Eco-Schools USA May Newsletter
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?
- Read the latest from NASA: Reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide Associated with Decreased Fossil Fuel Use Resulting from COVID-19 Mitigation. Students can use the satellite data and visualizations to view changes over time.
- Learn more about some preliminary studies that discuss a possible connection between higher levels of air pollution and COVID-19. The National Wildlife Federation’s VP of Environmental Justice, Mustafa Santiago Ali, weighs in on the impacts of COVID-19 on communities that are already exposed to higher levels of pollution.
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:
- KIDS GARDEN FOR WILDLIFE — includes a list of crafts, outdoor activities, and printables for kids
- EXPLORE JARDIN SILVESTRE — the new Spanish language Garden for Wildlife website, including tip and fact sheets
- HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR DISAPPEARING BUMBLE BEES — resources for creating a wildlife habitat garden to support pollinators
- SIX WAYS TO SUPPORT WILD BIRDS AT HOME — tips for attracting birds to your garden
- SIX ACTIONS TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND HELP WILDLIFE IN YOUR GARDEN — things to do at home to help combat climate change
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 rangerrick.org making all the digital editions of the magazines free to the public.
Virtual Green Opportunities
- Subscribe to the Eco-Schools USA YouTube Channel
- Watch free shark education webinars with Sharks4Kids
- Explore wildlife photos from around the world with “Nature’s Witness” Virtual Field Trip, and download related activity guides
- Sign up to video chat with a scientist from home with Skype a Scientist
- Participate in the What’s In My Backyard? all day challenge on Saturday, May 16th to Celebrate Endangered Species Day
- Take the Climate Action Pledge and share your positive actions for the planet.
- The World’s Largest Lesson – Global Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, learn more about making communities safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.
- There’s still time to enter the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest, Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis. Enter by 6/15/20.