For many of our teachers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the school year is either wrapping-up or already over. As you clean-out for classroom before summer vacation, remember that there is still plenty you can do to help the Chesapeake Bay! Here are some great bay-friendly tips and resources to help you prepare for your well deserved summer break:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: It may seem obvious, but as you clean out your classroom this year think about what you will need next year. Don’t just think about your curriculum materials, but about all of the “things” that you have accumulated throughout the year. Careful planning and organization can help you reduce the amount of new materials you need to buy next fall and find ways to reuse what you already have, thus reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and the number of natural resources that are used to create new “things.” Many broken or outdated resources can also be recycled.
- Waste: What Can You Do At School? Resources for Faculty and Staff – U.S. EPA
- Resource Conservation: Reduce and Reuse – U.S. EPA
- Resource Conservation: Recycle – U.S. EPA
Before you throw away or recycle good quality materials you no longer want to use, check to see if other teachers in your school or county have any need for them. New teachers in particular may be looking for things to brighten up their classrooms or to enhance their lessons next year. If your school system has an online marketplace, try posting usable, but unwanted items there as “free” to help get the word out.
Prepare Your Schoolyard Habitat for Summer: Remember that over the summer, your school’s maintenance and ground-care procedures may change. You don’t want to come back in the fall to find that the rain garden, wildlife habitat, or native flower plot you spent so much time planning, constructing, and maintaining the previous year is in a state of disrepair because no one watered the plants or because summer facility care staff did not know to avoid mowing the area.
- Summer Maintenance for your Schoolyard Habitat – National Wildlife Federation webinar recording
- Summer Care of the Schoolyard Habitat – Children & Nature Network
- Stop the Bulldozers! Saving Schoolyard Habitat During the Summer and Throughout the Year – Children & Nature Network
And last, but certainly not least…
Make Plans to Enjoy the Chesapeake! Whether you are a teacher or a student, one of the best ways to get reenergized for learning or teaching about the watershed is to have a fun experience that connects you to it. Go sailing, take a beachside stroll, hop in a kayak, grab a fishing poll, or visit a local park where you can watch for wildlife along the waters edge. There are many ways to reconnect with your watershed. This summer, which one will you choose?