How Can Daycare Facilities Minimize Toxic Exposures?

Read the full response from the Pollution Prevention Resource Center.

The question relates to facilities that provide temporary, drop-in day care for children, ages three to ten. The facility consists of: a mat zone (for jumping and tumbling), a snack area, general toys and books, an arts and craft area, and periodic trips to the outdoor playground.

Since it is not a licensed day care, it is not bound by the same regulatory cleaning requirements as a daycare facility, but it does use bleach and various disinfectants including aerosol sprays and wipes.

The facility wants to prioritize and minimize toxic exposures to visiting children. The following sections provide some information and suggestions, categorized under cleaning exposure, cleaning and disinfection, building materials, toys, art, and pest management.

Teachers teaching teachers about the Great Lakes

Read the full post at Lakeside Views.

IISG Environmental Educator Kirsten Hope Walker didn’t take it easy on  the teachers in the audience at the 3rd Annual Beginning Teacher STEM Conference this morning at the I Hotel in Champaign, Ill. The conference is focused on helping new teachers prepare students to compete in science, technology, engineering, math, and even the art fields in the global economy.

USGS Multimedia Gallery

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) seeks to “serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth.” While the agency provides numerous resources of interest to Scout readers, the USGS Multimedia Gallery may be particularly handy for educators looking to use audio and visual aids to galvanize lesson plans and classroom activities. The site is organized into three categories: Photography & Images, Videos & Animations, and Audio and Podcasts. Each category features hundreds of multimedia resources. For instance, selecting “View All… Collections” under Photography & Images navigates to a page where readers may choose among subcategories such as Geography, Native American and Tribal Activities, Satellite Images, and many others. Additionally, the Public Lecture Series, a collection within Videos and Animations, features a number of webinars on such topics as the Resilience Potential of Coral Reefs in the Mariana Islands and Climate Change Effects on Fisheries in the Great Lakes. [CNH]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015.

Green Lunchroom Challenge to Assist IL Schools with Food Waste Prevention, Reduction

Read the full post on the ISTC Blog.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) announces an exciting new project that addresses the challenge of food waste. In order to identify sources of food waste in K-12 schools and facilitate its prevention and reduction, ISTC, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), UI Extension, and Beyond Green Partners, Inc., is launching the Green Lunchroom Challenge this fall. Funded by US EPA Region 5, the program is open for participation from K-12 schools throughout the state. However, marketing of the program will be targeted toward underserved regions of southern Illinois, including Pulaski, Alexander, Marion, White, and Fayette counties. According to data from the ISBE, over 70 percent of K-12 students in those counties are eligible for assistance through the National School Lunch Program. By preventing and reducing food waste in these areas particularly, and throughout the state, the Challenge will not only achieve environmental benefits, but also stretch federal and state assistance and resources through increased efficiency.

Funding opp: Using Educational Networks to Increase Schools’ Adoption of Integrated Pest Management

Proposals due August 10, 2015
Download the full RFP.

The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) is soliciting proposals from eligible parties for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cooperative agreement to provide financial assistance to an eligible organization to provide education, training, resources, and technical assistance to increase Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) public and tribal schools nationwide.

Three energy videos from It’s Okay to Be Smart

From It’s Okay to Be Smart. The playlist consists of three videos.

Will We Ever Run Out of Oil?

We’ve heard news of “peak oil” and “the end of the oil age” for years now, but we keep coming up with ways to find and pump more of it to the surface. Rising CO2 levels and the changing climate that results from burning fossil fuels mean that we should probably stop using oil sooner rather than later, though.

Let’s take a look at history and see how we’ve used different fuels, so that we might figure out when and how to make oil a thing of the past.

The Essentials of Energy

The world of energy is a confusing place. What’s better, nuclear or solar? What’s the difference between fluorescent bulbs and LEDs? What’s the difference between energy and power? And what the heck is a kilowatt-hour?! In this video, we give you a tour of the essential principles behind the energy machine that puts fuel in our tanks and brings electricity to our homes. To be a good energy citizen, you need to speak the language.

The Surprising Places We Waste Energy

We use a LOT of energy, but we waste a lot too. Where that waste happens might surprise, you though. We don’t just waste energy when we leave the lights on or the thermostat cranked down too low. It happens at the dinner table and the water faucet as too!

Learn more:
Special thanks to Sheril Kirshenbaum and the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin for their help with this series. Check out their awesome online course “Energy 101” to learn about energy and energy policy from A to Z. And to find out what people think about energy, check out the UT Energy Poll

Why Are The Bees Dying? [video]

Video created by It’s Okay to Be Smart.

Bees, wild and domesticated, are in big trouble. Bee colonies are dying off at alarming rates, and the cause isn’t clear. Pesticides, habitat loss, disease… there’s a laundry list of likely culprits. We rely on these tiny pollinators for a majority of our fruits, veggies, and nuts… if they disappear, could we be next?

Links/Sources