February 2017 EE Update
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ACNW Environmental Education News

April 4, 2017

Dear Charter School Leaders, EE Contacts, Teachers, and Board Members,

With both Earth Day and Arbor Day coming up in April, it’s a great time to get students out in the community to learn about ways to protect the environment or to give back by volunteering at a cleanup event. What are you doing during Earth Week at your school? Please let me know what you’ve got planned! We’d love to see pictures of your students building their connection and commitment to the environment.

In addition, ACNW is partnering with the Minnesota DNR to host a Project WILD training workshop for educators in ACNW authorized charter schools on Saturday, April 29 at Northern Lights Charter School in Warba. This full day workshop (6 CEUs) is FREE to attend and will include training in the Project WILD curriculum, complimentary copies of all curriculum, and lunch. Registration information is included in this update.

Finally, join us this August for the ACNW Teacher Workshop August 9-11, 2017. This year you’ll discover what cool things your fellow teachers are doing in their schools, explore in-depth a set of guidelines for K-12 environmental education, and learn to facilitate challenging conversations about the environment with your students. The workshop will be held at the Audubon Center in Sandstone. ACNW expects that each school will send one teacher, and will cover the cost (meals and lodging) of up to two teachers. Registration information is included in this update.


Erin E. Anderson
Environmental Education Evaluator
ACNW Charter School Division
43 Main Street SE, Suite 507
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-4181


The ACNW Teacher Workshop is back for a third year! The last two summers have been so successful, and generated so many good ideas, we’ve added a second night. This year, the workshop is designed to specifically address issues and questions we’ve heard directly from teachers over the last two years. We’ll dig into environmental literacy, linking it to standards and instructional materials, find new ways to facilitate challenging conversations with students, parents, and staff, and connect you with teachers in other ACNW schools who are finding new and innovative ways to create environmentally literate students. We are looking forward to another great workshop!
  • Date: Wednesday, August 9 (check-in at 11:00 AM) through Friday, August 11 (end at 1:00 PM)
  • Where: Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone
  • Who: K-12 teachers in ACNW authorized schools
  • Cost: ACNW expects that each school will send at least one teacher. ACNW will cover the cost (meals and lodging) of up to two teachers. Additional attendees may participate as space allows at $180/person.
  • Pre-registration is required by July 21, 2017. Register online.

ACNW is partnering with the Minnesota DNR to host a Project WILD training workshop for educators in ACNW authorized charter schools on Saturday, April 29. This full day workshop (6 CEUs) is FREE to attend and will include training in the Project WILD curriculum, a discussion about implementing the program in the classroom, and lunch. Complimentary copies of all curriculum will be provided to each participant. There is no limit on the number of teachers who can attend from each school. CEUs will be provided, and pre-registration is required by Monday, April 17.
  • Date: Saturday, April 29 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • WhereNorthern Lights Community School, Warba
  • Who: Teachers in ACNW authorized schools
  • Cost: FREE
  • Pre-registration is required. Register online by Friday, April 14, or email Erin for more information.
Please share this resource with the teachers in your school and other educators who may be interested in attending.

Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife. Designed for educators of K-12 students, Project WILD capitalizes on the natural interest that children and adults have in wildlife by providing hands-on activities. Project WILD is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Program. Workshops introduce Project WILD materials to teachers and other environmental educators. 

ACNW partnered with a small group of metro area schools to apply for a micro-grant from USGBC Minnesota to launch a citizen science project. In this project, 5-7 sites in the metro area will compare Journey North’s tulip test gardens to learn if their sites are affected by the metro area’s urban heat island. This simple experiment can directly address complex issues like climate change for both advanced and early learners. This project is an excellent “onion,” providing many layers that will apply in multiple classrooms. If your school is interested in participating as a test garden site or if you have questions about the project, please contact Erin.

The BEETLES project out of the University of California focuses on how learning happens and how educators can make learning happen. Research has established that learning builds on prior knowledge, is an active process, is based on a complex social environment and is situated in an authentic context. Effective educators are student-centered, focus on exploration and discovery, encourage the sharing of ideas and discussion, make connections with new and prior knowledge, and struggle with multiple perspectives in order to gain a more complete understanding. Learn more and access resources and training.

Friends of the Mississippi River offers a variety of indoor and outdoor programs to support educators and outing leaders who want to connect their students or group members with the Mississippi River, each designed to address state academic standards. FMR offers one hour indoor programs and 90 minute to two hour outdoor programs. To learn more and see what programs are available, visit the FMR website.
The Minnesota School Forest Program is a partnership between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota schools. The program provides a variety of benefits to increase outdoor education activities. The DNR provides a wide variety of benefits to support and promote school participation in outdoor and natural resource activities, such as program staff support, educational materials, grant opportunities, and teacher workshops. The Minnesota School Forest Program is seeking schools that are interested in a long-term commitment to natural resource and outdoor education. Contact School Forest Program staff for more information about how to get started!

The Minnesota Green Schools Coalition brings together the state’s strongest advocates for our children to create a Minnesota infrastructure of green schools – healthy, high-performing schools that are conducive to learning while saving energy, resources, and money. Membership is FREE and open to any teacher or school interested in participating. To join or to learn more, visit the GSC website.
Grant Writing Clinics
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is holding grant writing clinics throughout the state in 2017. Attendees will gain a foundation in grant writing and a variety of other skills. Grant writing for beginners, which is designed for participants with less than a year of grant writing experience, will be offered on March 16, May 25, July 11, and September 13. Clinics on advanced grant writing will be offered on April 20, July 27, and November 9. Learn more and register.

Carton 2 Garden Spring 2017 Contest
Show your students’ creativity by re-purposing milk and juice cartons from your school cafeteria to either build or enhance your school garden. The Carton 2 Garden Spring 2017 Contest allows educators to engage students in a hands-on experience that creates teachable moments on environmental stewardship, sustainable packaging, and healthy living. Fourteen schools with the most unique carton creations will be selected to win award packages. Entries are due Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

Seeds for Education Grant Program
Wild Ones offers assistance for all aspects of schoolyard enhancement projects, such as butterfly gardens, nature trails, and wildflower planting. Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds. Wild Ones can help schools locate experts and information specific to its area. Applicants must submit an electronic application by October 15, 2017. Notification of awards will be made by February 15, 2018. Learn more or download application instructions.
GetEdFunding is a curated collection of grants and awards created by education professionals for education professionals. Its database was designed to be easy-to-use and reliable, and all grant and funding opportunities are updated daily. Users can search by multiple criteria, including 43 areas of focus, 8 content areas, and 14 twenty-first century themes and skills, including environmental literacy. Once registered on the site, users can save grants of interest and return to them at any time.
FREE Green STEM Course
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) offers an online course on Green STEM. NWF defines Green STEM as the "marriage between traditional STEM and environment-based education." This online course is meant to introduce teachers to the concept of utilizing Green STEM in their classrooms and is based on the Green STEM Guidebook. Join an online, self-paced, professional development course to design your own Green STEM learning experiences! There are five modules which take approximately eight hours to complete. The current session opened March 6 and closes on May 1, 2017. The summer session will open on July 10.

FREE Green Teacher Webinars
Green Teacher'upcoming webinars are an interactive way for educators to continue learning about key environmental topics. These professional development webinar series feature some of the most important thinkers in the field of environmental education addressing vital and relevant topics. Registration is FREE and teachers can obtain a certificate upon completion. Visit the Green Teacher website to register, or access their archive of past webinars.
  • April 12: Time to Depave Paradise?
  • September 27: Best Practices in School Gardens
  • October 25: Eco-System Monitoring Programs
FREE Project Learning Tree (PLT) Workshops
Minnesota PLT exists to advance student understanding and knowledge of forestry and natural resources by developing and delivering professional development resources for Minnesota educators. PLT's lessons use forests as a "window on the world," where trees, land, air, water, and wildlife help students excel in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. These engaging, hands-on lessons have been developed by hundreds of educators and natural resource experts from around the country. Teachers and educators attend PLT workshops to get PLT activity guides and professional development CEUs. Inquiry in the Upper Midwest Library of Congress Workshops
The Inquiry in the Upper Midwest Grant is funding workshops focusing on teaching with primary sources and Library of Congress resources. The workshops are open to current K-12 classroom teachers, including all elementary teachers, who teach social studies in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Registration is limited to 25 participants at each workshop. Teams from the same school are encouraged to register!

Workshops are free, but registration is required. All participants who attend the full workshop receive a stipend, lunch, and CEUs. For more information, contact Jessica Ellison. 2017 Citizen Science Association Conference
The 2017 Citizen Science Association Conference will be held May 17-20 in Saint Paul! The conference provides a venue for citizen science researchers, practitioners, community members, and theorists to come together and share knowledge and best practices in the interest of advancing the field of citizen science. Educators engaging in citizen science in their classroom are encouraged to attend and take advantage of the workshops, events, and networking opportunities offered during the conference. More information about registration, hotels, and travel can be found on the conference’s website.

Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
Join Climate Generation for its 12th annual Summer Institute, designed to guide teachers through challenges connected to teaching about climate change, and help teachers gain the confidence and competence to bring this relevant topic to today’s youth. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts from the University of Minnesota on their climate science research, engage with hands-on activities, and learn about how Climate Generation curriculum supports language arts, social studies, and science standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards. Click here to read more and to sign up.
  • Date: June 26-28, 2017
  • Who: Classroom teachers or non-formal educators interested in training and resources that support standards
  • Where: Institute on Environment, University of Minnesota - St. Paul Campus
  • Cost: $150 participation fee, which covers meals, materials, and experiences. Additional fees for lodging, field trips, and additional curricular materials.
Register online, or contact Megan Van Loh for more information.
Voyageurs National Park Association Seeks National Park Teen Ambassadors
Voyageurs National Park Association’s National Park Teen Ambassador program is a free, outdoor education program that introduces high school students to two national park sites in Minnesota and sparks a love for conservation and the outdoors. The program fosters thoughtful environmental stewardship and facilitates college preparedness through two summer immersion trips at Voyageurs National Park and on the Mississippi River. Curriculum focuses on leadership and critical thinking, wildlife and science, land and water conservation, and environmental career opportunities.

This program serves a diverse group of 30 Minnesota teens, primarily from low-income communities in the Twin Cities metro area and Voyageurs National Park’s neighboring communities. Applications to participate in the 2017 summer program are due May 1.
Copyright © 2017 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Department, All rights reserved.

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