December 2016 EE Update
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ACNW Environmental Education News

December 7, 2016 

Dear Charter School Leaders, EE Coordinators, Teachers and Board Members,
Welcome to winter! Even though it keeps melting, I am delighted every time I see flakes falling. It’s an excellent time of year for finding animal signs, identifying wildflowers, and spotting winter birds. I hope you have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy it, even as the days grow shorter.
You might have noticed there wasn’t a November EE Update this year. I spent the latter half of October and much of November visiting both ACNW-authorized schools and some green schools in and around Madison, WI, as well as attending the North American Association for Environmental Education Conference (NAAEE). It was a great learning opportunity, and I look forward to sharing with you some of the things I learned over the next few months. This month, see work from a recycled arts class at East Range Academy of Technology and Science in Eveleth.
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.


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


East Range Academy of Technology and Science (ERATS) is located in Eveleth, MN. The school serves approximately 135 students in Grades 9-12. East Range Academy’s school environment and curriculum are designed and managed to have a strong science and environmental education base in which students interact and learn from environmentally focused curriculum and staff. Students gain knowledge and awareness of environmental concerns though daily lessons and a school culture centered on environmental awareness. In addition to science classes, teachers in other curricular areas, such as English, Ojibwe, Art, Geography, and Social Studies have embedded and incorporated EE lessons and curriculum.

One art class offered at ERATS is Recycled Art, where students create 2D and 3D art constructed of recycled materials and materials generally thrown in the garbage. Through this class, students learn about the environment through visual arts, make connections between materials, art, and their communities, and discover the importance of school-wide recycling. One project students worked on this year was creating mosaics from cardboard and paper, which were then displayed in the school.
For more information about ERATS’s environmental education program, contact Shane Walters, Dean of Students and Environmental Education Coordinator.
In partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center, the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street exhibition “Water/Ways” is open at the Audubon Center! The exhibit explores the centrality of water in people’s lives, while also serving as a community meeting place to convene conversations about water’s impact on American culture and to engage citizens in exhibits, public programs and educational activities. Contact the Center to schedule your trip, or learn more by visiting the events page on the website.
The School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP) was developed to quantify both food waste and related wastes (e.g. recyclables, landfill) generated in cafeterias at K-12 schools. The project aims to gather information regarding the quantity of waste generated in school cafeterias and obtain an understanding of how this waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away.
Would you be willing to help? SCrAP is looking for participating schools that want to make the environment cleaner and greener while at the same time educating students. Watch this short video to learn more about the SCrAP Program and visit the website to register your school. Participating schools can submit their questionnaires through the end of March 2017.
The American Meteorological Society offers a variety of professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers, including two all-expenses paid summer workshops for hands-on learning in Earth science: Project Atmosphere and the Maury Project. Project Atmosphere explores meteorology and the atmospheric sciences, and the Maury Project investigates the physical foundations of oceanography. The deadline to apply to one or both programs is March 27, 2017. To apply or learn more, visit the AMS website.
Note: If selected to participate, one of the requirements is to promote the teaching of program content locally, including a minimum of two training sessions for K-12 teachers upon completion of the workshop. ACNW would be more than happy to help you arrange training for teachers in ACNW-authorized schools or a presentation at the ACNW EE Teacher Workshop next August.

Oregon voters approved Measure 99, a measure that makes Oregon the first state to allocate state funding for the purpose of outdoor education. Legislators gave voters the choice of whether or not to allocate $22 million from the state lottery Economic Development Fund to give all students in the state a chance to participate. The measure passed with 65% of the vote. Learn more about this impressive win for environmental education.
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.

UMN Monarch Lab School Garden Grants
The U of M Monarch Lab started its garden grant program in 2005. Schools can design their own garden, enhance an existing garden, or better use an existing garden through the purchase of equipment, plants, or curriculum. Learn more or apply online. Applications are due by December 16, 2016.

Celebrate Urban Birds Mini-Grants
Every year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology invites organizations, educators, and youth to apply for mini-grants to help fund creative neighborhood events and activities. Proposals should integrate the arts, greening, birds and community involvement. All mini-grant applicants are offered training to support their events (even if their proposals are not funded). Organizations working with underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply. No experience with birding needed. Mini-grants average $100 to $750. The application is short and simple, and requires no previous grant writing experience. To learn more, visit the Celebrate Urban Birds website or apply online. Applications are due by December 31, 2016.

Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers provides educators the resources and funding they need to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. Funding for Teachers grant awards support a variety of projects, all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students, and school communities. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $22 million in nearly 6,000 teachers. Learn more about how to apply online, or RSVP for the next info session webinar on December 14, 2016 at 6:30 PM. Applications are due by January 31, 2017.

Lowes Toolbox for Education Grants
The Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program is funded by the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, and supports grassroots community and school projects in the communities where Lowe’s does business. The Spring 2017 grant cycle will open on December 18, 2016 and close on February 9, 2017. Visit the website to learn more about past grant recipients, view sample projects, and download a pre-application checklist.

FREE Teacher Workshop: Teaching Outdoors in Winter
The snow season is finally upon us, and learning outdoors in winter is exciting! It's not too late to register for the fun of a Jeffers Foundation workshop – “Learn to Love Winter and Teach Outdoors.” Activities are multidisciplinary, standards-based, and combine journaling with winter activities such as snow science, animal tracking, show-shoeing, and the physics of sledding. Teachers are eligible to receive Jeffers Journals for their students and various other classroom supplies. Donuts, hot drinks, and lunch are provided, as well as CEUs.
  • DATE: Saturday, 7 January 2017 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Who: K-8 classroom teachers
  • Where: McColl Pond ELC in Savage, MN
  • Cost: FREE, but pre-registration is required.
  • To register or learn more, contact David Grack via email or at (763) 684-1455.

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.

Green Strides Webinar Series
The Green Strides Webinar Series provides school communities with tools to reduce their schools' environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach effective environmental education. Sign up for Green Strides Webinar Series email updates to receive information on future webinars and view past webinars

Upcoming webinars:
  • December 7: 3 T’s for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools (EPA)
  • December 8: Keep on Growing: Garden Ideas for Indoors (Chartwells)
  • December 15: Energy Star and Green Building Rating Systems (EPA)
  • December 20: Exploring Exoplanets Using Math (NASA)
  • January 18: Deep Sea Science in the Classroom (NOAA)

FREE Green Teacher Webinars
Green Teacher's 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.
  • February 1: Place-based Education
  • February 20: The Power of Positive, Inspiring Solutions

Beyond Benign 
Beyond Benign is a nonprofit that is dedicated to providing future and current scientists, educators, and citizens with the tools to teach and learn about green chemistry to create a sustainable future. The organization offers professional development, education, and online training for educators to teach them about green chemistry and how to implement it in their classrooms. Educators can access and download a variety of materials from Beyond Benign’s website including curricular materials for middle and high school classrooms.

Facing the Future
Facing the Future is creating tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curriculum is organized around eight sustainability big ideas:
  • Connecting with Nature
  • Equity and Justice
  • Health and Resiliency
  • Local to Global
  • Peace and Collaboration
  • Respect for Limits
  • Universal Responsibility
Facing the Future curriculum materials and resources are available for K-12 teachers, teachers in colleges of education, and for some community college and undergraduate classes. All materials are developed for teachers, by teachers, with best teaching and learning practices in mind and are aligned with Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and most state standards frameworks.

Learning Lab
Learning Lab provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action. A product of the U.S. Green Building Council’s The Center for Green Schools, the website is a portal to lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to standards and were created with educators, for educators.
Copyright © 2016 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Department, All rights reserved.

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