Environment & Sustainability
Education Resources

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Equity is a word that is often used to encompass work towards Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. At E3 WA, we strive to be a JEDI force for good in the field of environmental education. In each newsletter, we will share an article or tool that provides insight or guidance to help us as individuals, corporations and communities move across the continuum towards being antiracist and towards truly addressing inequities. In this issue, we are happy to share the Crucial Importance of Me by Marcelo Bonta, which was published in the JEDI Heart. This brief but impactful article speaks to personal accountability—being the master of your own self and taking responsibility for your behavior all the time. We hope this fuels you today to go forth JEDI environmentalists and change the world for good.

EPA Announces Northwest Winners of Presidential Environmental Youth Award, Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation's air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation's youth.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.



Broad View Elementary Green Club, Oak Harbor, Washington

Worm Soup and Growing Green

The Green Club set goals for their project:

--reduce the amount of waste generated at the school during lunch;

--spread kindness and beautify their community;

--teach students about gardening and plants; and

--make the planet a better place to live. 

The students performed a waste audit and did extensive research. To reduce the amount of trash produced at school, they installed worm bins (built by a local community business) to compost the food scraps from their cafeteria.  The students also convinced the school’s food service provider to switch from “sporks” to metal-ware to limit the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.  Since the school already used a dishwasher and reusable trays, the change to metal-ware made economic sense. 

The students took on leadership roles throughout the project by being responsible for the monitoring and dumping of the food scraps in the compost bin since the beginning of the project.  The next step was to start growing a school garden using the soil created by the worms.  In planting the garden, they purposefully included flowers in the garden rather than only just growing edible plants.  The students grew flowers to make flower arrangements to spread kindness to a local retirement community.  By last June they were growing snapdragons, potatoes, tulips, dahlias, artichokes and many other plants and edibles.  Students learned how to make flower arrangements from a local florist. 

The student leaders of the club help train other students in gardening, composting, and the school recycling program.  The teachers and students have been inspired to start composting at home.  This project helped the Broad View Elementary School be recognized as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, and the Oak Harbor School District is being recognized in 2019 as a Department of Education Green Ribbon School District. 

The students have more plans: planting more trees, creating a native garden, getting more irrigation to support the native plant garden, and possibly expand the food and flower gardens. 


PEYA WINNER Grade 6–12

Hunter Bren, Hailey, Idaho

Restoration and Preservation of Deer Creek in the Aftermath of the Beaver Creek Fire

When he was only 9 years old Hunter Bren founded the organization, Deer Creek Nature, Inc. in the aftermath of the Beaver Creek Fire in 2013. The fire almost destroyed his home while decimating over 114,000 acres of the Sawtooth National Forest. After the fire, there was an unanswered need for research and restoration of the land. Hunter got together experts like employees from the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to help answer his questions. He found community volunteers to help in the restoration and created a non-profit to restore the land and educate youth. 

 Hunter has since spent spring and summer holidays removing thousands of invasive species and planted over 1,000 native plants and collected data on the recovery of the fire. Hunter has successfully helped in rebuilding of natural habitats that now harbor new wildlife. In 2016, he created a summer ecological program for youth interested in learning how to protect the ecosystem, which over 20 students have attended.  Hunter recruited seven volunteers and found financial sponsors to cover the program’s basic costs.  He has also leveraged his impact through the power of storytelling and won an award for his first short story, “Nature Calls” which was published in 2018 in the Skipping Stones Magazine. 

PEYA Honorable Mention Grade 6–12

Ashwin Sivakumar, Forest Grove, Oregon (Student now lives in California)

Restoration and Conservation Using Community Science and Remote Sensing

Ashwin is a lifelong birder and has spent many hours at the Fernhill Wetlands.  When Oregon’s Clean Water Services undertook a massive habitat restoration project, Ashwin was very interested in how it affected the birds at Fernhill.  He was interested in developing an inexpensive and reusable methodology to quantitatively correlate physical changes in the environment with bird population changes.  He partnered with organizations to combine satellite, climate, and community science data to analyze the impact of habitat change to avian populations at Fernhill.  His work validated several original assumptions made during the design of the Fernhill restoration and revealed several previously unobserved and unexpected effects of the habitat restoration on several species. 

The methodology Ashwin developed for his study can be used by wildlife refuge managers to help guide other habitat modifications. He has presented his research at several conferences and contributed valuable data to track changes in bird distribution, invasive species, and migratory behavior for community science projects. Ashwin recently initiated the Go Native Project for which he is recruiting volunteers to raise awareness and promote the use of native plant species in urban landscapes.


PEYA Honorable Mention Grade 6–12

High school students, International Community School, Redmond/Sammamish, WA   


BEEeducated started as a small group of students from the International Community School who were passionate about the environment and saving the rapidly declining bee pollination. Seeing how critical pollinators are for their ecosystem and economy, the students wanted to support them by planting pollinator gardens, fulfilling the National Pollinator Garden Network’s goal of one million pollinator gardens. The mission of the group is to empower youth to work with their communities to help bees thrive once again. 

The group’s first project was planting a sustainable pollinator garden at Ebright Park with Washington Native Plant Stewards.  From there, the students created a launch kit with a list of steps and resources to help other schools plant pollinator gardens at their own schools. Recently, the group collaborated with MIT developers on an app dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of bees. The app was sent to over 700 donors and has been downloaded over 300 times nationwide, creating a measured impact of over 1,000 people.   

The students are now working with six King County schools to establish pollinator gardens. For example, one school can reduce its waste by establishing a pollinator garden, sending food scraps to a composting facility, and using their free compost to enhance the nutrients in the soil, and thus creating an environment more conducive to the growth of pollinator flowers. 


Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

Anne McHugh -- Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with EPA, administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods.

Anne and the other winning teachers were invited to attend this month’s EPA national award ceremony in Washington, DC. At the national award ceremony, the teacher awardees received a Presidential award plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education.   Also, the teachers’ schools will receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs.

Here are some excerpts from Ms. McHugh’s award nomination.

--Ms. McHugh’s goal is for K-12 students to participate in authentic scientific research.

--Her approach develops deep scientific literacy within students, giving them a tool that allows them to interpret information and make decisions across a variety of fields.

--She leverages her professional connections with scientists at NASA and universities, allowing students to participate in classroom-based research collaborating with these research scientists.

--Ms. McHugh has designed curriculum to engage students inside and outside the classroom with the intellectual work of science and the opportunity to experience discovery.

--By using scientific research processes, students become experts through their questions and curiosity and through engagement in real scientific research in the classroom.

--Anne has developed unique environmental science projects to help her students understand that science is not a collection of facts, but a set of questions yet to be answered. The students learn to think critically and logically through a set of authentic research and engineering design challenges, and by connections with research scientists.

Three projects are:

--Students investigated how cyanobacteria respond to their environment;

--Working with NASA, students studied how microbes colonize aquaponic systems;

--Students completed spider inventories in their school yards and learned the role spiders play in ecosystems.

Ms. McHugh also supervises an aquaponics club with students from four area high schools.  Students who started working with her in 2017 are currently leading an effort to publish a scientific manuscript, share their results at professional meetings, (including the state and national Aquaponics Association meetings), and collaborate with other teachers and students.

Ms. McHugh’s award application is replete with examples of her dedication to her students, other students, and teachers.

Dr. Susan Holyeck, Program Administrator for Science Education in Portland Public Schools:

--The work that Anne has been doing has not only inspired students but is inspiring teachers.  This year, her aquaponics projects expanded to include 400 students and 3 other teachers. We have plans next year to add her aquaponic project to the district curriculum in our Junior level biology class.  This biology curriculum has been co-developed by three school districts, with 17 districts in Oregon using it. 

--We have already added her Arthropod Inventory Project to the shared curriculum, which means that nearly one third of the students in the state of Oregon are engaging in this project. 

Learn more about the Presidents Environmental Youth Award

More information on the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators:

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

  • Relationship development

  • Active supervision

  • Behavior specific praise

  • Pre-correction

  • Correct misbehavior in private

  • Increase opportunities to respond

  • Restorative practices

  • Collaborative problem-solving

  • 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...

Yale Climate Opinion Maps

from NAAEE EEPro resources by Karen Hollweg June 11, 2018

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 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 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 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 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:

  1. Reducing environmental impacts and costs.

  2. Improving the health and wellness of students and staff.

  3. Providing education on the environment and sustainability while incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); civic skills; and green career pathways.


NEEF: Apps for Outdoor Activity

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: Children and Nature Infographic

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
among students.”
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

  • environmental stewardship

  • 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.

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.

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.

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

Creating a Garden Paradise for Birds - And Humans

And, Search the BirdNote Archives   BirdNote has more than  1,400  shows archived on their website. You can search to find 2-minute shows about birds and their lives —learn more about the  Northern Flicker ,  Bald Eagle , or  Swainson's Thrush .

And, Search the BirdNote Archives

BirdNote has more than 1,400 shows archived on their website. You can search to find 2-minute shows about birds and their lives —learn more about the Northern Flicker, Bald Eagle, or Swainson's Thrush.


Climate Change, Ocean Acidification + Art + Craft

The Institute for Figuring

The Institute for Figuring

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

Place-Based Education by Getting Smart

Find more at  Get Smart

Find more at Get Smart

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.


And, find helpful teaching Resources such as the Pacific Education Institute's

Project Based Learning Model or Designing High-Impact Field Experiences

Recommend other resources by writing a blog for E3: send to leschenbach@e3washington.org.