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.

Animal Planet Live webcams

Animal Planet Live bills itself as your online home for the most interesting live animal cameras. My favorite is the Bunny Cam (naturally), but they have a plethora of other animals represented. The channels also include social media streams and scheduled chats (the Bunny Chat is on Wednesdays from 2-2:30 Central).

Job announcement: United States Air Force (USAF) Youth Centers Science Camp: Mobile Science Camp Instructor

Mobile Science Camp Instructor
Salary: Commensurate with experience
United States Air Force (USAF) Youth Centers Science Camp

Purpose: During the summer, travel to four (4) to eight (8) USAF bases throughout the United States to run a traveling Science Camp. The goal of the Science Camp is to expand and assist the USAF youths’ understanding of a variety of scientific experiments, discoveries, and technologies as a lifelong sill and potential career choice, and will encompass a role-playing theme.

The camp will consist of five (5) consecutive days of training, two sessions per day, Monday through Friday. The sessions last approximately three (3) hours each. NOTE: 10 – 15 minute breaks may be provided as needed.

What are the essential functions of the job?

  • Instructor shall provide training and instruction to meet youth objectives (supplies and materials are provided by Monahan, LLC).
  • Instruct youth on and demonstrate the ability to successfully participate in science activities inclusive but not limited to:
    • Robotics
    • Geology
    • Biology
    • Electricity and Solar Power
    • Astronomy
    • Chemistry
    • Rockets
  • Lead team building activities and initiatives during each session to support cohesive teamwork within groups. Each Science Camp participant shall be involved in all aspects of the camp.
  • Lead games, challenges and instruction in manner supporting a role playing environment.
  • To increase opportunities for youth ages 9 through 18 to experience technology, experimentation, and discovery through science.
  • Ensure equipment and material is set-up and prepared to lead camp no later than 30 minutes before scheduled session. Typically, first session consist of 9 to 12 year olds and starts at 9:00 am.
  • Maintain vehicle and equipment.

What are the knowledge, skills and abilities required?

The ideal candidate will have broad knowledge of multiple science disciplines. They will be effective speakers to groups of up to 35 children, and equally capable of working with small groups to make learning engaging and fun. They are detailed, encouraging, adaptive, and fun loving. They have the ability to integrate science with the curriculum and make ordinary moments into unforgettable learning experiences. Previous teaching experience is preferred.

What is the educational requirement for this position?

Bachelor’s degree in job-related area, professional educator license.

Other Information

Monahan LLC coordinates schedule with the participating USAF installations. Vehicle, cargo trailer, uniforms, equipment and materials are provided by Monahan, LLC. This is our sixth year running camp programs for the USAF Youth Centers. Each USAF base provides lodging one evening prior to camp and the evening of the last day of camp.

How to apply

Send resume to julie@upthecreektrips.com
Julie Monahan
Owner, Monahan LLC
Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 345-7957 (work)
(904) 483-8953 (cell)
e-mail: julie@upthecreektrips.com

A Lesson in Farming, Classroom to Cafeteria

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Beyond a stack of hay bales, past the site of Indiana’s first soil-judging contest, high school students in this tiny eastern town stroll down a grassy slope to reach their newest classroom: a fenced-in field of cud-chewing cattle.

Starting in the next academic year, the cattle, which arrived last month and have names like Ground Round and Honey Bear, will be fed by students enrolled in an agricultural science class. Then, when the animals are fat enough, they will be fed back to their caretakers — as beef patties on lunchroom trays.

MPCA Environmental Assistance Grants Program

On May 12, 2014, with the publication of the Request for Proposals (RFP) Notice in the State Register, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has officially announced the opening of the Fiscal Years (FY) 2014-2015 Environmental Assistance (EA) Grant Program for applications.

Approximately $1 million is available for EA grant awards to provide financial assistance for researching, developing, or implementing projects and practices related to all aspects of waste management and prevention including hazardous substances, toxic pollutants, and problem materials.  Additionally, market development and education grants are also allowed. The MPCA seeks to encourage environmentally-sustainable practices and approaches to pollution prevention and resource conservation. Eligible applicants, grant award amounts and minimum matching fund requirements will vary by Focus Areas and Preferred Proposals.

Applications for financial assistance will be for Proposals in the following nine (9) Focus Areas:

  • Focus Area A. Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
  • Focus Area B. Food Waste Reduction
  • Focus Area C. Green Chemistry & Design Curriculum
  • Focus Area D. Reuse/Repair/Rent
  • Focus Area E. Environmental Solid Waste Management Practices
  • Focus Area F. Communities Adapting to Climate Change and Extreme Weather
  • Focus Area G. City Sustainability Policy Development
  • Focus Area H. State ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Goal
  • Focus Area I. School Site Sustainability and Student Environmental Education

The deadline for application submittal is no later than 2:00 p.m. Central Time as follows:

  • July 16, 2014: submission deadline for Focus Areas B – I
  • August 13, 2014: submission deadline for Focus Area A

Deadline extended for 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp applications

The Prairie Research Institute is pleased to announce the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Science Camp. This STEM experience is a week-long day camp where students have the opportunity to spend one day at each of the five divisions of the Institute working side-by-side with scientists to gain hands-on experience in the lab and field in geology, archaeology, sustainable technology, water science, and environmental/biological science. The camp will be held July 21-25, 2014, and will feature:

  • making biofuel from corn and plastic waste and using that to power a go-cart;
  • sampling lake water and determining water quality;
  • studying insect fossils;
  • examining ancient artifacts; and
  • creating 3D geologic maps from core samples.

This year’s camp will be limited to 24 students in the State of Illinois who are either a rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who are interested in learning more about science and engineering occupations. Cost is $250 per participant. The application deadline has been extended to May 31, 2014.

The Prairie Research Institute is the home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeology Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

If you have any questions related to the Institute’s camp, please contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or eluber2@illinois.edu.