhood, to a state or national park, or a remote and distant location, we hope you’ll share your story with the community. Tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @EcoSchoolsUSA #GreatOutdoorsMonth
In This Edition
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Outdoor Spaces | Melanin Basecamp
- Pathway Focus: WOW Pathway – Watersheds, Oceans, and Wetlands
- Schoolyard Habitats® | Virtual Gardening with Students
- Current Events | Green Ribbon Schools
- Learning About Wildlife | Bobcats
- Virtual Green Opportunities
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Outdoor Spaces | Melanin Basecamp
This month we’re featuring Melanin Basecamp, founded by Danielle Williams in February 2016. In the beginning, and based on the assumption that Black and Brown folks were not participating in adventure sports (she didn’t see them in outdoor retailer ads-so they must not exist), Danielle’s goal was to increase ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ participation. But, the more she learned, the more she realized ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ folks were already doing things like, biking, climbing, and surfing. So here’s to her new goal! Danielle reenvisioned a different path forward.
“To increase the visibility of adventure athletes of color, to increase our representation in the media, advertising, and in the stories, we tell ourselves about the Outdoors.”
Pathway Focus | Watersheds, Oceans and Wetlands (WOW)
Goal 14Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
Our oceans are facing a growing number of challenges, from overfishing and pollution to acidification and warming. The Eco-Schools USA WOW Pathway— Watersheds, Oceans, and Wetlands (WOW)—provides students opportunities to explore all facets of water’s movement over and through the land. Activities include protecting storm drains from pollution, monitoring local wetlands, and investigating the relationship between WOW and climate.
Recently, Eco-Schools USA hosted a fascinating YouTube Live video lesson with teacher and Antarctic researcher Sarah Slack. Watch the recorded event and find out what she wants folks to know about the melting Thwaites Glacier off the coast of Antarctica.
On June 8th, join in the global celebration of World Oceans Day. It’s a day when people around the world unite to raise awareness about the issues impacting our oceans. The Conservation Action Focus this year is on the protection of 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans by the year 2030. Find inspiration and ideas for planning a #WorldOceansDay celebration.
Be sure to read the latest blog, where we check in with a Valerie Dao, a student from California who attended last year’s National Wildlife Federation’s Student Conservation Leadership Summit. Learn more about her commitment to social and environmental justice while tackling coastal conservation issues in her community. Throughout June, follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on social media as we share more ways to take action for our Watersheds, Oceans, and Wetlands and #GlobalGoal14.
Schoolyard Habitats® | Virtual Gardening with Students
As we move into June, gardens across the country are blooming! We appreciate that some of our Eco-Schools teachers have been able to share blooming school garden photos while following state and local health guidelines and social distancing protocols. Others are taking the opportunity to engage students using indoor gardening science lessons. A great example is James Falletti, a teacher at the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag School, Corpus Christi School in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. In one lesson, he virtually worked with students to answer questions such as, “Is there a growing difference between red bell pepper seeds and green bell pepper seeds?”
Mark your calendars now for National Pollinator Week, June 22-28, 2020. It’s a time to celebrate the small but mighty family of pollinators. Explore our virtual classroom activities related to pollinators and catch up on all the latest garden news on Twitter @Garden4Wildlife.
Green Ribbon Schools
Let’s take a moment to give a virtual hand to this year’s U. S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools winners. These sustainability awardees were recently selected for special recognition based on their commitment to a healthy, safe, and sustainable learning environment. They were honored for their innovative efforts to address the three program pillars: reducing environmental impact and utility costs, improving health and wellness, and ensuring effective sustainability education.
Please join the National Wildlife Federation’s education team in congratulating those schools who are Eco-Schools USA, Certified Schoolyard Habitats and/or participate in our higher education programs, EcoLeaders and RecycleMania.
Odyssey Charter School, DE
Oakland Terrace Elementary, MD
Readington Middle School, NJ
Wasatch Academy, UT
McDill Elementary, WI
Furman University, SC
Ursuline Academy, DE
Cape May City Elementary, NJ
Millbrook Environmental Connections, NC
Montessori Children’s House, WA
University of Wisconsin, WI
College of Lake City, IL
Learn About Wildlife | Bobcats
Bobcats and backyards are usually not found in the same sentence, but the June issue of Ranger Rick® magazine does just that! As many as 1 million bobcats are living in the United States. Most of them will spend their time in the wild in places like forests, deserts, or along a river but, this adventure highlights photographer Karine Aigner’s experience capturing a bobcat family who has made their den on a ranch in Texas. Bobcats are most active at dusk and dawn, and throughout the summer, Karine was able to capture photographs of the mother and three kittens. Kids will enjoy reading At Home with the Bobcats and seeing the photos of the bobcat family along with a short We Are the Bobcats video.
Next, families can explore the June Ranger Rick Family Guide, adapted with activities for at-home learning, on our Virtual Classroom Resources web page. The National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Guide is another student-friendly resource used to learn more about wildlife both in the backyard and around the country. We encourage you to share these resources with students and families. And for young readers ages 4-7, monthly Parent Reading Guides are available to complement each issue of Ranger Rick Jr. This includes both an English and a Spanish language version. Also, one story from the issue is featured in Spanish.
Green Opportunities and Grants
- NOAA Live! Webinar series in conjunction with Woods Hole Sea Grant and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 11 a.m
- Test your climate knowledge with these interactive quizzes from NASA
- Subscribe to the Eco-Schools USA YouTube Channel
- Find virtual classroom resources for at home learning including Ranger Rick Family Guides, learning activities & wildlife and pollinator craft activities
- Watch free shark education webinars with Sharks4Kids
- Explore wildlife photos from around the world with “Nature’s Witness” Virtual Field Trip. Download related activity guides.
- Sign up to video chat with a scientist from home with Skype a Scientist
- Take the Climate Action Pledge and share your positive actions for the planet.
- The World’s Largest Lesson – Global Goal 14: Life Under Water