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

Filed under: Training
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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.

Filed under: News
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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.

Celebrate National Environmental Education Week!

April 15th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Celebrate National Environmental Education Week!

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) is the nation’s largest celebration of environmental education. Continuing EE Week’s multi-year focus on connecting the environment with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning, the 2014 EE Week theme is Greening STEM: Engineering a Sustainable World. In 2014, EE Week will explore how engineering plays an important part in the way we think about and solve some of today’s biggest environmental problems, leading to sustainable solutions for a healthier planet and healthier people. Increasing STEM knowledge and expanding STEM education and career opportunities for students is a national priority. Student achievement in STEM is key to fostering a new wave of innovators who can creatively address complex 21st-centery challenges. Environmental education can provide students with opportunities to engage in meaningful and exciting engineering projects that can spark their interest in STEM and empower them to take part in solutions to local environmental challenges. Studies show that environmental education (EE) increases student achievement in many ways. By engaging students in real-world problem solving, EE builds critical thinking skills. Many educators have found that incorporating environmental themes into the curriculum results in improved performance on standardized tests and other assessments. EE has also been shown to reduce student apathy and increase motivation.

5 Great Ways to Participate in EE Week

1. Investigate and plan a green energy engineering project at your school.

2. Use examples of biomimicry to design solutions to everyday problems.

3. Construct a wildlife habitat, schoolyard garden or outdoor classroom on your campus.

4. Organize a clean-up, water quality monitoring, or school recycling event.

5. Take a virtual or in-person field trip to a local aquarium or zoo

Why Register?

EE Week participants have access to:

• Free educator webinars and toolkits offering resources and ideas for green engineering.

• Examples of other teachers who have developed and used engineering lessons to enhance environmental learning.

• Discounts, giveaways and special offers.

• Opportunities to promote your school or organization’s programs and projects.

• Monthly e-mail newsletters with classroom activities, funding resources and professional development opportunities.

Register Here!

Filed under: News,Teaching Resources
Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Sharing Ocean Acidification Resources for Communicators and Educators

March 31st, 2014 by Julie Walker

Image from SOURCE website

Sharing Ocean Acidification Resources for Communicators and Educators or SOURCE is a new webinar series that provides ocean acidification communication tools to formal & informal educators, and stakeholders across the country. One of its primary goals, is to promote a more integrated and effective ocean acidification education community by sharing ocean acidification education and communication activities virtually. With awareness of and access to these resources, the ocean acidification education and communication community will be able to utilize and continue to create cutting edge communication tools that incorporate current scientific and communication research. This series is jointly sponsored by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and Ocean Acidification Program.

Check out these upcoming webinars!

COMMUNICATING OCEAN ACIDIFICATION AROUND THE WORLD: STORIES & STRATEGIES OF USING NARRATIVES TO COMMUNICATE ACROSS BARRIERS

Between July 2012-2013, Alexis traveled on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship studying how human communities in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru might be affected by ocean acidification. She interviewed, lived and worked with hundreds of members of marine dependent communities, investigating how they valued resources threatened by ocean acidification. The vast majority of the community members she worked with had no knowledge of ocean acidification and poor ocean literacy. Over the year, she developed tools to communicate and contextualize this complex science issue across language and cultural barriers. She found the most effective method of communication was to explain the science of ocean acidification in a personalized, narrative format, drawing from the lives of her audience to make connections between ocean acidification and resources and practices they value. In this webinar, she will share examples of how she listened and learned from her audiences and structured communication platforms for diverse communities, ranging from Seventh Day Adventists in the Cook Islands to scallop farmers in Peru. She will explain her methodology and discuss how formal and informal educators can design narrative tools suited for their own audiences.

Join in on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 4:00 pm Eastern Time

BRINGING OCEAN ACIDIFICATION RESEARCH TO THE CLASSROOM A SYSTEMS THINKING APPROACH

Presenter: Claudia Ludwig, Institute of Systems Biology

Primary audience: Teachers, Formal Educators

Date/Time: Wednesday, April 23rd, 6pm ET

Project Website: http://baliga.systemsbiology.net/drupal/education/?q=content/ocean-acidification-systems-approach-global-problem

This work is funded by National Science Foundation OCE-0928561 (to Mónica V. Orellana and Nitin S. Baliga).

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: A WASHINGTON STATE HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULAR FRAMEWORK

Presenters: Meg Chadsey & Paul Williams, Washington State Sea Grant

Primary Audience: Teachers, formal educators

Date/time: Wednesday, May 14th 6pm ET

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

New Webinar – Explore! Marvel Moon

March 24th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Image from Earth to Sky Partnership

If you include Earth’s Moon in your interpretation and environmental education or have wanted to but aren’t sure where to begin, you may want to attend this webinar!

This free 2-hour webinar will be held Thursday March 27 at noon Pacific/1:00 Mountain/2:00 Central/3:00 Eastern Time.

It is sponsored by Earth to Sky in partnership with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA’s Lunar Science Institute.

These Partners have worked with informal educators to develop a set of materials and hands-on activities designed for use with youth ages 8-13, and their families. They use food, art, storytelling, and interactive investigations to celebrate our Moon. The webinar will introduce you to these activities; include chat time with a NASA lunar scientist; and provide opportunity for you to brainstorm how best to use these activities and materials at your site and to give feedback on the activities and materials.

Participants who develop an action plan for using webinar content in their work will be eligible to win a free kit, which will include binoculars, samples of moon-like rocks, a mini Moon globe and a binder of resources.

During this webinar you will:

  • Experience aselection of hands-on science activities designed for use with children ages 8-13. Explore: Marvel Moon activities rely on inexpensive materials and can be flexibly implemented to suit the needs of your site. They use food, art, storytelling, and interactive investigations to celebrate our Moon! Download the Marvel Moon materials, including step-by-step activity guides, facilitator background information, lists of recommended supporting media, and more at www.lpi.usra.edu/explore/marvelMoon. We will provide a materials list so that you may collect some common items and try out the activities at your computer during the webinar.
  • Chat with a NASA lunar scientist.
  • Brainstorm how to best leverage your site’s resources and priorities to engage and excite children about the Moon.
  • Earn a certificate of completion.
  • Be invited to provide feedback on the activities and webinar experience to help inform the development of future NASA resources and opportunities!

GET MORE INFO HERE!

Filed under: News,Training
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Julie Walker is the Chesapeake Research Consortium / Chesapeake Bay Program's Fostering Chesapeake Stewardship Staffer.

Keep Maryland Beautiful Awards

March 17th, 2014 by Julie Walker

Students from the Greenmount School harvesting sunflower seeds to use for birdseed. The plants grew in garden beds funded by Keep Maryland Beautiful. Image from MD DNR web blog

The Keep Maryland Beautiful Program was established in 1967 as the first program administered by the Maryland Environmental Trust. Keep Maryland Beautiful Program is partially funded by the Maryland State Highway Administration and provides grants to non-profit organizations and schools to support environmental education and demonstration projects that enhance and maintain the environment.

Maryland Environmental Trust accepts applications annually for the following two categories: the Margaret Rosch Jones Awards and the Bill James Environmental Grants.

The Margaret Rosch Jones Award of up to $2,000.00 is awarded to non-profit groups or communities for an ongoing project or activity that has demonstrated success in solving an environmental issue, whether local or statewide. This award recognizes those organizations that have been actively educating people in their community about litter prevention, community beautification, or eliminating or reducing the causes of a local environmental problem.

The Bill James Environmental Grant of up to $1,000.00 is awarded to school groups, science and ecology clubs, and other nonprofit youth groups for proposed environmental education projects.

The objectives of the grants are to:

• Encourage a sense of stewardship and personal responsibility for the environment

• Stimulate a better understanding of environmental issues

• Aid in the elimination or reduction of a local environmental problem

• Encourage education about growth management protection of rural areas and sensitive resources while

discouraging sprawl development

For more information  of applying check out Maryland DNR website. Completed applications must be received by March 31, 2014.

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