Education

Webinar: Planting the Seeds for Sustainable Chemistry

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1-2 pm CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/705583810

What can be done to incorporate green chemistry in to all parts of the industry? Join us to learn about the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientist and Engineers (NESSE) and how they are working to build a community of confident and able early-career sustainable scientists; connected across disciplines, sharing knowledge and resources, forging collaborations, and finding solutions towards making research and its outcomes greener and more sustainable.

 

White House Council on Environmental Quality and EPA Honor Student Leaders and Exceptional Teachers with Environmental Education Awards

Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced the winners of the annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) and President’s Environmental Youth Award, (PEYA) recognizing outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship and K-12 teachers employing innovative approaches to environmental education in their schools. In a ceremony at the White House, 17 teachers and 60 students from across the nation are being honored for their contributions to environmental education and stewardship.

“These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of student leaders and exceptional teachers on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including combating climate change and instituting sustainability practices,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Environmental education encourages academic achievement, especially in the sciences, and develops the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship.”‎

This year, students are receiving awards for projects including activities such as creating a novel water purification method, assessing apples as a sustainable fuel source, and reducing the carbon footprint of a school to help combat climate change.  Teachers being honored this year have employed interactive, hands-on learning projects such as opening a marine science station, designing a solar powered garden irrigation system, building a nature trail, and connecting students to their natural surroundings through field studies. These students and teachers creatively utilize their local ecosystems, environment, community and culture as a context for learning.

“To deal with immense challenges like climate change, we need a generation of leaders who don’t back away from complex environmental problems, and who have the skills to solve them,” said Mike Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Across the country, environmental education is helping develop that generation of leaders, and the students and teachers being recognized today are remarkable examples of this kind of education at its best.”

The PIAEE and PEYA awardees demonstrate the creativity, innovation, leadership and passion for community engagement needed to face difficult environmental challenges. Teachers and students attending the ceremony will also be participating in a workshop led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss climate and best practices in the field of climate education.

And today, NOAA, the US Global Change Research Program, and collaborators from both the National Climate Assessment network of stakeholders (NCAnet) and the CLEAN Network are releasing a series of guides for educators focused on each of the regions covered in the U.S. National Climate Assessment released by the Obama Administration in May 2014. The guides, which are being deployed on climate.gov, aim to help unpack regional findings and scientific messages, provide links to key resources, and connect educators with the climate-relevant information they need.

Additionally, the National Environmental Education Foundation and EPA announced the winner of the 2014 Bartlett Award. This additional recognition is given each year to an exceptionally outstanding PIAEE award winner, who can serve as an inspiration and model to others.

PEYA winners ‎include students from 9 states, including Washington, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Carolina and New Hampshire. PIAEE winners and honorable mentions include teachers from 23 states and territories, including Vermont, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Teaching kids about climate change? Read them a classic story

Read the full story at Grist. See the Environmental Novels LibGuide for fiction for grade schoolers through adults.

A professor of environmental science at Chicago’s DePaul University, [Liam] Heneghan recently started teaching a seminar called the Ecology of Childhood. Working from a list of the 100 most popular children’s books, including classics like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?, Heneghan explains that although they weren’t written with ecology in mind, the books are goldmines for environmental meanderings. More, they offer “the most gentle and loving way” to teach kids about the havoc humans are wreaking on nature.

Becoming a Change Agent for Sustainability

Read the full post at the Community College Sustainability Collaborative.

A few summers ago, I attended a week-long training on campus sustainability at the University of Vermont. It was one of the best trainings I’ve ever attended and the facilitator (Debra Rowe) at one point, after I had described some of the things I had accomplished in my career, congratulated me on being a successful activist for sustainability. That’s when the trouble started; you see I have never considered myself an activist, to me an activist spends way too much time screaming and making other people feel bad. I have always preferred to consider myself a subversive, someone who works somewhat under the radar to make change. The fact is though, that the term subversive carries a heavy negative connotation so it’s not a label I use for myself very often. In Vermont our disagreement resulted in me coming to a change in how I should refer to myself, so I’ve come around to the term change agent. I don’t think that labels are nearly as important as actions but this particular label got me thinking in a couple of ways. First, really what is a change agent? Secondly, at the encouragement of the facilitator, to really take a look at how in fact you do make change happen within an organization or community. The result of course is what follows.

IAA to Bring Life to Dorm Rooms

Read the full story from the University of Maryland.

Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of an instructor and students from the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), Terps moving into the dormitories for the fall 2014 semester will receive green plants to help decorate their rooms and improve air quality.

IAA instructor and advisor Ken Ingram was awarded a grant through the Pepsi Enhancement Fund to supply the plants. Pepsi grants fund programs or events that create a campus community, appeal to campus citizens and advance the university’s academic mission.

EPA Kicks Off Third-Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge to Develop Innovative Approaches to Stormwater Management

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching its third-annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a prize contest that engages college students in developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change.

Through Campus RainWorks, teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty advisor, develop a proposed green infrastructure project for the campus, showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the community and the environment.

Since 2012, Campus RainWorks has engaged more than 300 student teams in developing green infrastructure solutions to urban stormwater management. Campus RainWorks encourages the use of green infrastructure projects on college and university campuses, trains the next generation of stormwater professionals, and develops new knowledge on the performance of green infrastructure.

Registration for the 2014 Challenge opens Sept. 2 and ends Oct. 3. Registrants must submit their entries by Dec. 19. Each winning team will earn a student prize of $1,000-$2,000 divided evenly among student team members and a faculty prize of $2,000-$3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training. EPA will announce winning entries in April 2015.

Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of stormwater pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.

Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure. Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds.

More information at www.epa.gov/campusrainworks

Prairie hits ‘big turning point’ as volunteers establish native plants

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

The corner of Florida and Orchard used to be a no-mow zone — a drab collection of tall grasses and weeds — but then the Student Sustainability Committee started a project in 2010 to spruce the area up, transforming it into a prairie.

Last week that same prairie was in a colorful bloom, with two of the most common forbs in the prairie — bee balm and yellow cornflower — flowering across the 2.7-acre field in a sea of yellow and purple.

John Marlin, a volunteer who coordinates the work on the prairie, said this is the best he’s ever seen it look.

Charles Darwin’s evolutionary reading: HMS Beagle’s library goes online

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The lost collection of books that kept Charles Darwin company aboard HMS Beagle and provided inspiration for his later works on evolution has been made publicly available for the first time today.

Hundreds of titles that filled the shelves of the ship’s library on Darwin’s five-year circumnavigation of the globe in the 1830s have been brought together and made freely available through the Darwin Online Beagle Library project.

Job announcement: Program Manager for the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, Penn State University

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute seeks a highly motivated, organized, and action-oriented individual to manage program activities for the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC).

The Program Manager will oversee operational activities associated with the SCC, a large-scale, innovative university/community based collaboration that engages PSU faculty and students in existing courses from across the University through real world, community- and campus-identified sustainability projects.

  • Serve as primary point of contact with faculty members and community partners for projects, monitor progress and address any issues that emerge, to ensure projects stay on track and, provide presentations to classes of students associated with projects.
  • Develop, administer, and maintain appropriate project documents needed to support the program, including Program Agreements for each project, project activity spreadsheets, and overall program management tools.
  • Develop and maintain descriptive information about SCC, to include presentations, website information, and other collateral materials.

The Program Manager will serve as convener of a team of Sustainability Institute-affiliated faculty, staff, and students to lead the SCC initiative and ensure that projects are successfully initiated, planned, executed, completed, and assessed each semester.

  • Plan and oversee the development of annual program reports, the major deliverable of the university to the community, incorporating the work of all classes focused on SCC projects during the year.
  • Manage SCC budget and supervise graduate students and undergraduate interns.

This position will need to interface effectively with senior local government officials and community business and organization leaders, as well as faculty members and students across multiple colleges. As this program is replicated at other Penn State campuses, the Program Manager will be the primary contact between University Park and coordinators at other campuses. The Program Manager will ensure that SCC activities are aligned with program goals and contribute to positive community, student, faculty and University impact and, is responsible for impact assessment, and stakeholder reporting.

Typically requires a Master’s degree or higher plus three years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. A Doctorate degree preferred, in education, regional planning, business administration, sustainability, or a field related to SCC work. Experience in university-community engagement, service learning, community and economic development, program management and assessment, sustainability planning, grant-writing, budget management, and fund-raising is highly desirable. Review of applications will begin July 21. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with excellent possibility of re-funding.