Environment & Sustainability
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
- 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.
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.