Secretary of Education Celebrates National Environmental Education Week

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U.S. Department of Education

Green Strides

Secretary Duncan Offers PSA for National Environmental Education Week

In a first for a Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan relates how environmental education can be a tool to improve student health and engagement in STEM fields in a public service announcement for National Environmental Education Week. “We know so many of the jobs of the future are in the STEM fields, and there are so many great ties between STEM education and environmental education,” he said.  View the PSA >>> 

To celebrate EE Week, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) has released a variety of timely resources.  Its video toolkit demonstrates lessons that use technology to connect students to the natural world. Its 10 Apps for Taking Tech Outdoors and Tech & Our Planet info graphic illustrate the widespread use of technology among kids and adults and possibilities for environmental learning, career pathways and implications for the economy. NEEF is also sponsoring an Environmental Educator Photo Contest running through May 31, 2013.    

Get Ready - The Green Ribbons are Coming…!

And prepare for a host of new ideas on how to get students outdoors and learning, when the Secretary announces the second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and first-ever District Sustainability Awardees on April 22nd at 10:30am EDT here.  Honored schools and districts will have an important role to play modeling best practices for all schools who wish to provide an education geared toward the challenges and jobs of the future, which is why ED will release a report with summaries of each of the honorees.

Green Funding and Resource Opportunities

Attend Free Sessions of the Green Strides Webinar Series

The Green Strides Webinar Series acquaints school communities with the tools to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental literacy, including STEM, green careers, and civic engagement. Find more sessions for educators, facilities managers, and advocates weekly. >>> .

Apr. 24, 2013 4-5 p.m. Green Schools! and STEM (USFS/PLT)

May 1, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Bringing Climate Change Home (USFS/PLT)

May 8, 2013, 1-2 p.m. School Siting: Impacts on Communities, Health and Environment (EPA)

May 8, 2013, 2-3 p.m. Drinking Water Best Management Practices for Schools (EPA)

May 15, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Engaging your Community on Green Apple Day of Service (USGBC)

May 22, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Teacher Ranger Teacher (NPS)

May 29, 2013, 4-5 p.m.  Authentic Student Voice in GreenSchools! (USFS/PLT)  

Investing in Innovation: Show Us Your Green Innovations!

Secretary Duncan announced the start of the fourth Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition by releasing an invitation for pre-applications for the “Development” grant category and a notice of final priorities for the program overall.  The deadline for pre-applications is April 26.>>>

Spotlight on a Resource:  Your Trash Turns into Tree Planting

For every 100 point fundraising recyclable item turned into FundingFactory during the month of April, the organization will plant a tree with Carbon Fund.  See other tools to partner and fundraise on the Green Strides Resources Page.  This is a great place to find resources to celebrate and teach themes around upcoming Earth Day, Bike and Walk to School Day, Asthma Awareness Month and National Healthy Schools Day.


Health and Wellness: Nutrition, Fitness and Environmental Health

Let’s Get Cooking: The First Lady’s Second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

First Lady Michelle Obama is hosting the second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  The Challenge invites children to submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty.  Recipes must be submitted by May 12, follow the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate guidance, and represent each of the food groups.  Children will have an opportunity to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House. >>>

USDA Summer Meals Program Kickoff

Children who experience hunger in the summer are more likely to suffer from health problems and summer learning loss, which interfere with academic success. To close that gap, the USDA partners with schools, local governments, and community organizations to provide free meals to children when school is out for the summer. >>>

Check Out New Materials for the EPA’s School Flag Program

EPA’s School Flag Program uses brightly colored flags based on the Air Quality Index.  Schools raise a flag each day that corresponds to the forecast so that everyone can know the air quality conditions. EPA has partnered with CDC to provide school staff with guidance on how to promote activity while taking into account air quality.>>>

CDC Announces Workshops on School Health Tools

The CDC has created Training Tools for Healthy Schools, a national network of trainers who provide workshops on using and implementing the CDC's school health tools. You can learn about available workshops, or download a workshop request form online.

Join CDC’s BAM!: Body, Mind and G.A.M.E.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Ad Council partnered with CDC’s BAM! Body and Mind to release The Greatest Action Movie Ever (G.A.M.E), a film offering fun ways to “Bring Out the Action Hero in You” and take steps towards a more active and nutritionally-balanced lifestyle.  Watch the film here.  

School Facilities Matters!

Society of Civil Engineers Report: School Buildings Aren’t Making the Grade

Almost half of America’s public school buildings were built to educate baby boomers. Public school enrollment is projected to increase through 2019, yet state and local school construction funding is on the decline. Experts now estimate the investment needed to modernize and maintain our nation’s school facilities is at least $270 billion or more. >>>

Department of Energy Publishes “Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts

The DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently released “Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts,” a guide to tapping into funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in schools. The guide is available for free online.

EE Events and News

National Park Week …Did You Know? 

Each spring, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, invite everyone to celebrate National Park Week, April 20 – 28. Did you know…America’s national parks include more than 84 million acres of spectacular scenery? National Park Week is a chance for educators to get active and experience the powerful content knowledge, values, and skills embodied by our Nation’s remarkable cultural, natural, and recreational heritage.>>>

National Kids to Park Day:  Creating Park Stewards for Tomorrow

In another outdoors event, gear up for this year's National Kids to Parks (KTP) Day, a nation-wide day of outdoor play organized by National Park Trust in cooperation with a host of national collaborators. This year's KTP Day will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013. >>>


Other Environmental Education News and Reports

The final Next Generation Science Standards, a new set of voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education, were released this week. The NGSS include content relating to human impacts on the natural world, including climate change, natural resource depletion, and habitat loss, and emphasize the development of problem solving skills students will need in order to contribute solutions to environmental challenges.>>>

In other E-STEM news, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a  report on its environmental education efforts. The report describes work to use National Wildlife Refuges as a teaching tool. Other publications of note: The National Research Council published a booklet that summarizes the current state of knowledge about climate change;  explains some impacts expected in this century and beyond; and (3) examines how science can help inform choices about managing and reducing the risks posed by climate change. The 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education offered by the National Science Foundation provides up to date information and identifies trends in the areas of teacher background and experience, curriculum and instruction, and the availability and use of instructional resources.