Tuesday, March 30, 2010

North Carolina Environmental Education Week!

Gov. Beverly Perdue has proclaimed the week of April 11-17 as "North Carolina Environmental Education Week." The proclamation was read last week at the North Carolina Children and Nature Network Conference by State Representative Pat Hurley of Randolph County. North Carolina EE Week is part of a nation-wide effort to promote environmental literacy during the week before Earth Day. (View the proclamation.)

Since 2004, the National Environmental Education Foundation has coordinated the implementation of National EE Week. Working in partnership with various federal, local and state agencies and organizations, EE Week engages the participation of thousands of educators and millions of students and adults. It is the largest organized environmental education event in the United States. This year, the event is sponsored by the Walmart Foundation.

The N.C. Office of Environmental Education is promoting EE Week,
Earth Day and Arbor Day programs and events statewide in April using its Web site, http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/. On the Web site, individuals can use an online calendar to view environmental education activities across the state. Visitors can search for North Carolina Environmental Education Centers and teachers and nonformal educators can search for environmental education resources tailored to different ages and subjects. The office also encourages schools, organizations and agencies to sign
up as a participants in National EE Week at http://www.eeweek.org/.

Lisa Tolley, director of the N.C. Office of Environmental Education, hopes their Web site will help get children and adults outside this spring and introduce them to the benefits of environmental education activities.

“April is a great time to celebrate all the exciting outdoor events and programs going on in North Carolina. We want to help people find outdoor experiences and environmental education activities in their own community and at facilities they can visit across the state.”

For a list of environmental education activities in April, visit the N.C. Office of Environmental Education Calendar.

The Office of Environmental Education invites environmental education centers, parks, government agencies, cities, counties, schools and non-profit organizations to post their EE Week and Earth Day events on the Environmental Education Calendar. The office will then promote all of these events on their Web site, through press releases and on the NC-EE listserv. If your agency or organization is not listed as an organization on the Web site, these instructions show you how to register and post events.

Friday, March 19, 2010

U.S. House Passes The Ocean, Coastal and Watershed Education Act

The National Wildlife Federation reports that the U.S. House of Representatives today (March 19th) passed a bipartisan bill to promote nature education and advance science literacy in America’s classrooms. Introduced by Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA - 23) last September, H.R. 3644 will authorize a national Environmental Literacy Grant Program and a regional Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The House is also expected to vote as soon as this weekend on the Public Lands Service Corps Act to provide young people with service and job opportunities on public lands.

Read the full release from the National Wildlife Federation.

photo by rendo79

Looking for A Summer Job? (Or An "All Year" Job?)

The North Carolina Office of Environmental Education's Jobs and Internships page is brimming with full-time and part-time environmental education related employment and internship opporutnities. Several new positions have been posted recently.

There are new full-time positions, as well as summer opportunities for students and teachers that want hands-on employment or internships in environmental education or science.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Environmental Education Center Friday!

It’s Environmental Education Center Friday!

Did you know that today (March 19th) is Arbor Day? While national Arbor Day is on the last Friday in April, the official North Carolina Arbor Day is celebrated on the first Friday after March 15. Some cities may celebrate Arbor Day at different times, depending on the best time of the year to plant trees in that area. You can learn more about Arbor Day in N.C. in this press release from the N.C. Division of Forest Resources.

Several N.C. Environmental Education Centers have forestry as their main focus, and many more offer programs and exhibits on trees, forests and forestry. Be sure to check out our EE Events page for Arbor Day events in your area. They run now through national Arbor Day.

Here are some EE Centers that focus on forestry. Each of these provides forestry education as well as a wide variety of other environmental education programs on air, water, wildlife and much more.

· The N.C. Division of Forest Resources operates seven Educational State Forests across the state. If you have never visited one, you have missed a treat!

· There is also the North Carolina Museum of Forestry, located in Whiteville, NC. This museum celebrates the story of the natural history and cultural heritage of North Carolina forests through exhibits, educational programming and special events.

· Finally, there is the well-known Forest Discovery Center at the Cradle of Forestry in America, located in Pisgah Forest. Spanning over 100 years of forest conservation history, the Cradle of Forestry offers a snap shot of life at America’s first school of Forestry along the Biltmore Campus Trail. You can also take a picturesque walk along the Forest Festival Trail complete with a restored 1915 logging locomotive, or take a ride with firefighters aboard a helicopter on their way to a roaring fire in the wilds of Idaho in the Forest Discovery Center Exhibit Hall.

photo by samtron9

Friday, March 12, 2010

NC Beautiful Announces Recipients of 2010 Windows of Opportunity Grants

NC Beautiful, a provider of environmental education and beautification opportunities that elevate the quality of life of North Carolinians, has announced this year's recipients of the organization's environmental education grants. Twelve schools were awarded Windows of Opportunity Grants, representing a total of over $11,000 in educational grants. The grants are available to certified, full-time K-12 teachers in the state of North Carolina.

Windows of Opportunity provides up to $1,000 grants to NC teachers to reward their creativity fostering environmental stewardship, leadership, and awareness and initiating a sense of community service. Each grant applicant was required to complete a five-section online application that included a two-page project narrative, budget, and commitment letter, which commits the school to complete the projected work. Each school must use its grant by June 2010.

NC Beautiful Executive Director, Steve Vacendak, says that the goal of the NC Beautiful is to annually offer a Windows of Opportunity grant in all 100 counties in North Carolina. "Promoting and fostering environmental stewardship is a state-wide commitment," says Vacendak. "NC Beautiful remains committed to expanding our communication efforts to ensure that every school in the state has the opportunity to take advantage of this valuable resource so that everyone can connect to make North Carolina beautiful."

The Windows of Opportunity Grants were created to cultivate an appreciation of natural environments by helping children get out of school and into natural settings. The grants also build leadership awareness, develop environmental educational mentors and ambassadors, create materials and resources that can be used by other K-12 students, and develop a sustainable, outdoor program, which will continue well after the grant period ends.

The following is a list of the 2010 Windows of Opportunity Grant recipients, including name of the teacher submitting the winning entry:

  • Nancy Bryant, Burlington Christian Academy, Burlington (Alamance County)

    Crystal Hendrix, Ira B. Jones Elementary School, Asheville (Buncombe County)

    Becky Leousis, Shawboro Elementary, Shawboro (Currituck County)

    Kristen Snyder, George Watts Montessori, Durham (Durham County)

    Ruth McDaniel, Southern High School, Durham (Durham County)

    Zenda Cloniger, The Children's Center, Winston-Salem (Forsyth County)

    Susan Parker, Buckland Elementary, Gates (Gates County)

    Kathleen Conroy, Providence Spring Elementary School, Charlotte (Mecklenburg County)

    Beth Carter, Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, Wilmington (New Hanover County)

    Kathleen Lester, Swansboro Elementary School, Swansboro (Onslow County)

    Lara Brickhouse, EB Aycock Middle School, Greenville (Pitt County)

    Tedi McManus, Gardners Elementary, Elm City (Wilson County)

    About NC Beautiful
    NC Beautiful has been part of the state's environmental preservation community for over 40 years-supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts that affect our quality of life. Today, we concentrate on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower our citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state of North Carolina. Whether it's school children building outdoor classrooms, graduate students developing cutting edge research, or a Boy Scout troop planting azaleas at an elder care facility, we make it possible for North Carolinians to keep NC Beautiful. For more information, visit http://www.ncbeautiful.org/.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Love-A-Tree" Healthy Trees, Healthy People Program Kicks Off at the Charlotte Nature Museum, March 9th

Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor
Dee Freeman, Secretary

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Release: Immediate Contact: Marty Wiggins
Date: Mar. 8, 2010 Phone: (919) 733-0711

Statewide “Love-A-Tree” Environmental Education Program Kicks Off Tomorrow

CHARLOTTE – Children and local students visiting the Charlotte Nature Museum tomorrow at 11 a.m. will join guests from International Paper, the Environmental Education Fund and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to participate in activities from this year's statewide "Love-A-Tree" Environmental Education Program.

The N.C. Office of Environmental Education has distributed materials from the “Love-A-Tree” Environmental Education Program to more than 2,000 teachers and environmental educators from across North Carolina, and estimates that a total of 3,000 will be circulated by year’s end. The kits are designed for 4th and 5th grade teachers and are correlated to the state standard course of study for science, social studies and healthful living. The materials are also adaptable to other grade levels and curricula. Love-A-Tree is provided at no cost through funds provided by the International Paper Foundation to the Environmental Education Fund, a nonprofit organization based in North Carolina. The program is managed and distributed by the Office of Environmental Education.

The theme of this year’s packet is “Healthy Trees, Healthy People,” and integrates environmental education, health and physical fitness. The packet includes a lesson plan book with activities provided by agencies within DENR, including: the Office of Environmental Education, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, the N.C. Zoo, Parks and Recreation, Water Resources, Coastal Management, Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, the N.C. Aquariums, Forest Resources and Soil and Water Conservation. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Project WET, N.C. Project Learning Tree and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Healthy Schools Section also contributed to the booklet. “We are grateful to the International Paper Foundation and the Environmental Education Fund for their support of this program,” said Lisa Tolley, director of the Office of Environmental Education. “We would be unable to distribute such a large number of these valuable resources without their support.”

"This marks the 12th year of our partnership with the Office of Environmental Education and the Environmental Education Fund,” said Deano Orr, International Paper’s regional government relations manager for North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. “This successful program exemplifies International Paper's commitment to our communities and the environment.”

The packet also includes a copy of the Guide to Environmental Education Centers in North Carolina. This publication features 190 environmental education centers located throughout the state. The Office of Environmental Education produced the guide to assist teachers, afterschool program providers and other educators with finding quality local field trip destinations. The Charlotte Nature Museum is one of the facilities featured in the guide.