U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Honor Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees

July 21st, 2014 by Julie Walker

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots, and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Mark Schaefer will honor the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 22, at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. At the awards ceremony, Secretary Duncan will also announce the legs of the second annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour.The awardees are recognized for reducing their environmental impact, creating healthy learning environments and fostering wellness practices and providing effective environmental education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century, including science, technology, mathematics, engineering and civics. Check out a full list of elected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages here!

This event will be livestreamed at 2 p.m. ET: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/education-department

Get more information about the  Green School pillars and program here, and check out these other resources from the U.S. Department of Education.

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Ocean Guardian schools come to Charles County, MD

July 9th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Ocean Guardian is a very successful and extremely popular California-based program that in recent months has expanded to one school in NY and now two in Charles County, Maryland!

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has just awarded grant funds to Piccowaxen MS and North Point HS to participate in the Ocean Guardian program. An Ocean Guardian school makes a commitment to the protection and conservation of its local watershed, the world’s ocean, and special ocean areas, like National Marine Sanctuaries. The school makes this commitment by proposing and then implementing a school- or community-based conservation projects. Beginning in September, both schools will be conducting hands-on conservation and awareness programs on schoolgrounds, in local watersheds and in community venues.

The Ocean Guardian School program funds these projects focused on a current issue(s) affecting local watersheds and/or the ocean while promoting best environmental practices. Through these school- or community-based project, Ocean Guardian schools work to make a difference in the health and protection of their local watersheds, ocean, and special areas. While  providing learning programs and opportunities that reflect environmentally sustainable practices that enable all students to be environmentally active and committed “Ocean Guardians.”

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Teachers on the Estuary, The Wonders of Wetlands and Project WET

June 30th, 2014 by Julie Walker

The 2012 TOTE Teachers & NBNERR staff

Join the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve this summer on beautiful Prudence Island, for a full weekend of hands-on learning. Topics will include estuaries, climate change and water resources. Participants will engage in three different workshops: Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE), The Wonders of Wetlands (WOW!) and Project WET. An abundance of resources will be provided as part of this multi-faceted workshop to help you bring your knowledge back to your classroom or education center.

Participants will arrive late Friday afternoon and stay until Sunday afternoon, for a total of 15 PDP’s. Lodging is available at the Reserve in a modest cottage with dorm-style bedrooms. Meals and lodging cost are covered but participants will be responsible for the cost of their ferry ticket ($8) and parking, if necessary ($10/day).
The majority of the activities will be hands-on or in the field, as the weather allows.We will also spend time reviewing online resources from the NERRS and NOAA as well, including water quality graphing applications and the Estuaries 101 online curriculum for middle and high school.
When: August 8-10, 2014 (late Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon)
Who Should Register: Many of the activities are geared towards middle and high school teachers, but pre-service and informal educators are welcome to attend.
Co-Hosted By: Narragansett Bay Research Reserve and the RI Department of Environmental Management, Fish & Wildlife Division.
Please contact Maureen Dewire, Education Coordinator for the Research Reserve, with any questions or to register for this workshop. Email: maureen@nbnerr.org; Phone: 401.683.1478
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Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Explore, Learn, Participate in a Marine Education Fellowship!

June 26th, 2014 by Julie Walker

The Marine Education Fellowship is a program sponsered by Ecology Project International  that brings a select group of educators into the field every year for 8 days of field-science education.

The goals of EPI’s Marine Education Fellowship are 5-fold:

  • Develop familiarity with EPI’s approach to field research and education
  • Revitalize and celebrate dedication to science education
  • Provide unique experiences and activities to take back to the classroom
  • Build a supportive network of educators working towards similar goals
  • Introduce  EPI’s work and promote future student courses to our program sites

The fellowship runs two programs one to Baja Island where participants assist  in cataloging and studying species in the Sea of Cortez in order to understand marine diversity and how to protect it. The Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program puts participants in contact with marine researchers and leatherback sea turtles in order to study population trends and protect turtle nests from tides, illegal harvesting, and other threats.

Ideal fellowship candidates have a strong background in science education and will be committed to providing experiential learning opportunities for their students. This program is primarily designed for high school teachers. However, 8th grade teachers, college professors, school administrators, and travel program coordinators are welcome to apply.Accepted Fellows pay a $250 tuition fee by Oct. 31, 2014 to secure their participation. All in-country expenses for the fellowship are covered by EPI except international airfare. In-country transportation, meals, lodging, instruction and activity fees are included at no extra cost.

The application period for EPI’s 2015 Marine Education Fellowship is June 24th – September 15th, 2014. Final candidates will be selected in October.

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Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Meet one of Maryland’s Newest Green Schools: Leonardtown High School

June 17th, 2014 by Kimberle Egbert

Dr. Martirano Superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools Presents a Green School Banner to the LHS Green School team

Leonardtown High School (LHS) prides itself on being college and career oriented and being focused on helping all of our students succeed and we are very excited about our growing environmental commitment. This commitment ties into all aspects of our school from how it is cleaned to what and how students are being taught.  We recognize that environmental literacy and practice cannot be separate from a successful school.  While the journey has not been easy and is far from over, the culture at LHS has evolved in many significant ways regarding our Green School undertaking.

The LHS community has become increasingly proactive in our efforts to become and act in an environmentally conscious manner.  In the past, there were individual students and faculty who chose to recycle, reduce waste, and conserve energy in their classrooms.  Now, our entire student body, faculty, and staff are aware, encouraged, and provided the opportunities and means to put best practices into action.  Each classroom has a recycling bin that is collected multiple times a week by the SAIL Program students. More recycling containers than trashcans have been placed in the cafeteria where students eat off of reusable trays.  Environmental literacy messages are shared weekly if not daily on our student led televised announcements.  Due to these and many other activities, our recycling has doubled over the past two years.
The Green School Coordinator and Green School team, in cooperation with administration have developed a very productive working relationship with our Building Service Worker Team not only in waste reduction and green cleaning, but also in reaching milestones in energy consumption.  Energy Consumption has been reduced by over 15% in the past few years due to a concerted effort to examine our consumption and  to make improvements.  LHS students are also encouraged to share their environmental knowledge and commitment with the rest of the school.  This has led to endeavors such as a student created information plate for each light switch reminding everyone to turn off the lights when not in use.
These achievements are only possible because the entire school community has united in the effort to become a Green School.  LHS’s commitment to Green School certification is about making our school a more healthy, economical, environmentally friendly location where environmental literacy is part of the curriculum and general atmosphere.  Wherever you go in LHS, we want it show that we are green.  As is shown in our documentation, all aspects of our school from instruction to professional development to the practices used for cleaning and heating take into account best management practices.  The value of being a Green School is important to the LHS community.
Filed under: School Spotlight
Kimberle Egbert is an Environmental Science Teacher at Leonardtown High School as well as the Green School Coordinator, and Envirothon Advisor

Sign up Today for Data & the Estuary:Eastern Shore

June 9th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Sign up for Data & the Estuary: Eastern Shore Today!

Get ready to collect and use estuary-specific data in YOUR Classroom –
Acquire resources, new lessons, techniques to develop environmentally literate students and get OUTSIDE!

Join the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve  August 4-8 for  Data & the Estuary:Eastern Shore
a specialized course  for Maryland middle and high school teachers. This 5 day/4 night course, held at the Karen Noonan Center in Bishops Head, MD, is a partnership with NOAA, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. 3 optional graduate credits available.

This course provide teachers with the resources, knowledge and experience necessary to facilitate the integration of estuaries and related topics into the classroom. Through hands-on, field-based investigations teachers will have the opportunity to gather authentic data on climate science, water quality, biotic communities, analyze collected and existing data, and ultimately use this information to develop action projects that will have a positive impact on the natural systems of the Chesapeake Bay.  The course is geared toward a middle and high school audience, but all are welcome.

The Courses are Tuition-free.  However, there is a $50 NON-REFUNDABLE Registration and Materials Fee required to secure participant registration.

Data & the Estuary will help teachers increase their ability to:

  • Utilize Estuaries 101, National Geographic FieldScope, and associated curricula
  • Access tools and curricula that support STEM programming
  • Design and implement authentic student-driven investigations
  • Analyze collected information
  • Develop action projects to manage and address the results of investigations
  • Connect Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core to experiential learning and the use of data
  • Understand multiple literacy initiatives – Ocean Literacy, Estuarine Literacy, Climate Literacy, and Environmental Literacy

Register HERE

For questions about this course, please contact

Coreen Weilminster

cweilminster@dnr.state.md.us

CBNERR-MD’s Education Coordinator

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Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

President Celebrates STEM at the 3rd White House Science Fair

June 2nd, 2014 by Julie Walker

President Obama celebrated students achievements in STEM by hosting the third annual White House Science Fair on May 27 2014. 30 states were represented in the group of 100 hundred students. From designing new apps, to solar panels, to making football helmets more concussion proof projects encompassing a wide range of STEM fields. This year the fair had a special focus on encouraging girls to pursue a career in science.  As a part of this initiative to diversify the STEM workforce he also announced a $35 million Education Department competition for teacher training programs as well as mentoring efforts.  He also singled out national science and math mentoring projects in Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis; the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; and Wichita, Kansas as towns that will pilot new mentoring projects, and the development of new Americorps programming to offer science and technology classes for 18,000 low-income students.

One particular project from the Chesapeake Bay region was a team of five budding engineers from Baltimore,  Ekeagwu Onyekachi, 20; Jevaughn Taylor, 19; Iragena Serge Bangamwabo, 20; Abhishek Yonghang-Subba, 18; and De’onte Green, 19 , whose project was on developing a solar powered hover craft made from environmentally friendly materials. The team has already received recognition at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Baltimore STEM business Plan Competition, where they received first place.

Delaware residents Aaron Knestaut, 13, Eric Long, 14, and Max Huhn, 13, also presented an environmentally focused project at the White House. As members of the “Zero Waste” team, they are concerned at the rate at which DE landfills are filling up. Their research suggests that half of the waste ending up in landfills could be used as compost. The team suggests that implementing curbside organic composting collection in DE will extend the life of DE’s landfills significantly. The Zero waste team has received a $25,000 grant from the Columbus Foundation Community for their innovative waste project.

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Come Celebrate Maryland’s Green Schools at MAEOE Green Schools Youth Summit!

May 26th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Governor Martin O'Malley at last year's Youth Summit Day

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) will honor the 133 schools that have successfully fulfilled the requirements of the Maryland Green Schools Program at the MAEOE Green Schools Youth Summit on May 30, 2014 at beautiful Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. The Youth Summit presents students and teachers with an opportunity to be recognized for their leadership in enacting significant change in their communities, while the Summit’s interactive sessions provide a platform for them to build upon the skills and knowledge that they have already acquired during the Maryland Green Schools certification process.

The Summit will feature an awards ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the schools that were certified or recertified as Maryland Green Schools in 2014, as well as an “Environmental Literacy Fair” that will offer students and teachers an opportunity to connect with organizations who can provide resources to draw from as they continue their work towards lessoning the environmental impact of their school’s buildings and grounds and developing environmental literacy throughout the student body. Representatives from the Alliance to Save Energy and Lockheed Martin will lead a Youth Leadership Forum that will feature a Green Careers discussion as well as sessions on environmental advocacy and policy. Over 3,000 students and teachers were in attendance last year. Governor Martin O’Malley has been invited and will be speaking at 12:30 should he attend. Check out the Governor’s speech at last year’s summit!

The Maryland Green Schools Program (MDGS), an award winning program founded in 1999, is designed to foster a student led approach to authentic learning and plays a key role in helping schools meet the Maryland State Department of Education’s environmental literacy standards established through the Governor’s Partnership for Children in Nature. The program is a method of improving environmental literacy for students and a tool for catalyzing change within the community as envisioned in the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.

This year, MAEOE has certified 57 schools for the first time and has retained 76 schools through the program’s recertification process, bringing the total number of schools in the Maryland Green Schools Program to 460. This substantial growth in the program illustrates a persistent commitment to sustainability and environmental literacy in Maryland Schools. These schools have demonstrated and documented a continuous effort to integrate sustainable best management practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development opportunities, and community engagement into their daily operations.

Schools that were accepted into this year’s program combined to recycle over 1.2 million pounds of paper and 305,000 pounds of aluminum cans and glass bottles. Additionally, 69 schools conducted energy audits to identify ways in which they could reduce their energy consumption, among other projects. For a full listing of Maryland Green Schools and more statistics from this year’s Maryland Green Schools Program, please visit MAEOE.org.

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Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Project Learning Tree Green Schools Webinar

May 21st, 2014 by Julie Walker

Check out some updates from Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) and Project Learning Tree’s Webinar on making  putting every school in Pennsylvania on the path towards a more green and sustainable future.
Whether a school district is considering a renovation or construction project, reviewing operations and maintenance practices, planting a school garden, or updating curriculum-there is an opportunity to make our schools more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and healthier places of learning.
We believe that the entire educational experience should include green and sustainable practices. This includes the transportation to and from school, the buildings where our students learn, the energy being used in our schools, the food being served in our cafeterias, and the curriculum that is taught in the classrooms.
There are many ways that schools can become more green and sustainable, and each step forward is a step in the right direction. We hope you will get started on the Path, and we look forward to hearing about your success.

Every school in Pennsylvania can start on the path towards a more green and sustainable future. Whether a school district is considering a renovation or construction project, reviewing operations and maintenance practices, planting a school garden, or updating curriculum-there is an opportunity to make our schools more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and healthier places of learning.
We believe that the entire educational experience should include green and sustainable practices. This includes the transportation to and from school, the buildings where our students learn, the energy being used in our schools, the food being served in our cafeterias, and the curriculum that is taught in the classrooms.
There are many ways that schools can become more green and sustainable, and each step forward is a step in the right direction. We hope you will get started on the Path, and we look forward to hearing about your success.The Center for Schools and Communities will provide a live online session titled “Transforming Schools with Project Learning Tree (PLT) GreenSchools! Investigations” on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Whether you are a teacher looking for a valuable, free professional development opportunity or a student Green Team member, this webinar will teach you how the PLT GreenSchools! program can transform your school’s environment. Learn how student-led GreenSchools! teams can make a difference by using the GreenSchools! Investigations to examine their school’s environmental impact, apply for a PLT GreenWorks! environmental action grant and implement service-learning action plans to reduce their environmental footprint.
This webinar is made possible through a grant provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Pre-registration is required.

To register for the GreenSchools! Investigations online session, click HERE. All registrants will receive an email confirmation with the webinar access information. This session has been approved for 1 hour of Act 48 credit.

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Inspiring Future Green Leaders

May 16th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Green Jobs are Everywhere!

If you are high school teacher (and even if not) now is the time of year that students will be reaching out for guidance on the future.  With questions ranging from colleges, tech schools, majors, careers, and life in general. Many times it is difficult and stressful to pick just one interest to pursue. But that’s where your sage wisdom comes in handy. Many careers today require a multitude on interest, especially careers involving the environment.  Check out some of these careers the next time you talk to a student trying to plan for the future.

Have an interest in teaching? working with animals? and conservation? Try out a career as a Zoo or Aquarium Educator!

Many Careers in Zoos and Aquariums require a lot of hands on experience. Encourage students to pursue an internship or volunteer at a local Zoo or Aquarium.

National Aquarium (Baltimore)

Philadelphia Zoo

National Zoo (DC, Fort Royal, VA)

There are also many some college programs with a focus in conservation and education, great for a career in Zoos and Aquarium

George Mason- Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Arcadia University- Environmental Education

Michigan State – Zoology  concentration in Zoo and Aquarium Science

And many more! Check out these programs affiliated with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums!

Have a passion for Math? Building and Designing? and The Environment? What about environmental engineering?

Plenty of schools offer programs in environmental engineering, check out this list by state!

What about writing? photography? explaining difficult concepts? Try a career in Journalism or Science writing!

Check out this guide to careers in science writing from the Council for the Advancement of Writing, or career spotlight from sierra club

And some of these specialized programs in the field…

University of California Santa Cruz- Science Communication

Lehigh University- Science and Environmental Writing

Boston University- Science Journalism

NYU- Science Health and Environmental Reporting

Or to get a feel for science writing, get some experience with these internships…

Science News

Earth Magazine

And these are just a FEW of the possibilities! Encourage your students to make connections between their interests and their passion for the environment!

Check out more enviro-inspired careers from NAAEE, or Take a Quiz to check out your ideal Green job!

Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.
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