Environment & Sustainability
How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say Researchers have now quantified the ideal amount of time needed to reap the health benefits of the great outdoors
Excerpted from the New York Times
By Knvul Sheikh
June 13, 2019
It’s a medical fact: Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is good for you.
A wealth of research indicates that escaping to a neighborhood park, hiking through the woods, or spending a weekend by the lake can lower a person’s stress levels, decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while boosting mental health and increasing life expectancy. Doctors around the world have begun prescribing time in nature as a way of improving their patients’ health.
One question has remained: How long, or how frequently, should you experience the great outdoors in order to reap its great benefits? Is there a recommended dose? Just how much nature is enough?
According to a paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, the answer is about 120 minutes each week.
The study examined data from nearly 20,000 people in England who took part in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey from 2014 to 2016, which asked them to record their activities within the past week. It found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.
Also: Leer en espanol
Pisces Foundation recently shared two resources: on diversity, equity and inclusion pathways and environmental education literacy.
A new report from lead author, Dr. Dorceta Taylor, and her research associates, Kit Price and Ember McCoy, from University of Michigan presents the findings of a study that examines programming in environmental organizations. The goal is to find out:
(a) how many institutions have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) pathway programming;
(b) what kinds of programs exist;
(c) where are organizations with diversity programs located; and
(d) what kinds of support existing programs provide.
For more information, go to: Diversity Pathways: Broadening Participation in Environmental Organizations
Nicole Ardoin, Mele Wheaton, Archana Kannan, from Stanford University published a series of research/practice briefs related to three EE programming considerations: pathways, progressions, and dosage. Specifically, they discuss:
(1) potential avenues for considering pathways in environmental literacy, informed primarily by science education;
(2) learning, developmental, and environmental literacy progressions; and
(3) dosage, as applied in and relevant to the notion of environmental education, informed by perspectives from other sectors and fields.
For more, go to Children and Nature Network
Climate Science Education
At NAAEE in Spokane, E3 Washington gathered educators to share climate science education resources. NOAA shared the new ready-to-use resources available: NOAA Education and CLEAN Network. The Quinault Tribe and School shared their partnerships work involving students in tribal natural resources projects. We learned to use the Pacific Education Institute’s Performance Task on Ocean Acidification. And, we looked at the National Climate Assessment report to teach students to understand the stories behind data tables.
We hope you’ll check out some of these great resources. Washington State is proud to be the first state in the country to fund climate science education.
An Incredible Journey
By NOAA Fisheries
Looking for a good read for your students? This children's book introduces elementary schoolers to the salmon life cycle and concepts such as ecosystems, keystone species, salmon culture, and stewardship. The book concludes with six case studies about kids who are making a difference on salmon-related issues.
Primary Sources: Environmental Journalism Sources
by Lisa Eschenbach
Maybe you want to read up on environmental issues in Washington State…or, maybe you’re looking for good articles for your students. I’ve got a few recommendations.
EarthFix is a collaboration between Washington and Oregon public radio and television focused on environmental stories. Their currently articles are about fires in the west, new wolf pups born in the Oregon Cascades and how climate change could encourage crop consuming insects. Some of these articles come with accompanying video or audio clips.
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Check out the Quarterly Magazine for great short articles. Your students can read about current tribal fisheries and natural resource management. The Summer 2018 magazine had an article on the Elwha Dam restoration project, using drones to survey streams and trapping non-native green crabs.
This site features news on a wide array of topics. Articles can be adjusted for different reading levels. I searched for Pacific Northwest and found articles on the Cascade Butterfly Project, plans to protect orca whales, and the geology of Mount St. Helens. You can also search by reading level or text level. They also have articles in Spanish.
Enjoy your reading.
Washington State has Adopted New Rules on Student Discipline
Increased emphasis is placed on lowering overall discipline rates. OSPI resources point out that "Recent Research shows that teacher-student relationships are key to mitigating behavior issues while reducing racial gaps in discipline referrals." They also identified the importance of culturally relevant teaching.
Positive Discipline approaches include:
Teach, model and reinforce expected behaviors
Developing classroom procedures
Behavior specific praise
Correct misbehavior in private
Increase opportunities to respond
Function based thinking/ assessments
Engaging students through positive relationships improves teacher and student experiences.
STEM Teaching Tools: A Rich Collection
The University of Washington's Institute for Math + Science Education with support from the National Science Foundation has created a repository of Resources to support STEM education with a focus on NGSS, Equity and Pedagogy. There are over 30 subjects covered ranging from Field Investigations, Building on Indigenous Knowledge and the role of informal science education.
Each topic includes recommended actions you can take.
#12 Climate Change: Recommended Actions You Can Take
Review the Global Climate Change Core Idea (ESS3.D) from the NRC Framework...
Engage students in citizen science projects like the National Phenology Network...
Have student develop arguments around multiple lines of evidence, including data from predictive climate models...
Use a systems-based approach to teach the large-scale cause and effect dynamics of climate change science...
Now you can go to Yale Climate Opinion Maps and see how the people in your town, county or Congressional District think about Climate Change! At the top of the map, you can select from a drop-down list the question you want to see displayed – for example: Whether schools should teach about global warming, whether people trust climate scientists about global warming, or one of many other questions. The display will then show both the results for your area and how that compares to the national average. It’s a great tool for learning about the views of the residents in your area, and is very easy to use! Think about the value of this data in working with Administrators or other decision-makers! Students could also find it interesting to explore differences in your state and across the country.
The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication has just won the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovator's Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the leading organization of survey researchers in the U.S., due to the cutting edge nature of their work. You’ll be amazed at the amount of information that’s displayed and how easy it is to access.
Please share with a post on NAAEE eePro how you are using this data so that we can all learn from your work!
2018 Green Ribbon Schools
Four Washington elementary schools received honors for their efforts in environmental sustainability, STEM, and wellness.
OLYMPIA—May 16, 2018—The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) congratulates the four Washington schools that have been named 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
Washington is among states with the most Green Ribbon awardees, surpassed only by Georgia and California, which have five recognized schools.
This year’s honorees from Washington are:
Broad View Elementary (Oak Harbor School District)
Broad View Elementary School has focused on saving both energy and water. Furthermore, their total school solid waste has reduced by 30 percent since they began their composting program, which is led by the fourth graders. (photographed above)
Weyerhaeuser Elementary (Eatonville School District)
Weyerhaeuser Elementary School has a strong tie to the land, and students learn in their school’s Wildcat Woods as well as the district’s new farm. Food service is beginning to outline a process to serve local farm produce in the cafeteria. (photographed right)
Carnation Elementary (Riverview School District)
Carnation Elementary has long been a part of the King County Green Schools program and is now a “Level 4” sustaining school, meaning they add a new sustainability project each year. This year a student team works on getting water bottle filling stations and a reusable water bottle for every student in the school. (photographed left)
Eatonville Elementary (Eatonville School District)
Eatonville Elementary School has a strong focus on STEM learning, as well as other content areas such as ELA and the Arts, all engaged through a lens of environmental learning. Extensive community partnerships support this work.
“You have accomplished a great feat in the service of your environment,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “Thank you for leading the way in this important mission that impacts everyone. With your positive example, Washington students can practice the values of sustainability, conservation, and they can engage in green industries statewide.”
To reach the Green Ribbon Schools status, districts and schools were required to meet three key pillars:
Reducing environmental impacts and costs.
Improving the health and wellness of students and staff.
Providing education on the environment and sustainability while incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); civic skills; and green career pathways.
A supplement to the Get into Nature for Better Health brochure, NEEF’s Apps for Outdoor Activity lists 10 free apps, providing children and their families ideas on where to go and what to do outdoors.
NEEF's Children and Nature Infographic in English and Spanish offers a visual display of the current state of children and nature and how being active in nature can lead to improved health outcomes.
NOAA and National Wildlife Foundation Climate Change Education
Thanks to Governor Inslee and the Washington Legislature, our state is embarking on a unique climate education initiative. Check out the new NOAA New Toolbox for Teaching Climate & Energy. Check out:
National Wildlife Foundation Eco-Schools USA (Step 2).
Climate Classroom Kids is under (Step 5).
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Education (Step 5).
NWF EcoLeaders and GreenForce Initiative (Step 5)
Enter the School Climate Solutions Challenge (Step 6)
Looking for High Quality Environment and Sustainability Lessons?
Have you visited the new OSPI Department of Environment and Sustainability webpage? Not only is Rochelle Gandour-Rood leading excellent regional meetings (upcoming in Mukilteo and Vancouver), but she and the OSPI team have compiled great local resources for Washington Educators in and out of classrooms. We especially appreciate storytelling master Roger Fernandes' stories with science lesson tie-ins. You can also find the course framework for the Sustainable Design and Technology Course.
Visit the OSPI Environment and Sustainability Page
We also recommend you visit the Native Education page for more resources including the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty curriculum. Learn how you can connect with your local tribe. We know students succeed better when they see themselves in our stories: about natural resources, environmental stewardship, business management and community leadership.
Visit the Native Education Page
Want more? Expand your search with the NAAEE national resource clearninghouse EEPRO.
Western Washington University Releases
Sustainability Action Plan
Western Washington University has released its Sustainability Action Plan, which will serve as the university’s roadmap for protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health.
“The completion of the Sustainability Action Plan is a milestone in Western’s commitment to sustainability. It not only advances a vision for how all members of the Western community can embrace and implement sustainable practices, it expands our thinking about how sustainability is connected to other important Western values, including social justice,” said Western President Sabah Randhawa. For more information, go to: Western Today
Adults and children differ in where they locate unforgettable, authentic nature
A new study by the Nature of Americans has found that:
"For children, nature is located quite literally right out the door. Special places outdoors and unforgettable memories often consist of back yards or nearby woods, creeks, and gardens. Adults also describe nature as consisting of the trees, beaches, animals, flowers, and lakes near where they live. But in contrast to children, adults tend to set a high and even impossible standard for what they perceive to be “authentic” and “pure” nature, believing that it requires solitude and travel to faraway places, which reinforces their perceptions of the inaccessibility of nature...
Furthermore, we suggest that programs use overlapping interests between children and adults to promote inter-generational participation, leveraging our finding that children learn about and experience nature most often with a family member."
Check out the rest of this and other studies.....
Powerful New Study Shows EE Teaches on Many Levels
"There is a mountain of evidence that suggests
EE is a powerful way to teach students. Over 100
studies found that it provides transformative
learning opportunities. There is no doubt that
environmental education is one of the most
effective ways to instill a passion for learning
Dr. Nicole Ardoin, Stanford University Graduate School of Education and Woods Institute for the Environment
Dr. Ardoin's study found that in addition to environmental literacy and academic skills, students gain:
emotional and social skills
engagement or motivation in learning, and
civic interest and responsibility.
98% percent of the 100 studies she examined found increased academic achievement as a result of environmental education. When students look at real-life problems through environmental education, they also develop critical thinking and communication skills.
Download the full article through eeWORKS, a program of NAAEE, Stanford, and other partners.
Goldman Environmental Prize Honors Six Heroes of the Environment
Award recognizes activists from Australia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Slovenia, United States
SAN FRANCISCO, April 24, 2017 — The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced the six recipients of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.
This year’s winners are:
RODRIGUE MUGARUKA KATEMBO, Democratic Republic of Congo
Putting his life on the line, Rodrigue Katembo went undercover to document and release information about bribery and corruption in the quest to drill for oil in Virunga National Park, resulting in public outrage that forced the company to withdraw from the project.
PRAFULLA SAMANTARA, India
An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, Prafulla Samantara led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.
UROS MACERL, Slovenia
Uroš Macerl, an organic farmer from Slovenia, successfully stopped a cement kiln from co-incinerating petcoke with hazardous industrial waste by rallying legal support from fellow activists and leveraging his status as the only citizen allowed to challenge the plant’s permits.
WENDY BOWMAN, Australia
In the midst of an onslaught of coal development in Australia, octogenarian Wendy Bowman stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental destruction.
MARK! LOPEZ, United States
Born and raised in a family of community activists, mark! Lopez persuaded the state of California to provide comprehensive lead testing and cleanup of East Los Angeles homes contaminated by a battery smelter that had polluted the community for over three decades.
RODRIGO TOT, Guatemala
An indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, Rodrigo Tot led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people and kept environmentally destructive nickel mining from expanding into his community.
About the Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.
Congratulations to these dedicated environmental heroes!
Learn about our feathered friends from our new Partner: BirdNote
Climate Change, Ocean Acidification + Art + Craft
For the past 10 years, sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim have been leading a collaborative crochet project to build visual models of healthy and unhealthy coral reefs.
The sisters Wertheim weave science and math into their dynamic crochet coral reef exhibits.
Check out Margaret's TED talk on the project: Here
Project Based Education
We know our environment needs innovative, collaborative and creative solutions.
There is no end to the work students can do to improve our environment. For example, students monitor energy usage in schools, they decrease food waste, plant gardens, restore native ecosystems and collect ecological data.
Check out Washington Green School school projects to "green" your school.