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ACNW Environmental Education News

January 6, 2016

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

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is keeping warm and enjoying the cold, clear Minnesota winter. Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside – there’s lots of fun ways to learn in, with, and about the environment, even when the drifts are high. (Or when it's raining, given how warm it's been this year!) On a related note please join us on Saturday, February 20 from 9:00-4:00 at the Audubon Center (in Sandstone) for a Flying WILD teacher workshop. Details about this event, and other learning opportunities, are below.

As always, please keep in touch! Do you have insights to share? Are you doing something really cool related to EE at your school? Are you struggling to implement a certain aspect of your contractual goals? Let me know! I’d be delighted to highlight your successes, and happy to be a thought partner in tackling your challenges.

Sincerely,

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

RECYCLE ACROSS AMERICA

Recycle Across America has created a toolkit to help businesses and schools create successful recycling programs. Currently, national recycling levels are at 21.4% and falling (Yale University and U.S. EPA study released 10/2015). The U.S. generates more than 250 million tons of trash per day, but we have the ability to reuse 85%+ of those materials. It's critical to recycle more, recycle right, and help students, staff, and faculty understand the ins and outs of recycling in our community. Review the toolkit and reach out to your waste hauler, county environmental services, the Recycling Association of Minnesota, or other nonprofits across the state to learn more or improve your school’s recycling and waste reduction program.
ZERO WASTE FOR SCHOOLS
 
Colorado’s Green Star Schools are a model for waste reduction and recycling in the classroom setting. This article, Zero Waste for Schools (via Green Schools National Network) outlines the process for creating and sustaining an effective waste reduction program at your school, including helpful tips for recycling, composting, and activities to engage students and staff in reducing school waste.
ACNW ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION STAFF TRAINING
 
ACNW staff will visit during teacher professional development to provide context for implementing the school’s EE goals in conjunction with a site visit or other PD opportunity. The presentation walks through what ACNW is and why we authorize schools, outlines our authorizing responsibilities, and focuses on understanding the role of EE in the contract and how schools can carry out those goals. We typically request 60 minutes, including time to reflect on the school’s EE goals and discuss them in teams.
 
Please contact Erin for more information or to schedule a session. We look forward to the opportunity to meet your faculty and staff.
CASE STUDY: GOOD SHEPHERD EPISCOPAL SCHOOL
 
At Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Richmond, VA, students on the LEGO Robotics team recognized a need for a composting program in their school’s cafeteria. Through research and outreach to the school community, students led an effort to build support, educate students and staff, and promote stewardship. This profile examines how students identified a need and worked together to find a solution.
TEENAGE INDIGENOUS HIP-HOP ARTIST TACKLES CLIMATE CHANGE
 
Youth around the world are doing great work to tackle the challenges facing their, and future, generations. In July, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 15-year-old environmental activist and Youth Director of Earth Guardians, spoke to the United Nations to urge the world’s leaders to take action on climate change, framing it as a human rights crisis impacting developing countries as a disproportionate rate. (View the powerful short video here.) To learn more about his work as an activist, read his interview in Rolling Stone.
RESOLVE TO STOP WISH CYCLING
 
Have you ever tossed an item into a recycling bin that you were not 100 percent sure was recyclable, just wishing it would be alright? Many items are recyclable, but some items that are tempting to throw in your recycling bin are actually problematic at recycling facilities. These can damage equipment or contaminate other materials, lowering the value of recyclables. The StarTribune identified some problematic items, and Rethink Recycling offers a guide for other common questions. Be sure to check with your local waste hauler, city, or county to confirm what’s recyclable in your area.
WASTE REDUCTION STRATEGIES FOR EACH DEPARTMENT WITHIN YOUR SCHOOL 

This useful waste reduction strategies website, presented by California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), provides tips, ideas, suggestions, and resources for school districts looking to reduce waste across the board – from administration to personnel. CalRecyle also offers tips for schools looking to implement zero-waste lunch programs. The information presented can be applied in schools throughout the U.S.
AFSA HIGH SCHOOL SEEKING SCIENCE FAIR JUDGES
 
AFSA High School, an ACNW-authorized school in Vadnais Heights, is seeking judges for their upcoming science fair. If you are able to volunteer, please visit the school’s website to register. (The link is on the front page of the site.)
  • January 14, 2016: Grades 7-9; Hours are from 3:30-6:30 or 4:30-7:30.
  • January 21, 2016 – Grades 10-12; hours are from 3:30-6:30 or 4:30-7:30.
The school will train all judges at the beginning of each session. 
MINNESOTA GREEN SCHOOLS COALITION
 
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.
GRANTS
 
Captain Planet Foundation Offers Grants for Hands-On Environmental Education Activities
The Captain Planet Foundation offers grants to bring environment-based education to schools and to inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. The foundation will fund unique and innovative projects that do not precisely match the grant guidelines but otherwise promote the foundation’s mission of hands-on environmental activities. Learn more and apply online. Applications are due January 31, 2016.
 
Toshiba America Foundation
The Toshiba America Foundation gives grants to teachers in K-12 schools to help them teach math and science in innovative ways. Applications are for project-based learning only and must be completed online. Grant applications for grades 6-12 that are $5,000 or less are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year, while grants exceeding $5,000 are reviewed twice a year. The next deadline for these grants is February 1, 2016.

Hennepin County School Recycling Grants
Funding is available for projects that implement or improve recycling and organics recycling programs in schools. The County’s funding priorities include recycling organic waste and recycling and waste reduction improvement and innovation. Learn more about the school recycling grants online. Applicants are encouraged to contact Kira Berglund, School Recycling Specialist, at (612) 596-1498 or via email to discuss their project before applying. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on February 26, 2016.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
Launched in 2010, the mission of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is to donate salad bars to U.S. schools so every child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This grant program is an equipment grant. Grantees receive an actual salad bar and the training needed to implement a school salad bar program successfully. Interested schools should have their food services director complete the application and be the point of contact.
 
More School Garden Grants
The Jeffers Foundation has compiled a list of grants that are available to help you start or maintain a school garden. They have identified 13 opportunities with deadlines from now through early January.
 
USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative
The USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative offers a listing of funding sources for scaling up local and regional food systems and strengthening economies. The website lists over two dozen programs at USDA that can help build local and regional food systems, including funding for farm to school programs.
 
EE Mission Match Funds
ACNW offers up to $500.00 annually to each authorized school to help achieve your environmental education goals. FY16 funds will be available beginning on July 1, 2015. Schools can apply for these funds each year of their contract. Funds may be used to buy equipment, provide a match for an EE-related grant, hire a presenter, or pay for a field trip to the Audubon Center or any other EE-based location of your choice.
 
To apply for these funds:
  1. Download the application from the CSD website. Your project must be pre-approved before you can receive funding.
  2. Complete the application and return to Erin.
Once approved, funds will be released to your school only AFTER an invoice or other proof of payment is received. Our Business Manager is diligent in sending out funds within 5-10 business days. Proof of fund use is a requirement of the Audubon Center audit and funds will not be released without this.
UPCOMING DATES

Project WILD Workshop
The Audubon Center of the North Woods is hosting a Flying WILD & One Bird Two Worlds Teacher Workshop on Saturday, February 20. Flying WILD, a program of the Council for Environmental Education, introduces students in grades 5-9 to bird conservation through classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. Registration includes lunch, curriculum guides, and 6 CEUs. FREE Project Learning Tree Workshop
The Audubon Center of the North Woods is hosting a Project Learning Tree Teacher Workshop on Saturday, February 27. Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers working with youth in Grades PreK-12. This workshop is sponsored by the Twin Cities chapter of ICOHH, and will provide lunch in addition to curriculum guides and 5 CEUs.
  • When: Saturday, February 27 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Where: Audubon Center of the North Woods
  • Fee: FREE, but pre-registration is required
  • Register online
  • For more information, contact Laura Duffey at (651) 259-5263 or by email.
FREE Green Teacher Winter Webinars
Green Teacher's upcoming webinars are an interactive way for educators to continue learning about key environmental topics. These professional development webinar series features some of the most important thinkers in the field of environmental education addressing vital and relevant topics. Winter topics include:
  • Fostering Leadership for Sustainability;
  • How to be a Better Teacher-Naturalist;
  • Collecting Field Data on Local Birds with Elementary Students; and
  • Remote Cameras in Environmental Education.
Registration is FREE and one can obtain a certificate upon completion. Visit the Green Teacher website to register.

FREE Workshop for Teaching Pre-K Astronomy
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is offering a free My Sky Tonight workshop to bring the excitement of astronomy to pre-K children and their families. The workshop will take place online March 7 - April 15, 2016. Each participant will receive a free toolkit of hands-on astronomy activities designed for 3- to 5-year-old children. The goal of this workshop is to provide educators with the opportunity to learn methods of engaging young children and their families in activities related to astronomy, including some of the stepping stones to astronomy, such as exploring near versus far, and observing changing shadows. Applications are due by February 1, 2016. Learn more or apply online.
RESOURCES

Grades of Green
Grades of Green presents facts, statistics, ideas, and activities to help schools start a recycling and/or composting program. You will need to create an account on the website to access the full complement of activities and free tools available.
 
Stop Waste
Although developed to meet California-based standards, Stop Waste provides lessons and projects that can easily be adapted for use in Minnesota. The site offers resources and information on preventing waste and recycling including case studies, activities and projects, lesson plans, and videos.
 
Go Green Waste Reduction Lessons and Materials
This website contains a variety of materials developed by schools in Alameda, CA to teach and promote waste reduction. Resources include lunch waste sorting lesson plans and handouts, recycling posters, and waste-free party kit information.
 
Center for Health and the Global Environment K-12 Education Program
The Center for Health and the Global Environment’s K-12 Education Program encourages environmental education within the context of global perspectives and human health. On this website, teachers can find lesson plans, videos, multimedia tools, and a wealth of other resources that address topics such as biodiversity and human health; climate, energy, and health; healthy oceans; and healthy and sustainable food. The site also offers professional development opportunities around energy, climate, biodiversity, oceans, food, and health.
 
Copyright © 2016 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Department, All rights reserved.


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