Eagle Scout builds butterfly waystation at Carriel Jr. High

Read the full story in O’Fallon Weekly.

Braden Gaab, a freshman at O’Fallon Township High School and an Eagle Scout, has left a lasting legacy at Amelia V. Carriel Junior High in an attempt to aid in the preservation and migration of Monarch butterflies. Gaab, under the supervision of his seventh grade science teacher, Mrs. Amanda Mellenthin, created a butterfly garden and certified Monarch Waystation.

Illinois: New Law Encourages Schools to Donate Food

Read the full story from SCARCE.

For the past year SCARCE Director Kay McKeen worked with Jennifer Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council to get a state-level bill written and signed into law that would prohibit any language in school food-service contracts that prevented donation of leftover food items. The Food Donation for Schools and Public Agencies bill was signed by Gov. Rauner on July 15, 2016 and took effect immediately.

4 reasons net-zero energy should start with schools

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Can we afford to teach our children? In the U.S. we generally can agree that educating our children is important. Consensus stops there.

Whether the U.S. education system is broken, and if so, how to best fix it, is an increasingly politicized debate. Current discussions on how to improve education have focused on better teachers, better technology and more funding (which deepens the debate on who should pay for it).

But consider that each year K–12 schools spend more than $8 billion on energy — more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined. Too commonly overlooked is the opportunity to cost-effectively improve our nation’s schools and enhance student performance by tackling the performance of the very buildings in which children, faculty and staff spend more than eight hours each day.

Schools around the country find lead in water, with no easy answers

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In Portland, Ore., furious parents are demanding the superintendent’s resignation after the state’s largest public school district failed to notify them promptly about elevated lead levels detected at taps and fountains.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) has ordered lead testing at every public school in the state after dozens of schools in Newark and elsewhere were found to have lead-contaminated water supplies.

In the District, which experienced a devastating lead crisis barely a decade ago, officials last month announced plans to spend millions of dollars to install water filters and more rigorously test the city’s public schools and recreation centers after a handful were found to have unacceptable lead levels.

The ongoing crisis in Flint, Mich., has shined a spotlight on the public-health hazards that lead continues to pose in U.S. drinking water. In particular, it has led to renewed pressure to test for the problem in the nation’s schools, where millions of young children, the age group most vulnerable to lead poisoning, spend their days.

Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science

Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science presents information that is deemed important for individuals and communities to know and understand about Earth’s climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches to adaptation or mitigation.  Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide aims to promote greater climate science literacy by providing this educational framework of principles and concepts. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as a way to meet content standards in their science curricula.

White House, EPA Honor Environmental Educators and Student Award Winners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, recognized 18 teachers and 63 students from across the country for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship.  These 2015 winners and honorable mentions for the annual President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) and 2015/2016 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) were honored for their work at a ceremony today at the White House. The event included remarks from Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator; Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s Chief Senior Advisor; and John King, Secretary of Education.

“These teacher and student winners are exemplary leaders, committed to strong environmental conservation and tackling problems including landfill waste and climate change head on,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Environmental education cultivates our next generation of leaders by teaching them how to apply skills in creativity and innovation. I have no doubt that teachers and students like these will someday solve some of our most complex and important issues.”

The PIAEE awards recognize innovative environmental educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. Winning teachers led unique programs such as working with a local symphony orchestra to create music inspired by nature, raising horseshoe crabs, researching the impact of surface coal mining on salamander diversity, forming a job shadowing program, and starting an international collaboration with a school in Taiwan.

The PEYA awards recognize outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. Student projects featured activities such as creating a new eco-friendly fertilizer, restoring and conserving local habitats, promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods, analyzing the impact of solar panel installation, exploring a new water pollution mitigation method, and analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.

For information on environmental education at EPA, visit:
https://www.epa.gov/education.

For details on the new PIAEE winners, visit:
http://www2.epa.gov/education/presidential-innovation-award-environmental-educators-piaee-winners

For details on the new PEYA winners, visit:
http://www2.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award-peya-winners

When it comes to saving energy, it’s really not all about the money

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

recent psychological study has provided suggestive evidence that when people decide to take steps to use less energy at home, and so to protect the environment, they don’t merely do so because they want to save a little bit of cash on their electricity bills. If anything, it suggests, some forms of materialistic or competitive thinking may inhibit deep or long-lasting conservation attitudes.