Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's National Environmental Education Week!

April 12, 2010
Contact: Dan Seligson, communications director, National Environmental Education Foundation,
Students, Educators Celebrate National Environmental Education Week

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Millions of students and thousands of teachers across the country will take part this week in National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), the largest environmental education event in the United States held annually during the week leading up to Earth Day.

EE Week, a project of the National Environmental Education Foundation, runs from April 11-17, features field trips, class exercises, outdoor classrooms, school garden planting and other activities at schools, nature centers and museums. This year’s focus on the connection between water and energy will help K-12 students better understand how usage of each affects the other and empower students to come up with strategies for conservation.

In the United States, generating power consumes 3 percent of our nation's water annually and 13 percent of the energy produced in this country each year is used to treat, transport and heat our water. Conserving water saves energy, and vice versa. The water-energy connection is complex, but it provides an excellent opportunity to get students thinking about the interrelatedness of ecological and environmental concerns.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, in a message to educators said EE Week will “engage young people from every grade level and help lead us to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day later this month.” “Whether it’s taking students to explore nature, planting native species gardens to prevent runoff, or developing in-school recycling projects, these creative activities can make a positive – and lasting – difference,” Jackson said.

Diane Wood, president of the National Environmental Education Foundation, said this year’s theme provides timely lessons to students. “Water conservation and learning about the water-energy connection engages students to take an active role in problem solving,” Wood said. “Their learning, whether in classrooms, on field trips or through activities on school grounds spark ideas for solutions for conserving resources, saving water, saving energy and ultimately having a real impact in their schools and their communities.”

A seven-day lead in to Earth Day, EE Week features class outings and activities focused on the understanding and protection of the natural world. Last year, more than 2,500 partners – including schools, zoos, aquaria, nature centers and museums – took part engaging an estimated 4.5 million students around the country.

This year’s focus, “Be Water and Energy Wise” includes focused lesson plans, quizzes, water measurement kits and nature journaling exercises. The materials cut across all academic areas, from math to language arts and art to science.

In North Carolina, there are hundreds of environmental education events and programs this week, as well as numerous Earth Day events across the state. For more information on EE Week in North Carolina, contact the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs at 919-733-0711. View EE Week and Earth Day events on the office's statewide EE Calendar, http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/.

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