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ACNW Environmental Education News

May 14, 2015 

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

We had a great time seeing everyone’s Earth Day photos, posts, and activities as they popped up on local media, school websites, and Facebook pages. But being green one day out of 365 won't cut it. We need to protect and nurture the planet every day of the year. Here's a quick list from the Green Schools National Network of what teachers, staff and students can do every day that will mean a healthier, more sustainable Earth:

  1. Turn off lights – Be sure to turn off lights and unplug equipment not in use. Your school will save energy and money!
  2. Reduce, reuse, recycle – Reducing the amount of waste generated or reusing waste paper and other items has a positive impact.
  3. Carpool to school – Ask students to ask their parents about car-pooling, and suggest that teachers and staff do the same!
  4. Water it down! – Reduce the use of water, whether it's watering the school garden or washing lab equipment.
  5. Choose organic – By eating foods not grown with toxic pesticides and fertilizer, you're saving the planet with every bite! 

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

CHARTER SCHOOL EE PROGRAM TONIGHT

Charter School Wilderness and Outdoors Program
Face to Face Academy, a charter high school in Saint Paul, is hosting a FREE event celebrating the school's Wilderness and Outdoors Program. Learn more about this innovative program that received a Best Practice Award through its designation as a High Quality Charter School by the Minnesota Department of Education.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION SURVEY

ACNW has updated the EE survey for 2014-15. An Epicenter compliance task for the EE survey will appear in your queue on Friday, May 15. Completed surveys are due by June 30. Schools that are in renewal this year will not be required to complete the EE survey this spring. Please let me know if you have questions about how to complete the survey or what information is requested.
"TRASH ON YOUR BACK" FIVE DAY CHALLENGE

It's certainly a wake-up call when you have to tote your personal trash on your back for five days. Challenge your students to carry their trash on their back for five days to raise awareness of how much waste they really produce. Sign up or learn more by visiting the Trash On Your Back Challenge website. If you decide to participate, let us know how it goes! We’d love to see pictures, and it’d be a great opportunity to gather some data for reporting on your EE goals.
ENDANGERED SPECIES DAY
 
Endangered Species Day is a celebration of our nation's wildlife and open spaces. Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people across all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation's disappearing wildlife and last remaining open space. Visit the Endangered Species Day website to find activity ideas for inside and out of the classroom. For information specific to Minnesota, visit the FWS website.
EVERY KID IN A PARK

The National Park Foundation has come up with an innovative program to get youngsters into the great outdoors. Every Kid in a Park is a new initiative to get 4th graders and their families to experience our national parks, the places that are home to our country's natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture – free of charge. Every Kid in a Park passes will soon be available. This pass will give your students free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!
BEACH TRASH MASTERPIECES

A common misconception about environmental education is it happens only in science – which is just not true! For Hong Kong Soup: 1826 (the number refers to the metric tons of plastic added to the city’s landfills each day), Britain-based artist Mandy Barker photographed plastic from Hong Kong beaches and layered her images to create stunning views of trash. View the images and learn more about ocean waste at the Smithsonian Magazine website.
EE MISSION MATCH FUNDS
 
ACNW offers up to $500.00 annually to each authorized school to help achieve your environmental education goals. 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. Schools can apply for these funds each year of their contract.
 
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.
GREEN YOUR EVENTS
 
Seeking to go green and achieve low waste with your upcoming events? Schools can receive free, customized assistance from Hennepin County. Staff can help you create waste reduction plans, educate vendors, train volunteers and provide collection options. Even if you’re not located in Hennepin County, access the following free event planning resources:
  • Recycling containers that can be borrowed for free to add recycling and organics recycling to events;
  • Event recycling and waste reduction guide with steps to take before, during, and after the event to make your green event efforts a success; and
  • Green event resources, including signage and sample letters, to send to your vendors and presenters.
For more information, contact Carolyn Collopy at (612) 596-0993.
GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only a fraction of registered chemicals have gone through complete testing for human health concerns. Protect your health and the health of your students, faculty, and the environment by making your own cleaning products with simple, less-toxic ingredients. Many common household products, such as baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and liquid dish soap, can make effective and inexpensive cleaners. See the updated Green Cleaning Recipes brochure for recipes to use throughout your school.
UPCOMING DATES
 
Mapping the Journey With GIS
The ‘Mapping the Journey’ workshop will inspire and train participants to use spatial thinking and ArcGIS Online to support experiential, place-based, environmental education. Participants will finish the workshop with inspiration, skills, confidence, and materials to integrate spatial thinking and ArcGIS Online into experiential, place-based work with students – both in the field and in the classroom. To maximize the relevance to teaching, technical and GIS-specific knowledge will be taught in the context of its application to this particular educational approach, although the skills are transferable to other approaches. $200 participant stipends are available. View the workshop flyer. National Science Teachers Association's STEM Forum and Expo
The 2015 STEM Forum, May 20-23 in Minneapolis, is a unique, focused event that brings together (informal and formal) educators and exhibiting companies who are interested in, and/or who have tools and resources to share that will ensure successful implementation of STEM education into our schools and communities. It is intended to provide resources for educators and organizations seeking to learn more about STEM education, associated outreach programs, partnerships, schools, and curricula. Can’t make it? Follow the conversation on Twitter: #STEMforum or #NSTA.

Great Lakes Aquarium Science Institute for Educators Field Day
This FREE six-hour field day will focus on collecting data on invasive species and lake sturgeon. Field day workshops feature hands-on learning with local scientist in rivers and lakes around Duluth, tools and tips for designing field excursions with students, and local environmental education resource centers and supporting mentors. Earn six CEUs. Participants will need to pack a lunch and provide their own transportation.
  • When: Saturday, May 30
  • Time: 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
  • Where: In and around Duluth
  • Register online or contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2027.
Hennepin County Natural Resources Interactive Map
Learn about the Hennepin County interactive natural resources map, which includes detailed information on vegetative cover, natural resource corridors, soils, wetlands, floodplains, geology, topography and the ecological significance of land in the county. The map is intended to help local governments and landowners make decisions about managing and protecting the natural resources on their properties. Our World Speaker Series at the Minnesota Zoo
Are some species of bear headed for extinction? Bears are one of the most threatened mammalian families, with ¾ of species considered globally threatened. Threats vary from shrinking habitat to escalating poaching. Dr. David Garshelis will talk about what which species is being most affected by the burgeoning palm oil industry, which species is heavily poached (and now farmed) to produce a valuable medicine, and what two species are most in trouble due to climate change. Two CEUs are available upon request for each event. Community Air Monitoring Training: A Glimpse into EPA's Air Sensor Toolbox
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a training webinar to share tools used to conduct citizen science projects involving Next Generation Air Monitoring (NGAM) technology and to educate interested groups and individuals on best practices for successful air monitoring projects. Additional resources will be available on EPA's Air Sensor Toolbox webpage. For more information, contact Amanda Kaufman at (919) 541-2388 or Ron Williams at (919) 541-2957.
  • When: Thursday, July 9
  • Time: 9:00-12:30 PM EDT
This is a free event, but pre-registration is required.
GRANTS

National Weather Association Grants for Meteorological Education Projects
The National Weather Association is accepting grant applications to its 2015-16 Sol Hirsch Education Fund, which supports projects designed to improve K-12 education in meteorology and related sciences. The program will award grants of up to $750 to help teachers purchase scientific materials for the classroom, school, or community; create school or community science outreach and education programs; enhance or expand existing meteorology/science education programs; and/or attend accredited courses, workshops, or conferences related to meteorology that will significantly enhance their teaching. Priority will be given to projects that show the most creativity and have the potential for greatest impact. Applications are due Monday, June 1.
 
Green Partners Environmental Education Program
Hennepin County provides funding and support to organizations to implement projects that empower residents to reduce waste, increase recycling, reduce toxicity, conserve energy and protect water quality. The Green Partners Program consists of three groups with varying levels of support and requirements: Branch, Root, and Seed. Participants in the Seed group receive free field trip transportation to an approved destination and activity supplies. To learn more or apply, email Patience Caso or call at (612) 348-9352.
RESOURCES

Free Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In “The Nature of Nature,” MIA curators invite visitors to explore fundamental ideas about our evolving relationship to nature over time, across cultures, and in our lives today is the third installation in an innovative series connecting art with relevant issues in everyday life. Our understanding of nature, as depicted in contemporary and historical works of art from all areas of the museum’s permanent collection, appears in multiple mini-exhibitions spanning 10 galleries in the Target Wing. Open now through July 17, 2016.
 
Environmental Education Resources
A wide variety of free environmental education resources, project support, and funding is available to organizations working with residents in Hennepin County, and can be used by teachers and learners throughout the state. Available options include toolkits, learning trunks and event displays, environmental literature, newsletter articles and social media posts, ideas for tours and field trips, guest speakers, and videos.
 
Free Copy of Energy Saving Guide for Schools
Download a free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Saving Energy and Money in Schools from Schools for Energy Efficiency, an energy conservation program for schools based in Minnesota. The link to download the resource is on the homepage of SEE’s website.
 
Free Climate Literacy Framework
Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science is an interagency guide that provides a framework and essential principles for formal and informal education about climate change. It presents important information for individuals and communities to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change. Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as part of their science curricula. This resource is available for download in both English and Spanish at the U.S. Global Change Research Program website.
Copyright © 2015 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Department, All rights reserved.


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