SEEK Bulletin - May 1, 2013

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Annual Environmental Education Conference & Workshops Offered This Summer

The Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, the Will Steger Foundation, Leave No Trace, Hamline University's Center for Environmental Education and other EE providers are offering numerous EE-related conferences and workshops this summer. Registration deadlines are around the corner, so sign up today!

Check out the SEEK Jobs and Internships pages for great EE positions!

In this issue:

partner highlight

Leopold Education Project (LEP)

Leopold Education Project

The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an innovative, interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education curriculum based on the essays in A Sand County Almanac. Originally created by a Wisconsin high school science teacher, LEP uses Leopold's writings as a springboard for engaging students in natural science curriculum. Over the last twenty years, more than 15,000 educators have attended a LEP workshop! More recently, the original curriculum was expanded to include new activities, incorporate new technologies such as GPS, and facilitate teaching in non-formal educational settings, like nature centers and zoos. LEP continues to offer facilitator and educator workshops around the country.

Beginning in 2013, the LEP "torch" was passed on from Pheasants Forever to the Aldo Leopold Foundation. We are thrilled to welcome the more than twenty state coordinators and countless LEP educators into our fold and look forward to this program’s continued growth!


EE News

MAEE Conference

Registration is open for the 2013 Annual MAEE Conference - Deadline: June 6th
The 2013 Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (MAEE) Conference will be June 13- 15 in Bloomington. The conference includes a pre-conference workshop, Conservation in a Changing Climate: Teaching About Climate Change on Thursday, general and concurrent sessions, dinner and MAEE awards ceremony on Friday, and three field trips on Saturday: 1. Renewable Energy Tour: District Energy, River Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, 2. Using the Garden as a Classroom, and 3. Children's Country Day School. We are very excited about this year's conference and invite you to join us!

Minnesota Schools Recognized by U.S. Department of Education for Green Efforts
Three Minnesota schools and one district are among the 64 schools and 14 districts from across the nation to be honored for their efforts to cut utility costs, implement smart conservation strategies and cultivate healthy and productive classrooms as part of the second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award program. The Minnesota schools are Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake, Heritage E-STEM Middle School in West St. Paul, and the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley. The entire Prior Lake-Savage Area School District was recognized for their green efforts.

Seeking Poster Contest Entries for Asthma Awareness Month - Deadline: May 10th
The EPA invites 3rd-8th graders to participate in the Asthma Awareness Poster Contest to promote asthma awareness among children, parents and school faculty. Students will create a drawing or painting that illustrates different aspects of the condition. Possible poster topics include: good asthma control and management, avoiding asthma triggers, physical activity and asthma, asthma and the environment, and asthma medication. Winners will be chosen based on the most creative and accurate depictions of asthma awareness as judged by EPA experts.

EPA Accepting Applications for the Toxics Release Inventory University Challenge - Deadline: May 13th
The EPA is challenging the academic community to find creative ways to use toxic release inventory (TRI) data to promote more informed decision-making and action on the part of communities, manufacturers, and government. Both students and professors are eligible to submit project ideas ranging from one semester to multi-year research or coursework as long as the projects increase the knowledge, use, and understanding of TRI data and other related information. Priority will be given to projects related to one of four topics, including Environmental Education: Exploring replicable ways to integrate TRI information into college classrooms.


ArtStarts EcoArts Festival - May 18th
The vision that guides ArtStart’s EcoArts Fest, now in its 6th year of implementation, is of educating and inspiring the next generation of stewards for our earth through the arts. This free family event is the culmination of school residencies and community workshops in which all ages create art work with professional artists that celebrates creativity, community, and conservation of our greatest natural resource, the Mississippi River.

Nominations Accepted for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) Program - Deadline: June 5th
The PAESMEM award recognizes citizens and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce. Individuals and organizations in all public and private sectors are eligible. Nominations are encouraged from all geographical regions in the U.S. Each Individual and Organizational PAESMEM awardee will receive a $10,000 award and a commemorative Presidential certificate.

Kids Ages 6-12 Enter to win the Backyard Game of the Year Contest -Deadline: June 17th
Kids are encouraged to use their imaginations and reconnect with outdoor playtime right in their own backyards. There doesn't need to be any fancy equipment, just basic things like balls and hula-hoops. What we really looking for is creativity! Entries are being accepted from individuals and groups. A grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and four runners-up will receive $1,000 scholarships. The Group grand prize winner will travel to San Diego to present their game at the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs and CLIF Kid will donate $15,000 to a nonprofit which focuses on kids' health and well-being.

Jump start your Spring gardening efforts with an affordable rain barrel or compost bin
It's a great time to get a jump start on gardening and water conservation efforts by setting up a compost bin or rain barrel at your home. The Recycling Association of Minnesota is working with local cities and counties to host several rain barrel and compost bin distribution events throughout Minnesota. Residents will be able to purchase discounted compost bins ($55) and rain barrels ($69).


The 2013 Midwest Environmental Education Conference (MEEC) will be September 25-28 in Iowa
The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and the Iowa Association of Naturalists are hosting the 2013 MEEC. Teachers and naturalists throughout the Midwest will find the conference energizing, useful, and rewarding to attend. This regional gathering is meant to enlighten and inspire teachers, naturalists, and other environmental educators. Conference strands include: Sustainability, EE Literacy, Natural Resources, Inspirational, & Management/Leadership.


Summer Workshops

Will Steger Foundation's Summer Institutes
The Will Steger Foundation is offering two summer professional development opportunities. The Summer Institute for Energy Education will be held at the Audubon Center of the North Woods from June 16-18th and the Summer Institute on Minnesota's Changing Climate will be held at Fort Snelling State Park from August 6-7th. Register for one or both. Scholarships available.

Certified Interpretive Guide Workshop: June 17- 20th
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the National Association for Interpretation are offering a professional certification course for individuals who will be delivering interpretive programs or talking with the public at interpretive sites. The workshop covers 1. Foundations of interpretation, 2. Programming emotional and intellectual ideas into presentations to connect audiences to the resource, 3. Tailor programs for diverse audiences and various learning styles, and 4. Interactive group activities, demonstrations, and individual sessions with instructors. Cost $140. Register by June 3rd.

2013 Hamline Rivers Institutes - FREE for Educators
Hamline University's Rivers Institute is a three day field-based professional development opportunity that inspires, educates, and prepares 3rd-8th grade teachers to engage students in STEM disciplines through hands-on, inquiry-based investigations at local watersheds. Two institutes will be held -- one on the St. Croix River June 24-26th, and one on the Mississippi River July 29-31st. Both institutes are free and include three full days of experiential instruction and lunches, the Waters to the Sea multimedia tool, CEUs, a $100 mini grant, and the option to purchase two graduate credits at a reduced rate.

Energy Workshop for Middle and High School Teachers
Discovering Science on the Range in the Field of Energy is designed for high and middle school teachers who wish to bring their knowledge about the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy industry in Minnesota up-to-date and thereby encourage their students to choose a future career in this field. The workshops will be held June 16-21st and July 21-26th.

Galapagos Islands Wildlife Expedition and Conservation Field Study Tour
Join the Minnesota Zoo on a Galapagos Island experience from July 8-18 exclusively for K-12 teachers. Visit eight unique islands for a truly 'up close and personal' experience with nature and the rugged beauty of the islands. Activities include visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station; observing nesting sites of thousands of shorebirds, and much more. Cost is $3,400 land cost (plus airfare.)

Browse EE Resources

General Resources

Arbor Month

Teacher's Guide to Arbor Month: Activities on Trees and the Natural World for Grades K-8
This free guide makes it easier than ever to integrate knowledge about trees, shrubs, and plants, and the natural world into your regular school curriculum. This cross-curricular thematic guide offers dozens of student-appealing lessons to supplement your daily lessons in: language arts, people and cultures, science and environment, math, the arts, games, and physical activities. It is an ideal enhancement to your environmental education program. The Teachers Guide to Arbor Month is a great reference for tree information, and offers a treasury of learning opportunities that integrate into your curriculum any time of the year.

MN GreenCorps

Minnesota GreenCorps Program
Launched in 2009, Minnesota GreenCorps is a statewide program to help preserve and protect Minnesota's environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. This program places AmeriCorps members with local governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations around Minnesota, where they serve for 11 months on focused environmental projects. The program is coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and funding is provided through a grant from ServeMinnesota and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Become a Host Site
Applications are being accepted from organizations interested in participating as a host site for the Minnesota GreenCorps program. Members will serve in the areas of Energy Conservation, Waste Prevention and Recycling, Living Green Outreach, and/or Green Infrastructure. The application deadline is May 6th.

Become a Member
Applications are also now being accepted from individuals interested in serving as an AmeriCorps member in Minnesota GreenCorps for the 2013-2014 program year. Up to 28 full-time Minnesota GreenCorps members will be placed with sites around the state. Positions will begin in mid- to late September 2013 and last through August 2014, with members serving approximately 40 hours per week. Completed member applications, along with a resume, must be submitted to by June 7, 2013.

MN Bug Hunt

Book: Minnesota Bug Hunt
Join Bruce the Bug Guy on a hunt for the most interesting insects in Minnesota -- through the forest, across the prairie, and even in your own backyard. Insects are everywhere and easy to find -- if you know where to look. Published in April 2013, Minnesota Bug Hunt puts you on the trail for insects big and small, fierce and friendly. Explore habitats as near your own backyard and as focused as an oak tree or as populated as a swath of forest, and use your senses to discover the bugs who share our world.  Award-winning photographer Bill Johnson provides beautiful color photos in this 32-page book.

Meet the author and some bugs on Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 pm at the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis.

Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens

The Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens - book and website
The book The Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens - Design and Installation for Homeowners in the Upper Midwest is a valuable raingarden reference guide for homeowners and professional designers. Thoroughly researched and beautifully illustrated, the book is approachable for beginners, yet contains detailed information for landscape professionals. It contains easy-to-follow instructions on:

  • How to locate, size, and design raingardens
  • Preparing the soil and garden bed
  • Selecting and installing plants
  • Care and maintenance
  • Example garden plans for almost any setting
  • Water depth tolerances for over 100 plants.

In addition, the Blue Thumb's Create a Raingarden webpage is chalked full of resources for raingardens, including:

Virtual Tours of Raingardens
Multiple How-to Videos to Design My Own Raingarden
Tools to Design Your Own Raingarden

  • Enter your sun exposure, bloom time and color in the Plant Selector to customize your plant list
  • Project Cost Calculator
  • Rain Gardens A how-to manual for homeowners from the UW-Extension Service
  • Native Plant Brochure (pdf)
  • MPCA Plants for Stormwater Design
  • DNR Landscaping with Native Plants

Blue Thumb is an educational program of the Rice Creek Watershed District.

Funding Resources


Brower Youth AwardsDeadline: May 13th
The Brower Youth Awards has launched the prize search for outstanding grassroots environmental leaders across North America. We celebrate eco-activists, ages 13-22, leading the way to a green, just future. Six Brower Youth Award recipients will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Green Partners Environmental Education Program - Deadline: May 17th
The Green Partners Environmental Education Program supports organizations to actively educate and engage Hennepin County residents in making positive environmental changes in their daily lives.  Three levels of funding are offered: 1. Seed Group: Receive free field trip transportation and activity supplies. 2. Root Group: Up to $8,000 to implement a project based on existing resources. 3. Branch Group: Up to $15,000 to implement an innovative project. Eligible organizations include non-profit organizations, community and youth groups, multicultural organizations, congregations, private and public schools, and park districts.

Recycling Bin Grants - Deadline: May 17th
The Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) is accepting applications for the 2013 John Maattala bin grant. Applications must be submitted by a RAM member to be eligible to receive bins through the grant. RAM is offering several types of recycling bins this year: Bottle bins, Rubbermaid Half Glutton bins, Paper Desk Side bins, collapsible Fling bins, and ClearStream bins. RAM also offers free downloadable recycling signs for the bins.

Bush Fellowship ProgramDeadline: May 24th
The Bush Fellowship is an opportunity for individuals to increase their capacity for and improve their practice of leadership while working with others to solve tough problems in their communities. During the Fellowship, Bush Fellows have the opportunity to try different strategies intended to mobilize stakeholders to engage in creating change around the identified issue. The Bush Fellowship is a two-year commitment and funds are paid out in equal monthly installments. Funding ranges from $30,000 to $80,000.


Grants for Water Quality Projects - Deadline: June 1st
Partner organizations of the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) including nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, schools, local units of government, and business and professional associations are eligible to apply for these water quality improvement grants. Projects should: 1) Improve water and natural resources 2) Build community understanding, knowledge, and stewardship of water and natural resources. Mini Grants up to $2,000 and Planning Grants up to $10,000 are available.

National Education Association (NEA) Learning & Leadership Grants - Deadline: June 1st
These grants support public school teachers, support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research; or Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups.

National Education Association (NEA) Student Achievement Grants - Deadline: June 1st
The NEA Foundation provides grants to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students' habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. Grant amount is $5,000.

Legislative-Citizen Commission on MN Resources (LCCMR) Grants Deadline: June 7th
The LCCMR issued its 2014 Request for Proposal for funding beginning July 1, 2014. Proposals are requested in seven areas, including Environmental Education. EE proposals must address education, information dissemination, and training efforts that will increase the knowledge and skills to cultivate a sustainable lifestyle, improve and maintain water quality, reduce and monitor energy and water consumption, or restore and maintain a healthy and biodiverse natural environment.

TogetherGreen Innovation GrantsDeadline: June 7th
The TogetherGreen Innovation Grants Program supports creative and ambitious projects that engage diverse communities and find innovative solutions to environmental challenges. These one-year grants range from $5,000 to $80,000 with an average grant size of $25,000 and fund projects that: 1. Conserve or restore habitat and protect species, improve water quality or quantity, and reduce the threat of global warming; 2. Engage new and diverse audiences in conservation actions; and 3. Use innovative approaches to forge partnerships and reach audiences that are brand new to your organization. Awards go to organizations in the Audubon network, working with partners in their communities, who have the passion, commitment, and vision to move people to take action and achieve lasting conservation results.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest - Deadline: June 10th
The 7th Annual Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest is a poetry, essay, photo, dance and songwriting contest. Entries must be from an intergenerational team of two or more persons that are not the same age-- a young person and an older person. The entry should express your sense of wonder about capturing the essence of the natural environment –the sea, streams, the mountains and prairies, a sunrise or moonlight, flowers, leaves, wildlife in its habitat.

Community-Based Research Program - Deadline: June 30th
The U of M's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) offers Community-Based Research Programs that provide graduate or undergraduate student assistance for community-based applied research projects, program planning and development, program evaluation, and other short-term projects. Student assistantships are generally 200 hours (10 hours per week) during spring or fall and 260 hours (20 hours per week) during summer. Apply by June 30th for project fall semester assistance.

SEEK stands for Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge and is the online home of Minnesota's environmental education resources.

For further information visit SEEK or contact Colleen Schoenecker, SEEK Coordinator, at or 651.757.2700 or 800.657.3864.

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