Monday, November 30, 2009

EETAP Releases Article on EE for Culturally Diverse Groups

From the Environmental Education & Training Partnership:

Demographic changes and the emergence of a more global society have challenged the field of environmental education to be more inclusive and to offer programming that is relevant to culturally diverse groups. But what do we mean by diversity, and where is the EE field going with it? “Still Developing the Toolbox: Making EE Relevant for Culturally Diverse Groups,” by Joanne M. Lozar Glenn addresses this question and profiles five organizations working to connect their programming to the communities they serve.

(Note: This article features Ross Andrews, director of the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center in Raleigh).

From creating learning groups to reaching urban, immigrant and native audiences, these organizations address what it means to work with diverse audiences and how connecting with these communities changes what they’re doing and how that work gets done. The article includes 10 “learnings” that have emerged from environmental educators who are on the ground and at the forefront of efforts to make EE more inclusive. The article also provides a list of resources (books, articles, websites, programs, and organizations and individuals) designed to inspire readers who want to learn more about this topic and to get ideas they can apply to their own work.

Download the article

Monday, November 23, 2009

NOAA Environmental Education Bill Passes House Committee

The House Natural Resources Committee has voted 22 to 13 to send H.R. 3644 to the House floor. This bill would create a national Environmental Literacy Grant program (through NOAA) and would elevate the Bay Watershed Education and Training program to the national level. This bill was introduced by Congresswoman Lois Capps of California (See October 6 post below).

Details about the bill and a link to the full bill text is available on the Campaign for Environmental Literacy Web site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Statewide Outdoor Classroom Symposium Held in Chapel Hill

North Carolina’s first Outdoor Classroom Symposium was held October 22-24 at the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. This symposium focused on techniques for creating, maintaining and using outdoor classrooms and provided strategies for integrating outdoor learning into the curriculum. More than 150 teachers, teacher assistants, school administrators, parent volunteers, non-formal educators, landscape architects and playground designers from across the state came together for this inaugural event. The symposium was held in the N.C. Botanical Garden's new education center, which was designed to meet Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. This is the highest level of certification for green buildings.

Session topics included how to create specific types of school gardens and natural areas, how to start farm-to-school programs and how to design and use school grounds to enhance learning across the curriculum. The symposium was a partnership between the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP), the N.C. Office of Environmental Education, the Environmental Education Fund, the N.C. Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the Natural Learning Initiative at N.C. State University.

The symposium ended with Saturday tours of Piedmont-area schools, environmental education centers and farmers markets. Cam Collyer, one of the symposium's two keynote speakers who lives and works in Toronto, joined in on the tours and was very impressed with what he saw, noting that our state already has some great schoolyard learning projects for others to model. (Watch this video story about George Watts Elementary, one of the school gardens on the tour)

Speakers included Dr. Dilafruz Williams, founding director of the Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning program at Portland State University; Brian Day, executive director of the North American Association for Environmental Education; Cam Collyer, director of the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program; Beverly G. Vance, Interim Section Chief K-12 Science, N.C. Department of Public Instruction and Dr. Robin Moore, professor of Landscape Architecture at North Carolina State University and an internationally-recognized researcher and author on outdoor learning environments. N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Dee Freeman finished out the sessions with closing remarks.

Based on the positive participant feedback, the Office of Environmental Education and APNEP plan to hold follow-up workshops and future symposia. Articles and peer-reviewed research on the academic and health benefits of outdoor learning and environmental education are available on the N.C. Office of Environmental Education's Research & Data page.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

APNEP Demonstration Project Grants Open Until December 31, 2009

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program is seeking proposals for demonstration projects. Grants will be awarded by APNEP, which protects water quality and other natural resources in a 36-county area of northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and institutions in the APNEP region are eligible to apply for grant money.

The projects must have a direct environmental benefit and occur on public lands in the APNEP region. They also must have a constructed component or vegetative planting on-site, feature a strong public outreach or education element, allow for permanent public access and have methods that may be applied in other locations. Past projects included outdoor classrooms, nature trails, rain gardens, green roofs and schoolyard wetlands.

Each project may receive up to $20,000 in funding from APNEP. The APNEP Citizen’s Advisory Committee will select the proposals to be funded and determine funding amounts. Prospective grant recipients are encouraged to partner with others to leverage additional funds. The application deadline is Dec. 31. Awards will be announced in January. All awards are contingent upon the availability of funds.

For more detailed information or to download an application, visit the APNEP Web site and click on “What's New - Request for Proposals.” If you have questions about the application or eligibility requirements, contact Lori Brinn, APNEP Community Specialist.

Not in the APNEP Region? Remember that more opportunities are listed on the Office of Environmental Education's Grants and Contests and Awards pages.