ACNW Environmental Education News

April 7, 2015 

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

While I’m sure your students know that every day is Earth Day, the official, international celebration is on Wednesday, April 22! Earth Day provides an opportunity for individuals and communities to take action to restore and protect the natural environment. For more information on Earth Day celebrations around the world, the history of the movement, and ways for your school to get involved, please visit the Earth Day Network website.
Of course, we can’t forget Arbor Day on Friday, April 24! Make it an Earth Week celebration with tree plantings, community cleanups, and getting out the word about the important work your school does to create healthy outcomes for individuals, communities, and the Earth. Learn more about Arbor Day, its history, educational resources, and how to get involved by visiting the Arbor Day Foundation website.
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


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.
We are currently in the process of updating the EE survey for 2014-15. An Epicenter compliance task related to the EE survey was originally set up last summer. However, that task contained outdated information, and has since been removed from Epicenter. When the survey is fully updated, we will repost the compliance submission with the new FY15 EE survey (likely in mid- to late April). Let us know if you have any other questions.
Check out the ACNW Calendar of Events for information on a number of summer learning opportunities, family and youth camps, and other activities that could benefit your staff and school community.
In this self-paced, online course, offered by the National Environmental Education Foundation through Udemy, you will learn the basics about extreme weather and climate change through videos, quizzes, and toolkits with tips and links to trusted resources. Enroll now for free lifetime access to the curriculum, which you may find useful in your classroom.

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is currently accepting applications from elementary schools (Grades K-5) to participate in the Refuge Partner Schools Program. The partnership provides teachers and students multidisciplinary, standard-based curriculum. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on, real-life experiences with plants, wildlife, and recreational opportunities that immerse students in nature throughout the seasons. Applications are due by April 17. For more information, contact Suzanne Trapp at (952) 361-4502.

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, but the roots of environmentalism reach much further back. History Live interactive video conferencing has the perfect lesson to connect Earth Day to our rich history of conservation.
The Civilian Conservation Corps: A Good Deal from the New Deal builds role-play and inquiry upon primary sources from MNHS collections. Students in grades 4-6 travel back to the 1930s and experience the hard work of CCC enrollees. As they plant trees and stop erosion, students improve their understanding of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Visit History Live online for more information or to book a lesson.

Celebrate National Parks Week April 18-25. The week begins with fee-free entrance days on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19. Download a FREE National Park Owner’s Guide for more information. Minnesota’s only national park is located in northern Minnesota along the international border. Voyageurs National Park is a mosaic of land and water, a place of interconnected waterways that flow west into the Rainy River, and eventually north as part of the arctic watershed of Hudson's Bay. It's a place of transition, between upland and aquatic ecosystems, southern boreal and northern hardwoods forest types, and both wild and developed areas.

EE Week, April 19-25, is the nation's largest celebration of environmental education. The 2015 EE Week theme is Greening STEM: Surrounded by Science. Science provides the tools we need to better understand our world and EE Week is excited to explore the many connections between science and the environment to help educators find the most effective and engaging ways to bridge the two in their teaching. For more information or to find events in your area, visit the EE Week website.
During the 2014-2015 school year, ACNW will again be offering up to $500.00 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.
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.
  3. 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.
Captain Planet Foundation
The Captain Planet Foundation is accepting applications from schools and nonprofit organizations for its Ecotech Grant program, a new initiative to support projects that motivate children through the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields while challenging  them to reimagine the way their world can be. Sixteen grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to schools and nonprofit organizations in support of projects that use innovation, nature-based design, or technology to address local environmental problems. Proposals are due on or before April 30, 2015.
Patagonia Environmental Grants and Support
Patagonia is accepting proposals of up to $12,000 to support small, grassroots, activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. Proposals are due April 30, 2015.
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.
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.
Free Webinar: Getting Started With Phenology
Join an interactive class to learn how to begin using long-term phenology research and Nature’s Notebook as part of your science classes. The course will cover many aspects of implementation, from establishing goals for using phenology to documenting and using the data you've collected.
  • When: April 9, 2015
  • Time: 1:00-3:00 PM CST
  • This is a free webinar, but pre-registration is required.
Free Webinar: Invasive Species
Invasive species provide an exciting story for environmental educators. We have a villain (the bad invasive species) and a victim (the poor helpless native species). Although this portrayal might capture a student's attention, what are often lacking are the deeper ecological principles that come into play. Participants will explore several myths often presented in the teaching of invasive species, and explore alternative teaching scenarios that can be used as alternatives to these myths that can help students understand these deeper ecological principles.
  • When: April 9, 2015
  • Time: 7:30 PM EST
  • This is a free webinar, but pre-registration is required. There is a nominal fee for one CEU. 
Our World Speaker Series at the Minnesota Zoo
Minnesota is rich with water, but will it be clean enough, and abundant enough, for the next generation? Dr. Deborah L. Swackhamer will talk about what challenges Minnesota faces, what’s being done now, and what needs to happen for the future of Minnesota's water resources. Two CEUs are available upon request for each event. Free Webinar: Basic Botany and Tricky Phenophases
Nature’s Notebook sponsors this webinar to answer common botany and phenology related questions.
  • When: April 21, 2015
  • Time: 1:00 PM CST
  • This is a free webinar, but pre-registration is required.
Free Webinar: Promising Practices for School Food Gardens
From a single raised bed in an underused green space, to large-scale mini-farms that are part of Community Shared Agriculture programs, school gardens are as unique as the school communities they inhabit. In this session, participants will observe some common successes and challenges. This webinar will also address crop selection for schools, ties to student nutrition and environmental education programs, summer strategies, links to academic subjects, the role of community partners, and enabling policies at school boards.
  • When: April 28, 2015
  • Time: 7:30 PM EST
  • This is a free webinar, but pre-registration is required. There is a nominal fee for one CEU.
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.

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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