Events and Competitions
2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo
The eleventh annual Green Schools Conference and Expo will be held at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Portland, Oregon, March 2 – 4, 2020. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and network with educational leaders, green building professionals, nonprofit partners, and others who are passionate about the future of green schools. Learn more about conference programming and registration packages. Both full and daily passes are available. Special room discounts are also available at the Hilton Portland Downtown until February 17, 2020.
2020 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference
The Natural Start Alliance’s annual conference is the nation’s largest professional event for teaching, administration, research, educator preparation, and advocacy in nature-based early learning. This year’s conference will take place July 29 – August 1, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Take part in engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond.
Submit a proposal to present at the 2020 conference. The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2020.
The sixth annual national Carton 2 Garden Contest, sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, is accepting registrations. Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Your school can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from home, the community, or the cafeteria.
Fifteen entries will be selected to receive award packages for their efforts. Entries are due April 1, 2020 by Midnight PST.
Citizen Science Association 2021 Conference
Save the date! The 2021 Citizen Science Association Conference will be held May 25 – 29, 2021 in conjunction with Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. The conference provides a venue for citizen science researchers, practitioners, community members, and theorists to come together and share knowledge and best practices in the interest of advancing the field of citizen science. Educators engaging in citizen science in their classrooms are encouraged to attend and take advantage of the workshops, events, and networking opportunities offered during the conference.
National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held April 20 – 24, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event convenes stakeholders engaged in farm to cafeteria activities who are working to source local food and promote a culture of food and agricultural literacy across the country. Conference registration will open in January 2020.
North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference – Save the Date
The 49th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona from October 13 – 17, 2020.
For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and dissemination of best practices. The annual Research Symposium, held in advance of the conference, attracts new and established researchers to examine in-progress EE research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.
PBL World is an immersive three-day conference for K-12 teachers, instructional coaches, and school and district leaders who want to begin or advance their project-based learning practice and connect with a community of their peers. Hosted by PBL Works, PBL World’s workshops actively engage attendees in deep, focused, real work with peer collaborators. Registration is open for the 2020 conference, which will be held in Napa Valley, California from June 16 – 18.
Professional Development and GSNN PD Partner Resources
The Biomimicry Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit dedicated to innovation inspired by nature. Biomimicry offers an exciting project-based approach that helps teachers blend STEM and environmental education in creative, hands-on lessons students love. The Biomimicry Institute helps educators and organizations bring biomimicry into their teaching by providing curriculum and training, networking opportunities, and content development support. Learn more about our services and visit the online library, AskNature, for the resources and information you need to bring biomimicry into your teaching practice.
Calling All Educators!
Registration for Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge coaches is open until March 1, 2020. Educators who register as coaches gain access to challenge curriculum and resources that can be used to integrate biomimicry study into classroom instruction. Register here.
Captain Planet Foundation supports educators with grants, resources, tools, and models to spark children’s curiosity, cultivate a love of nature, and engage students in science and engineering practices to solve real-world problems. Our programs and materials have co-evolved with education priorities over the years to ensure educators have the tools and strategies to meet their needs in and out of the classroom.
Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation
The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) was founded in 2003 on the principle that education for sustainability is essential for today’s K-12 students. CELF programs use real-world problem-solving to prepare students with the holistic thinking skills and motivation to become agents of change for a healthier, more stable, and sustainable future.
CELF Annual Summer Institutes in Education for Sustainability
The Annual CELF Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability (EfS) is an intensive multi-day workshop that enables teachers to integrate the concepts of sustainability into their existing curricula. The Institute equips K-12 teachers with practices and teaching methods to address the core concepts of EfS – the intersection of social, economic, and ecological systems – and how the balance of those three systems is vital to a sustainable future and relevant to all subject areas.
New York and Houston, Texas Locations!
In partnership with Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York (July 13-16, 2020) and New York University, Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Sustainability (August 2020)
In partnership with the University of Houston, Clear Lake and Lone Star College Kingwood (dates coming soon)
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education works with schools and school districts to help them integrate Education for Sustainability (EfS) into their curriculum. Core services include consulting and leadership development (on-site and off-site); professional development and faculty coaching; curriculum design, assessment, mapping, and alignment; and school and community partnerships. The Cloud Institute holds an annual Summer Design Studio that enables educators, administrators, and program designers to learn how to design and embed EfS into curriculum, assessments, and programs.
Community Works Institute (CWI) directly supports K-16 educators and schools in making their local community the focus and context for powerful student learning experiences. CWI’s work with educators is focused on using the local community as the classroom through the lens of place-based service-learning, sustainability, and social justice. CWI particularly emphasizes student voice and reciprocity in its program design work. Since 1995, CWI has provided powerful on-site support and professional development for educators around the globe, including its acclaimed annual Summer Institutes in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. CWI’s Summer Institutes are the longest running professional development events of their kind. CWI also provides resources for educators, including its digital magazine Community Works Journal.
Early bird and team rates are available for all Institutes. Scholarship support is available on a need basis. Please see CWI’s website for additional information.
The NEXT Institute: From Classroom to Community, Moving Toward Social Justice – An Experiential Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Saturday, February 29, 2020, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Brooklyn, New York
CWI’s 2020 Summer EAST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning, Sustainability, and Social Justice
June 22 – 26, 2020
Brooklyn, New York (in partnership with Berkeley Carroll School and Otis College of Art and Design)
CWI’s 2020 Summer WEST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning, Sustainability, and Social Justice
July 27 – 31, 2020
Los Angeles, California (in partnership with Otis College of Art and Design)
EcoRise offers engaging, hands-on professional development to K–12 educators across the United States. Check out our Eventbrite page for a current list of teacher workshops and events that connect and empower educators to ignite the next generation of green leaders. EcoRise PD sessions cover a wide range of topics, including our bilingual, standards-aligned sustainability and design curricula; our green building curriculum, which prepares high school students for the workforce; and our Eco-Audit Grant program, which encourages student innovation through student-facing micro-grants. Learn more about EcoRise’s leading-edge curricula and programs at ecorise.org.
Facing the Future is an international program, based out of Western Washington University, creating tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curriculum is organized around eight sustainability big ideas: Connecting with Nature; Equity and Justice; Health and Resiliency; Interconnectedness; Local to Global; Peace and Collaboration; Respect for Limits; and Universal Responsibility.
Facing the Future curriculum materials and resources are available for K-12 teachers, teachers in colleges of education, and for some community college and undergraduate classes. All materials are developed for teachers, by teachers, with best teaching and learning practices in mind and are aligned with Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and most state standards frameworks.
Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education. It seeks to promote mutual understanding among teachers, their schools, and communities in the U.S. and abroad by building teachers’ and students’ global competence and sharing best educational practices internationally. Through this program, U.S. K-12 teachers and educators can apply for grants to engage in collaborative projects for approximately two to six weeks abroad. Participants consult with and support schools, nonprofit organizations, teacher training institutions, and other educational organizations abroad.
The grant award provides funding for program expenses while abroad, including travel costs, lodging, meals, local transportation, and related expenses. These grants give U.S. educators flexibility to participate in the Fulbright Program while meeting their teaching and professional commitments. The deadline to submit applications is February 3, 2020.
Green Strides Webinar Series Calendar
The Green Strides Webinar Series provides school communities with the tools they need to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education. It provides all schools access to the resources that help them move toward the Pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. Sign up for Green Strides Webinar Series email updates to receive information on future webinars.
The Art and Science of Teaching Climate Change
Presenter: Shannon Subers
Date and time: Wednesday, April 1st, 2020, 7:30 p.m. EST
Want to cover climate change in the classroom, but not sure where to start? You’re not alone. A recent NPR/Ipsos poll showed that less than half of K–12 educators surveyed tackle climate change in their classrooms. In this webinar, educators will learn strategies to communicate climate change principles that can be applied to any classroom. Through practical, inquiry-focused activities, teachers will gain tools to navigate one of the most important environmental issues of our generation.
The Joy of Garden-based Education
Presenter: Cathy Law
Date and time: Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, 7:30 p.m. EST
Kids are just happier when they are outside learning. Using mother nature as a laboratory setting is an incredible way to engage students in first-hand study of the principles of ecology, geology, and climate change. You will learn the fascinating science behind the social, psychological, and physiological benefits of using gardens to teach. Besides, donning a big grin, students learn scientific concepts more effectively when performing hands-on investigations outside, so their grades soar. Outdoor-based education is a sure way to nurture global citizens for the stewardship of our planet. You can’t go green without going teen!
Earth Partnership: Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Connecting STEM to Indigenous Science
Presenters: Michelle Cloud and Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong
Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, 7:30–8:30 p.m. EST
The spring walleye harvest is the time when frogs begin to sing, snow turns to water, and maple sap is ready to tap. Tribal elders speak of the rich knowledge generations of Indigenous people have acquired by close observation and learning from local plants and animals. Understanding and respectfully acknowledging the interrelationships of phenomena and events in the natural world in a reciprocal and respectful way and honoring those relationships is the basis of traditional ecological knowledge. Contemporary First Nations youths, and all young people, could benefit from understanding the natural world and their relationship with it. A deeply collaborative approach between tribal, university, and K–12 partners has the potential to invigorate Indigenous youths in science endeavors, make STEM more relevant to them (and their peers), and foster positive school cultures.
Earth Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison convened the expertise of elders and community members from Ho-Chunk, Bad River, Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Red Cliff Nations with university social, physical, and life scientists to develop a culturally relevant environmental education program to improve experiences in science learning.
The resulting Indigenous Arts and Sciences is an approach to environmental science education that engages Indigenous wisdom and scientific processes rooted in respect and reciprocity. While these are distinct from the more linear and chronological traditions of Western science, there are intersections at which Western sciences and traditional ecological knowledge can meet and interact with one another to their mutual benefit.
This webinar is a story about Earth Partnership’s Indigenous Arts and Sciences—how it began, how our collaboration works, and what we have learned (and are still learning) along the way.
A product of the U.S. Green Building Council’s The Center for Green Schools, Learning Lab provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action. Discover best-in-class content, training, and tools. Access their curated catalogue of lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current educational standards and were created by educators, for educators.
PBLWorks (the brand name of the Buck Institute for Education) believes that all students – no matter where they live or what their background – should have access to quality project-based learning (PBL) to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life. Through teacher workshops, district partnerships, and PBL Institutes, PBLWorks provides tools, resources, and professional development and networking opportunities to help teachers and school and system leaders design, facilitate, and implement high-quality PBL.
Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit organization educating for a sustainable future. That means learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the planet. Its home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark. Shelburne Farms’ school programs staff support student learning and educator professional development by offering experiences that inspire deep connections to community and a commitment to a healthy future.
Project Seasons for Young Learners: Cultivating Joy & Wonder
July 13 – 17, 2020
Join us for a week of fun and learning on the Farm while using the Big Ideas of Sustainability to inspire your curriculum with fresh ideas. We will use lots of hands-on activities, protocols, and shared learning to examine how these ideas can instill a deep love and appreciation for the natural world in you and your students. Rediscover your own curiosity and joy by connecting with peers; engaging with our farmyard, forest, lake, and wetlands; and learning practical activities and pedagogy you can easily employ in your own place.
Cost $575. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes accommodations and graduate credit. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.
Education for Sustainability: Summer Institute
July 27 – 31, 2020
Spend five rich days with colleagues from around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of education for sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, part retreat. The 2020 Summer Institute will use the lens of sustainability to focus on health and the environment. Topics might include: Individual to Global Wellness, Food and Health; and Health in the Climate Crisis.
Cost $600. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes travel and graduate credit. Limited on-site accommodations are available on a first come, first serve basis. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.
Education for Sustainability Immersion
August 13 – 14, 2020
For those who already have a strong foundation in education for sustainability, our two-day Immersion will provide you with the opportunity to reflect, learn, and collaborate with a small group of colleagues from across the country in a residential, retreat-like setting here at Shelburne Farms. The Immersion has a design studio feel with participants self-directing much of their work with a few inspirational speakers and workshops/explore times. Expect to take a deep dive into such topic areas as place-based education, social justice, systems thinking, or other topics in the field of education for sustainability that are important to you. This course is action-oriented with an expectation at the end that each participant has a solid project or curriculum to implement.
Cost $375. Includes meals and accommodations; excludes graduate credits. Limited to 16 participants. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.
Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) is a nonprofit that builds leaders to drive climate solutions. For over 20 years, SEI’s focus has been on building capacity to create sustainable communities through scalable programs and models. Its flagship programs (Energize Schools, Energize Colleges, School of Environmental Leadership, and Climate Corps) integrate climate education, training, and career development. From young students to emerging professionals to communities, SEI programs engage local talent to directly address their community’s sustainability goals by leading projects with measurable environmental, economic, and social benefits.
Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with over 20 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. Through her nonprofit Creative Change Educational Solutions, Susan has led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations. Susan offers facilitator training to prepare school and university teams to lead professional development in their own settings; leadership development and strategic communication to advance understanding of sustainability and social justice; and consultation services for schools, universities, and other entities.
Learn more about online courses that Susan has developed in partnership with Kappa Delta Pi: Introduction to Sustainability and Introduction to Social Justice.
Teaching Our Cities Practice Toolkits
Teaching Our Cities, a project of Common Ground, is creating a collection of toolkits that share best practices that are working at partner schools. Toolkits include videos, blog-style reflections, resources, and practice descriptions. Current toolkits cover teaching a sense of place, learning expeditions, green exhibitions, environmental leadership portfolios, and magnet theme days.
Fostering a Stewardship Ethic through Fieldwork Related Resources
BEETLES: Science and Teaching for Field Instructors
BEETLES (Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing) is one of many programs at the Lawrence Hall of Science, a public science center created in 1968 as part of the University of California at Berkeley. BEETLES is devoted to creating:
- versatile environmental education professional learning materials;
- student activities for use in the field;
- a collaborative, resource-sharing network of environmental educators; and
- additional resources for field instructors, leaders, and classroom teachers.
All BEETLES resources are based on current research and understandings about how people learn and tested by dozens of programs in diverse settings all over the country (and beyond). Although BEETLES materials have been designed for residential outdoor science schools, they have been snatched up and used successfully in a wide variety of outdoor science education settings.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Education Program
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been providing K-12 students with meaningful watershed experiences for over 40 years. Whether your school is located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed or not, the Foundation has resources and programs to meet your needs. Learn more about the Education Program’s offerings, including professional development for educators; field programs and leadership programs for students; and classroom resources such as videos, lesson plans, research tools, and ideas for student action projects.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: BirdSleuth
BirdSleuth is an inquiry-based science curriculum that engages kids in scientific study and real data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s exciting citizen science projects. BirdSleuth provides educators with kits that:
- Encourage kids to answer their own questions about nature using the scientific process.
- Spend time outdoors, connecting with nature by focusing on the fascinating sights, sounds, and behaviors of birds.
- Motivate kids by the real-world importance of the data they enter online, which scientists use to understand and conserve birds.
BirdSleuth offers a variety of resources, as well as opportunities for in-person training, workshops, and online webinars for all types of educators who are looking for top-notch professional development. BirdSleuth even offers a free student publication, BirdSleuth Investigator, that is written by students, for students and can be downloaded from the website.
Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature
From Amazon: Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature has been hailed by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, as “good medicine for nature-deficit disorder.” The first edition quickly became the essential guidebook for mentors, parents, teachers, camp directors, and others wanting fun and exciting ways to connect children (and adults!) with nature.
The completely revised and updated Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, 2nd Edition, written by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown, is an even more valuable resource for reconnecting people to the natural world. Based on feedback from nature mentors and educators around the world, the second edition is more comprehensive and easier to use, with beautiful full color photographs, a comprehensive index, and color codes that link the principles and activities for easier navigation.
Coyote mentoring is a method of learning that has been refined over thousands of years, based on instilling the need-to-know. Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, 2nd Edition reveals this approach and what happens to student and teacher during the mentoring process. Strategies like questioning, storytelling, tracking, mapping, and practicing survival skills will inspire student curiosity and encourage self-sufficiency. Background information will help parents, teachers, and others feel more confident in introducing children to new ways of experiencing and learning about the natural world.
Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, 2nd Edition will change the way you walk in the woods, whether by yourself or with your children.
Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Practices
Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Practices is a framework of scientific practices that scientists use in the field. This guide was developed to help K-12 teachers introduce their students to the methodologies used for scientific field research and guide them through the process of conducting field investigations using these scientific practices. In particular, this guide demonstrates how to use descriptive and comparative methodologies for field studies typically used in the environment and natural resource sectors. The guide has been updated to address how the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards may be used to integrate field investigation scientific practices with real-world content through crosscutting concepts that practicing field scientists and engineers tackle in their role as professionals.
Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont delivers experiential learning for youth, educators, and adults through programs that promote self-discovery, critical thinking, and effective teaching and leadership. Programs last for three to ten days and include educator workshops, K-12 overnight field studies, and summer youth camps and adventures. Participants typically stay on-site, living and learning in the world’s greatest classroom, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Guiding Principles for Exemplary Place-Based Stewardship Education
Developed by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, these guiding principles were developed to describe the organization’s vision for explementary place-based stewardship education in a K-12 context. Educators outside of the Great Lakes region are encouraged to consider how they can adapt these principles to their unique environmental, community, organizational, and programmatic context. A separate user guide addresses in more detail how these principles and an associated rubric can be used within the school setting.
Hands on the Land (HOL) is a network of field classrooms designed to connect students, teachers, and families to their public lands. HOL offers a variety of hands-on education programs in natural and cultural settings that have been developed collaboratively by public land management agencies, education centers, member sites, and schools. In addition to the field activities at each site, teachers and students can learn from each other through the HOL website. This website allows teachers and students to share information and learn about their local ecosystems, creative teaching strategies, and much more. The website also houses a collection of member-contributed educator resources that span all core subjects.
iNaturalist is an online, crowdsourced species identification and recording tool that allows users to record observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect information for a common purpose, and access observational data collected by iNaturalist users. The tool was developed to connect people with nature while generating scientifically valuable biodiversity data. A teacher’s guide is available to help educators optimize their use of iNaturalist in the classroom, including examples that feature coursework, lesson plans, and protocols.
Izaak Walton League’s Creek Freaks Program
The Creek Freaks program is for kids ages 10 – 14 who want to make a splash to help the environment. They become their community’s stream experts – exploring local streams; learning how healthy trees, shrubs, and grasses protect clean water and wildlife; and what the community can do to improve water quality. The program uses a guide called Holding onto the GREEN Zone, developed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which helps youth explore “green zones” (another name for riparian zones). The program is filled with discovery, exploration, and of course, using the Creek Freaks’ website to share photos and data with other Creek Freaks. Educators will find training, curriculum materials, and a number of additional resources to assist with implementation in their classrooms.
Journey North is a free, Internet-based program that explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. Through interrelated investigations, students discover that sunlight drives all living systems and they learn about the dynamic ecosystem that surrounds and connects them. A sampling of projects includes:
- Sunlight and the Seasons: Children study seasonal change in sunlight in a global game of hide and seek called Mystery Class.
- Plants and the Seasons: Children explore tulip growth in their own gardens, running an experiment that tracks the arrival of spring.
- Seasonal Migrations: Children follow animal migrations. They observe, research, and report findings and watch journeys progress on live maps.
Additional instructional materials, activities, and strategies can be found on the Journey North website.
LEAF, Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program, was created in 2001 to promote forestry education in Wisconsin. The program’s forestry education materials are designed with formal and non-formal educators in mind and can be adapted for use by educators outside the state. LEAF’s core curriculum includes interdisciplinary units for teaching students about forests and forestry and each unit includes at least three field enhancements that can be completed in a schoolyard or forest setting. Supplementary lesson guides cover urban forests and wildland fire.
Leopold Education Project Curriculum
The Leopold Education Project (LEP) curriculum guide contains 20 interdisciplinary lessons in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, based on the classic essays in A Sand County Almanac. Published in 2016, this guide consolidates the best lessons from the wide array of resources developed for LEP throughout its history. Lessons include background information for instructors and engaging activities that get students outdoors – helping them hone their skills in reading the landscape through observation and hands-on participation. Suggested discussion questions help guide individual and group reflection.
This curriculum guide is designed for use in formal classroom environments and in non-formal outdoor education experiences. Lessons are targeted mainly toward middle school and high school age students.
Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that strives to provide the public with information about the biology of monarch butterflies, their spectacular migration, and how to use monarchs to further science education in primary and secondary schools. The program engages in research on monarch migration biology and monarch population dynamics to better understand how to conserve the monarch migration, as well as promotes the protection of monarch habitats throughout North America. Monarch Watch’s website is a treasure trove for educators looking to participate, including information on creating Monarch Waystations and butterfly gardens, raising Monarchs in the classroom, and tagging Monarchs to track their migration patterns.
National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) Citizen Science Resources
NEEF and its partners work to engage the public in citizen science by linking directly with nature enthusiasts, working with trusted professionals in the field, and collaborating with federal partners and educators to involve students and teachers in and out of the classroom. Check out NEEF’s website for more information, including infographics, an educator’s toolkit, and active citizen science projects.
NatureBridge Training and Tools for Teachers
A recognized leader in the field of environmental education, NatureBridge provides hands-on, inquiry-based programs for children and teens at national park locations across the country. The organization’s website includes an educators webpage that offers classroom resources organized around five areas of study; tips and resources for incorporating nature into classroom lessons; and professional development workshops that provide skills to create hands-on science and environmental education curricula for students.
Nature’s Notebook – National Phenology Network
Nature’s Notebook is a national, online program of the USA National Phenology Network where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making. Observing phenology through Nature’s Notebook offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities for K-12 students, promoting cross-subject engagement while addressing learning standards. A number of classroom resources and activities have been developed for K-12 educators to introduce students to phenology and engage them in real-world projects that entail data collection and analysis.
NEEF’s Get Dirty! Learning Expedition Toolkit
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) developed this guide to assist educators in planning instructive and memorable outings that incorporate best practices of outdoor environmental education. The toolkit proceeds step-by-step from planning, to conducting, to presenting place-based projects. Additional resources and tips are suggested. Supplemental activities that develop goal setting, leadership, and team building skills are also included.
Project BudBurst is a citizen science program focused on how plants change with the seasons. Participants in Project BudBurst make careful observations of the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants throughout the year. Observations shared with Project BudBurst become part of an ecological record and data is freely available for anyone to download and use. The Project BudBurst website has a number of resources for K-12 educators including classroom guides, activities, and professional development opportunities. Educators can register their classrooms with Project BudBurst so that students can collect and share data with the Project BudBurst community.
Project Noah is an award-winning software platform designed to help people reconnect with the natural world through citizen science. This powerful tool provides users of all ages with a simple, easy-to-use way to share their wildlife observations while collecting important ecological data. Educators can choose from dozens of challenging and meaningful investigations, or “missions,” that touch on key concepts in life science or they can create their own place-based mission tailored to their local environment. Teacher-created, teacher-tested resources are also available to help you get started using Project Noah in your classroom.
Ten Minute Field Trips: A Teacher’s Guide to Using the Schoolgrounds for Environmental Studies
From Google Books: You don’t have to go far to get science out of the classroom. A National Science Teacher Association best-seller, this book is ideal for teachers in all school environments – urban, suburban, or rural. Renowned educator Helen Ross Russell describes more than 200 short, close-to-home field trips that explore new dimensions of familiar spaces and objects. Brick walls, rock outcrops, lawns, broken pavement, weeds, and trees are all targets for exploration.
This K-12 Guide is just one of several resources offered by Minnesota Project WET, which trains classroom and other educators in hands-on, interactive lessons that are focused on water and encourage critical thinking. The guide features more than 70 pages of background material followed by more than 40 activities. Every page is thoughtfully laid out with core text, photographs, sidebars, maps, and illustrations to make information clear and quick to use. Activities are organized into five sections: wetland definitions, wetlands plants and animals, water quality and supply issues, soils, and people. The appendix offers instructions for planning and developing a schoolyard wetland habitat. Learn more about Minnesota Project WET, as well as the national Project WET Foundation.
Grants and Awards
2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grants
The 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grants, presented by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, are designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the United States. Awards provide funding for the development of new and expansion of existing youth garden programs and greenspaces serving 15 or more youth. This year, 175 grants worth a total of $100,000 will be awarded. 150 grant recipients will be awarded a check for $500 to support their initiatives. The top 25 programs will receive a check for $1,000. Applications must be received by February 14, 2020 at 11:59 PST.
ASM Materials Education Foundation K-12 Education Grants
The ASM Materials Education Foundation awards 20 grants of $500 annually to help K-12 teachers bring the real world of materials science into their classrooms. “Living in a Material World” grants recognize creativity and enhance awareness of materials science and the role that materials play in society. Teachers must describe a hands-on, curriculum-based K-12 project that involves student observation, teamwork, mathematics, and science skills that enhance student awareness of the everyday materials around them. The deadline for applications is May 25, 2020.
Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants
The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years. The Foundation has funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youth around the world – actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of environmental stewards and change agents.
ecoSolution Grants range from $500 – $2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. Visit the website to learn more about eligibility and restrictions and to fill out an application. The next grant cycle opens on March 15, 2020.
Captain Planet Foundation ecoTECH Grants
Originally developed in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and with ongoing support from Voya Financial, ecoTech Grants are specifically offered to engage children in inquiry-based, STEM-related projects that leverage technology and/or use nature-based design to address environmental problems in local communities. ecoTech Grants were created to combat the notion that students needed to choose between “the screen” or “the green” and to encourage educators and students to explore the role technology can play in designing and implementing solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges. ecoTECH grant projects must:
- Be based in the U.S.
- Integrate the use of technology to address environmental problems (not iPads or other tablets)
- Be project-based
- Be youth-led
- Result in real, demonstrable environmental outcomes
ecoTECH grants are available as cash grants of up to $2,500 and support the purchase of materials and other project implementation expenses. The next grant cycle opens on March 15, 2020.
Dorothy Stout Professional Development Awards
The National Association of Geoscience Teachers gives these professional development awards to faculty and students at two year colleges and to K-12 teachers in support of:
- Participation in Earth Science classes or workshops
- Attendance at professional scientific or science education meetings
- Participation in Earth Science field trips
- Purchase of Earth Science materials for classroom use
Awards of $750 are made annually in three categories: Community College Faculty, Community College Student, and K-12 Educator. Award winners are also given a one-year membership to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, which includes an online subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education and the In The Trenches magazine. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2020.
GetEdFunding is a curated collection of grants and awards created by education professionals for education professionals. Its database was designed to be easy-to-use and reliable, and all grant and funding opportunities are updated daily. Users can search by six criteria, including 43 areas of focus, 8 content areas, and 14 twenty-first century themes and skills, including environmental literacy. Once registered on the site, users can save grants of interest and return to them at any time.
Gloria Baron Prize for Young Heroes
Each year, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes recognizes young people ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people, their communities, and our environment. The 25 winners each receive a $10,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. Winners of the Barron Prize also receive:
- Personalized plaque and certificate of recognition
- Signed copy of The Hero’s Trail, by Barron Prize founder T.A. Barron
- Dream Big, a documentary film featuring several Barron Prize winners
- Young Heroes activities guide and bibliography
- The opportunity to connect with other Barron Prize winners through the Young Heroes online forum
- Numerous media opportunities – print, television, and radio
Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. MST on April 15, 2020.
Fund for Teachers provides educators the resources and funding they need to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. Fund for Teachers grant awards support a variety of projects, all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students, and school communities. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $32 million in nearly 8,500 teachers. Applications for 2020 are being accepted through January 31, 2020. Learn more about the application process and what current and past fellows have accomplished.
International Young Eco-Hero Awards
The nonprofit Action For Nature (AFN) created the International Young Eco-Hero Awards to recognize and reward the successful individual environmental initiatives of young people ages 8 to 16. To be considered, projects must address environmental health, advocacy, research, or protection of the natural world, be action-based, and self-initiated. Winners will be selected by a team of independent judges with experience in environmental issues.
Applications for 2020 are being accepted through February 28, 2020. Visit the website to learn more about eligibility requirements, judging criteria, prizes, and how to apply.
The InvenTeam initiative, created by the Lemelson-MIT Program, offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students to cultivate their creativity and experience invention. InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors who receive grants of up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Up to 15 teams are selected for grants each school year. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve. Funds may be allocated for research, materials, and learning experiences related to the project. Funds may not be used to purchase capital equipment or professional services (e.g., intellectual property legal protection, engineering services). All teams are expected to present and showcase a working prototype of their invention at EurekaFest, held at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, in June of their grant year.
Initial applications for 2020 InvenTeam Grants are due on April 6, 2020.
McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grants
McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grants support small teams of teachers in the formation and implementation of groundbreaking K-12 classroom instruction. These grants provide opportunities for teachers to integrate fresh strategies that encourage critical inquiry and to observe their effects on students. Teachers have an opportunity to reflect and write about their projects, as well as to share their results with other teachers. The Foundation awards grants to individuals in amounts of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years, provided the eligibility requirements continue to be met.
Apply early! Submissions are accepted January 15 – April 15. The application system closes once 350 submissions are received.
The Power of Youth Challenge, an initiative of America’s Promise Alliance, invites youth from across the country to bring positive change to their communities by leading social service projects. Teams made up of at least three young people, ages 13 to 18, will have access to a mini-grant of up to $250, with the amount determined by project needs. Teams who complete their projects will be eligible to apply for an accelerator grant of up to $5,000 to grow their projects over the next year. The deadline for team registration is June 30, 2020. Visit the Power of Youth Challenge website to review the eligibility criteria and application process.
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching recognizes teachers who develop and implement high-quality instructional programs that are informed by content knowledge and enhance student learning. They are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.
Recipients of the award receive:
- A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
- A paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
- A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
- An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.
This year’s awards will honor science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teachers working in grades K – 6. Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2020.
Project Green Schools Green Difference Awards
Project Green Schools is a leading national nonprofit organization, developing the next generation of environmental leaders through education, project-based learning, and community service. Our Green Schools Society (grades K-12) and National Youth Council (grades 5-12) honor and develop bright, civic-minded, environmentally literate citizens in schools and communities. Project Green Schools is excited to announce our 12th Annual Green Difference Awards honoring Principals, Teachers, Advisors, Students, Citizens, Schools, School Groups/Clubs, and our Sponsors nationally and internationally at our annual event on May 28, 2020. The deadline to submit your nomination is March 27, 2020.
Salad Bars to Schools launched in 2010 with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools so that every child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is invited to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit the website to learn about eligibility, award criteria, and the application process.
Siemens 2020 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes
Enter the Possibility Grant Sweepstakes daily for your chance to win $10,000 for STEM at your school! “Fab” your lab with the latest and greatest gadgets, or purchase top-tier technology and supplies for STEM students. One school will be selected as our Grand Prize Winner in May 2020. The Grand Prize will consist of a $10,000 Siemens Possibility Grant, awarded in the form of a check made payable to the winning school and intended to be used by the school for a science lab makeover and/or STEM-related equipment, supplies, or technology. Eligible educators may enter the sweepstakes once per day until April 28, 2020.
Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant
Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grants are available for grades 6 – 12 educators who are ready to use their physical classroom space to advance learning in new and important ways. Grants are valued at $132,000 and include furniture, a design review, installation, on-site training, and a Learning Environment Evaluation measurement tool. Up to 10 grants will be awarded in 2020. The deadline to submit applications is February 3, 2020.
The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) was founded in 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute to complement the Stockholm Water Prize. The SJWP is considered the world’s most prestigious award presented to a high school student for a water-research project. Any high school student in grades 9 – 12, who has reached the age of 15 by August 1 of the competition year and has conducted a water-related science project, is eligible to participate in the competition.
Teams of up to three students may enter. Projects should enhance quality of life through improvement of water quality, water resources management, or water and wastewater treatment. Projects can explore water issues on local, regional, national, or global issues. It is essential that all projects use a research-oriented approach, which means they must use scientifically accepted methodologies for experimentation, monitoring, and reporting, including statistical analysis. Entries into the SJWP competition will be judged based on six criteria: relevance, creativity, methodology, subject knowledge, practical skills, and report and presentation.
Note: All students must enter the State SJWP Competition first. National competition entries are open to State winners only.
The entry deadline for the 2020 competition is April 15, 2020.
Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants
Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants support educators who embrace and embed anti-bias principles throughout their schools. These grants, ranging from $500 – $10,000, support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy. Grants fund projects on three levels: classroom, school, and district. Educators nationwide in public or private K-12 spaces, as well as in alternative schools, therapeutic schools, and juvenile justice facilities, are eligible to apply. Applications for Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants are reviewed on a rolling basis. There is no deadline to apply.
Voya Foundation grants are focused on Financial Resilience. We work to ensure that youth are equipped with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expertise and financial knowledge necessary to compete in the 21st century workforce and make smart financial decisions that lead to a secure retirement.
We accomplish this by accepting year-round grant applications from organizations that:
- Provide innovative and experiential K-8 STEM learning opportunities to promote an early interest in STEM career fields and improve teachers’ capabilities in STEM; or
- Provide financial education curriculum to grade 9-12 students focused on navigating major financial milestones including student debt, credit, home ownership, financial products and services/financial capability, and family needs.