Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Make "Get Outside More" Your New Year's Resolution!

Need to work off some holiday calories? Kids getting bored on break? Out-of-town relatives staying longer than you thought they would?

The solution to these issues is right outside your door. Yes, it’s a little chilly, but research shows that getting outside, even in the cold, has benefits. And if a healthier lifestyle is part of your New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll be pleased to know that some doctors are now prescribing outdoor activity for a variety of conditions.

Many N.C. Environmental Education Centers and other organizations that provide environmental education have special programs planned this week and into the New Year. You can search for these in your area on the Office of Environmental Education’s Web site.

Want to know more about the benefits of environmental education and outdoor activity? Visit our EE Research and Data page.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Environmental Education Center Friday, Dec 11, 2009

Today we travel to N.C.’s ancient Uwharrie Mountains. The Caraway Conference Center and Camp is located 7 miles west of Asheboro, near Sophia. They provide a wide range of outdoor activities for conference attendees and campers in this beautiful natural setting. Camp Caraway is also the home of the A.C.O.R.N.S. (Awesome Children’s Outdoor Recreation & Nature Study) environmental education program. A.C.O.R.N.S. is designed for students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, and blends the state science curriculum with outdoor recreation to give students an outdoor learning experience that is exciting, memorable, and engaging. ACORNS is available to public, private, and homeschool groups on Tuesdays & Thursday in the late spring & early fall semesters.

Even with a nip in the air, EE Centers are a great place to visit. Visit the EE Centers online to explore more of them. As a matter of fact, outdoor recreation (even when it’s cold!) has been shown to boost mood and concentration.

Grandfather Mountain Produces "Nature Minutes"

Grandfather Mountain and Digital South Media Group have partnered to produce a series of educational "Nature Minutes" about the flora and fauna one of our newest State Parks. The nature minutes also discuss sustainability efforts and conservation. The video below takes a look at some of Grandfather's resident animals and how they deal with winter temperatures. You can view the other Nature Minutes on Grandfather Mountain's Web site.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation now operates the nature museum and attractions so many are familar with, and provides environmental education programs to the public and school groups. In 2009, Grandfather Mountain, Inc. sold 2,700 acres of the park's backcounty to the state of North Carolina for the Grandfather Mountain State Park. The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation work together to manage and protect this natural treasure for the good of the people of North Carolina.

Two N.C. Schools Win National GreenWorks! Grants

Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation, has awarded GreenWorks! grants to Franklin High School in Sylva and Old Richmond Elementary School in Tobaccoville. “These grants support students committed to helping their communities and the environment,” said Renee Strnad, North Carolina PLT co-coordinator.

Franklin High School students will work with Southwestern Community College and other partners to restore habitat along a portion of the Little Tennessee River Greenway in Franklin, North Carolina. “Students will apply their experience to agricultural education classes, career awareness, and vocational or collegiate preparedness while they restore the area to its natural biodiversity and beauty,” said Mary Bennett, project co-coordinator and college readiness coach at Southwestern Community College.

Students in grades K through 5 at Old Richmond Elementary School, with help from Boy Scouts, will restore six garden beds. Each grade will set a goal for its garden, such as to attract butterflies or grow herbs. “Students will discuss their ideas and vote online to select their grade’s project choice,” said fifth-grade teacher Kathy Joyce.

Since 1992, Project Learning Tree has distributed more than $700,000 to fund 907 grant projects in communities across the country. For more information about GreenWorks!, and a complete list of Project Learning Tree’s GreenWorks! grant awards, visit http://www.plt.org/ or contact Vanessa Bullwinkle, Director of Communications, 202.463.2472 or vbullwinkle@forestfoundation.org.

For more information about PLT in North Carolina, contact Renee Strnad, North Carolina State University, at 919.515.5518 or renee_strnad@ncsu.edu, or visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/plt .

Friday, December 4, 2009

Representative Etheridge Latest Co-Sponsor of NCLI Act

The National Wildlife Federation reports that Represetative Bob Etheridge is the latest co-sponsor of the No Child Left Inside Act - H.R. 2054. This brings the total number of co-sponsors to 83. Congressman Etheridge joins fellow N.C. Representatives David Price and Heath Shuler.

For more information on No Child Left Inside, see the video on the Thursday, November 12, 2009 post and these details on the NCLI Coalition Web site.