Category: K-12

What does it mean for students to be environmentally literate in 2021?

Read the full story from WNIJ.

Students no longer see environmental issues like climate change as a future threat. They look at raging wildfires and massive power outages and see an active crisis.

That’s one reason the Illinois Environmental Education Association just rewrote their environmental literacy framework for the first time in a decade.

How a focus on nature is changing therapy for kids

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Nature-deficit disorder,” a concept introduced by journalist and author Richard Louv in 2005, underscores the importance of access to green spaces. A growing number of studies indicate that exposure to nature benefits kids in different ways, such as by lowering stress and promoting better cognitive development.

Ecotherapy — also called nature therapy or green therapy — goes further by encouraging structured, purposeful interactions with nature to improve mental health. “You’re bringing an aspect of mindfulness and intentionality to being outdoors,” says Amy Lajiness, an ecotherapist and psychotherapist in San Diego who counsels adolescents, adults and families.

Webinar series: 21st Century Schools: Cleaner and Greener

Learn how to decarbonize P-12 schools over time to support a healthy, energy efficient, indoor environment.

  • Part 1: Setting up the Roadmap (Nov 10, 2021 – 11 am-noon CST)
  • Part 2: Goal Setting and Stories of Success (Dec 8, 2021 – 11 am-noon CST)
  • Part 3: Setting Up Documentation to Guide Carbon Neutral Construction (Jan12, 2022 – 11 am-noon CST)

Getting to zero carbon in K-12 schools can seem an insurmountable goal, but a “Zero Over Time” approach that leverages naturally occurring events over the building’s lifecycle can cost effectively reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. This involves capitalizing on events like new construction, modernizations, system retrofits, and equipment replacement as they happen. School districts have proven that ambitious energy and carbon goals are achievable within existing budget and staffing limitations. Building on a successful cohort model where dozens of districts joined NBI to prepare for rapidly advancing legislation and policy – this series will lay the groundwork for district success to 2050 and beyond.

Schools wishing to attend will have their registration fee covered. Please email reilly@newbuildings.org to receive your comp code.

Cost for non-school district attendees will be $60 for the series.

Register here to attend.

Schools collaborate on the roadmap to zero carbon

Read the full story from the New Buildings Institute.

As we witness the consequences of rapid, widespread and intensifying climate change, our students face the prospect of worsening impacts in the world they will inherit. Students are demanding a more hopeful and sustainable future and are also asking for better environments than the aging, unhealthy, and underfunded school buildings where they currently learn. This is inspiring school districts to address health, student experience, and carbon emissions from schools in a holistic way. As a major form of public infrastructure that spans buildings, land, and bus fleets, school systems offer an opportunity for emissions reductions that also positively impact the health, wellness, and resiliency potential of entire communities.

The Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community

Read the full post at the GCI Nexus blog. I’m a proud member of the leadership committee for this project.

My name is Dr. Jonathon Moir and I am thrilled to be writing to you today as the new Program Manager for the Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCTLC). The GCTLC—an online platform set to launch in 2023—is a joint initiative announced in December by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and Beyond Benign that will help revolutionize the way green chemistry educational resources are shared and further catalyze collaboration, networking and mentorship among educators, students, industry stakeholders and community members.

In Baltimore schools, cutting food waste as a lesson in climate awareness and environmental literacy

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

America wastes up to 40 percent of its food, and schools are no exception. Teaching students where food comes from is part of the solution.

Study finds natural outdoor spaces are less common at schools

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

Spending time in nature can have mental, physical and social benefits for children. While schools offer a chance for students of all backgrounds to get outside in nature, researchers from North Carolina State University found natural spaces like woods or gardens were relatively rare in a small sample of elementary and middle schools in Wake County.

Published in the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, the study found that for schools that did have green natural spaces, teachers played a key role in helping kids experience and enjoy those natural areas.

Environmental Justice: Evaluating Zip Codes And Pollution Burdens

View the full lesson plan for grades 9-12.

In this activity, you will use open data sets about environmental exposure and demographics to look for geographic connections between polluting industries, different types of communities, and human health impacts. Then you will explore how communities use the power of data to advocate for accountability and change. Finally, you will take your own action for environmental justice by uniting the power of data with the amplifiers of storytelling and social media.

Youth engagement in environmental health research showcased in podcast

Read the full story at Environmental Factor.

A new NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health podcast titled “Engaging Youth in Research” highlights exciting outreach efforts by James Nolan and Jessica Cabrera, who are affiliated with the institute-funded Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

Cicadas during COVID-19 are a ‘golden moment’ for science education

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The Brood X cicadas that have swarmed parts of the United States in recent weeks emerge every 17 years, which scientists believe could be a survival tactic that helps them avoid matching their predators’ life cycles.

For science teachers around the country who live and work in the regions where the periodical cicadas have come out this year, the timing is perfect: After a year of virtual lessons, flagging student engagement, and ongoing stress, a real-life science lesson has crawled out of the ground—and started singing.

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