Eco-Schools USA May Newsletter

NWF   |   May 1, 2020

What is a teacher? Close your eyes for a moment and let the words and memories flood your mind. The definition of a teacher as provided by online dictionaries reads, “is a person who teaches or instructs, especially in a school” or “a person who provides an education”. Does this definition describe what you just envisioned? We’ve all had some great teachers over the years and this word cloud represents some of the words that come to mind when we reflect on the “people who teach”.

In This Edition

  • Pathway Focus: Transportation
  • Schoolyard Habitats ® | Garden for Wildlife Month
  • Current Events | Endangered Species Day
  • Learning About Wildlife
  • Virtual Green Opportunities

Pathway Focus | Transportation

This month we turn our focus to the Transportation Pathway. By strategizing and implementing sustainable solutions, students can have a positive impact in reducing fuel consumption and air pollution within the school community. In a typical school year, students working on this pathway begin by assessing the ways students and staff get to school, identify whether the school has a “no idling” policy, and looking at ways to safely increase walking and biking options for students such as through a Safe Routes to School program.

But this is not a typical school year. With many schools closed, business shut down, and companies promoting teleworking, there have been some interesting discussions and preliminary data to emerge related to air pollution. What are some other ways that students can dig further into transportation impacts while at home? Using the resources below as a start, ask students probing questions. What changes have been observed in levels of nitrogen oxide (N02) over hard hit metropolitan areas in the Northeast United States? What questions do you have based on the data? Are communities where people are exposed to a higher level of air pollution seeing a more severe impact from COVID-19?

Follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on social media throughout May to learn more about the Transportation Pathway and Global Goal 11.


Schoolyard Habitats ® | Garden for Wildlife™ Month

It’s May and at the National Wildlife Federation we are celebrating Garden for Wildlife Month! As many schools are conducting classes virtually, we are turning the focus to gardening at home. Over the last month or two, there have been many articles about the benefits of backyard or balcony gardening as a way to connect with nature while we are practicing physical distancing. We invite you to explore these recent blogs and web resources for inspiration:

As the weather warms up, we look forward to seeing more blooming gardens and balcony planters on social media. Share your photos and be sure to tag us. @EcoSchoolsUSA #NaturesNotCancelled

Endangered Species Day

This year, on May 15, 2020, we are asking students and teachers to join us in a virtual celebration of the 15th Annual Endangered Species Day. We’ve put together a list of ways you can participate from home. Kids can help scientists review, classify and sort wildlife data, or take a virtual field trip to learn about wildlife from around the world! Explore the full list of 10 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day from Home. In addition, the Endangered Species Coalition has opportunities through digital activities and online events running all week, starting on May 11th. This includes an all-day challenge on Saturday, May 16th – What’s in My Backyard? — using the free iNaturalist app to learn more about the wildlife in your own backyard.

Learn About Wildlife

If you follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on social media, you may have seen the new Ranger Rick Family Guide that we recently shared. The guide provides fun learning activities to accompany the free digital edition of Ranger Rick® magazine. The May issue of the magazine is packed with interesting stories, including Love Ya Mom! It’s a fun read about the ways that animal moms of all shapes and sizes take care of their young. Kids can also take the What Would YOU Do? quiz to learn the best way to handle any wildlife surprises while outside. Help us spread the word… Ranger Rick wants to help families stay engaged with wildlife and the natural world. Through the end of June, there is no paywall on making all the digital editions of the magazines free to the public.

Virtual Green Opportunities