Save the date! The tenth annual Green Schools Conference and Expo will be held at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Portland, Oregon, March 2 – 4, 2020. Registration for the conference will open in Fall 2019.
October 18 – 20, 2019
Rhinebeck, New York
Join the Omega Center for Sustainable Living and partner organizations for this weekend conference to cultivate and strengthen relationships; share information, resources, and curriculum ideas; learn with and from young leaders; get inspired; and develop the support needed to reverse global warming. Public registration is limited. Cost is $345 and does not include accommodations.
Hosted by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, this national, three-day conference is designed to inspire and support a community of educators around the power of place-based learning. The 2019 conference will take place November 7 – 9, 2019 in Flint, Michigan and will focus on the theme of Building Strong and Transformative Communities Together.
Attend 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 31 – August 3, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Take part in engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond.
In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold set forth his most enduring idea – the “land ethic,” a moral responsibility of humans to the natural world. During this two-day Land Ethic Leaders workshop, held August 8 – 9, 2019, participants explore and deepen their own land ethic together through outdoor observation, environmental service, and reflective discussions. Afterward, they walk away with new relationships, tools, ideas, and facilitation skills that inspire creative ways to bring the land ethic back home.
Cost to attend is $200. This includes most meals during the program and program materials, including a copy of the Green Fire film licensed for public screening (a $350 value). Travel and lodging are on your own.
LearningSCAPES is the conference for those who plan, design, equip, furnish, and maintain places where students learn. This year’s conference will be held October 4 – 6 in Anaheim, California. Join your colleagues for groundbreaking educational sessions, inspiring keynote speakers, and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning into the future.
Visit the website to register and learn more about conference programming, speakers, special events, and travel.
EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, dealers, preK-12 schools, colleges and universities, independent manufacturers representatives, exhibitors, and corporations to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning. This year’s conference will be held October 23 – 25 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
November 18 – 19, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
This two-day program provides facility directors at schools and universities and their teams with the knowledge and tools necessary to support healthier, safer cleaning programs that promote learning. Attendees will participate in immersive, interactive workshops and panel discussions followed by networking opportunities and exclusive access to ISSA’s New Attendee Breakfast and trade show floor orientation session.
Save the date! 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. Stay tuned for the Request for Proposals to present at the conference, which is expected to open in August 2019.
Register now for the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)’s 48th Annual Conference, to be held in Lexington, Kentucky from October 15 – 19, 2019. This year’s theme is Educating for a Just and Sustainable Future. NAAEE convenes 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 environmental education research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.
The 2019 Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown from November 12 – 14, 2019. Join hundreds of active transportation and public health advocates and practitioners from across the country for valuable networking, sharing best practices, and exploring one of Florida’s most vibrant and active cities.
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.
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.
The School Board Advocacy Toolkit from the Center for Green Schools is a free resource that helps green schools allies address sustainability issues and impact greener policies at the school district level. It is designed to make local green schools advocacy approachable and actionable. The toolkit contains talking points, template letters and presentations, sample policy language, and more for you to use to promote greener policy options related to any school sustainability issue.
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.
Summer Curriculum Design Studio: Educating for a Sustainable Future
August 5 – 9, 2019
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York
Join the Cloud Institute for a five-day curriculum design studio where educators, administrators, and program designers will learn how to design and embed Education for Sustainability into curricula, assessments, and performance tasks without the need for additional class time! The design studio includes working sessions, learning circles, coaching, peer review, and optional mini-sessions. Participants gain access to expertise, resources, and tools to reorient and enrich curricula as they create and develop units and protocols that educate for sustainability.
Come yourself or bring a team! Space is limited. Register today.
Community Works Institute (CWI) supports and promotes exemplary teaching strategies and practices for K-16 educators and community programs that support students in becoming caring, responsible, and active members of their communities. CWI offers a variety of professional development opportunities for K-16 and community-based educators in the United States and internationally, including on-site training, retreats, coaching, and consulting. Their signature offering is a series of summer institutes that integrate field-tested service-learning best practices and principles of sustainability to engage K-16 students in academically based service that contributes to sustainable communities.
EcoRise’s school-based program empowers youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities by teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Our curriculum, classroom grants, ongoing training, and support engages educators and students in meaningful learning experiences. Our program empowers teachers to confidently champion sustainability and innovation in their classrooms, while students cultivate 21st century skills and sustainable living practices.
EcoRise is hosting two LEED Prep Institutes this summer! These in-depth teacher trainings, featuring our LEED Prep green building curriculum, will prepare students to sit for the LEED Green Associates Exam. Institutes will take place in Austin, Texas on July 29–30 and Westwood, Massachusetts on August 12–14. Learn more and RSVP for the Austin Institute at leedprepaustin.eventbrite.com and for the Westwood Institute at leedprepma.eventbrite.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Education for Sustainability Immersion
August 15 – 16, 2019
This two-day Education for Sustainability Immersion provides an opportunity to reflect, learn, and collaborate with a small group of colleagues from across the country. 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 topics like place-based education, social justice, and systems thinking. 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, tax, and accommodations; excludes graduate credits. Limited to 16 participants. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.
Cultivating Farm to Early Childhood: October Workshop
October 19, 2019
Cultivating Farm to Early Childhood (FTEC) is an opportunity for you — Family Child Care, Head Start, Center-Based, Public Pre-K, and Home Visiting educators — to explore and expand your personal and professional experience related to food and nutrition programming while building and strengthening community connections. You’ll immerse yourself in hands-on, child-centered learning experiences like pickling, taste testing, and wool felting. We’ll align activities with practical discussions for community networking with local farmers and food system experts to build your FTEC knowledge and practices. Learn how FTEC concepts help meet multiple standards across licensing, CACFP, VELS, and STARS by promoting children’s learning, social emotional well-being, healthy eating habits, family engagement, and community building.
Cost $10. Includes snacks, lunch, and materials. Registration is open until Friday October 11, 2019. 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 the following services:
- Facilitator training that prepares school and university teams to lead professional development in their own settings. Training is based on the book Reframing the Curriculum.
- Leadership development and strategic communication to advance understanding of sustainability and social justice.
- Consultation for schools, universities, and other entities.
Ongoing and Upcoming Courses
Understanding Sustainability through Transdisciplinary Narratives
Free webinar sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
3:00 – 4:00pm
The concepts of “more” and “better” drive social narratives about the kind of world we are creating: a future of more stuff and strife, or one based on a better life. This webinar will explain sustainability in terms of these narratives and show how to use them as a framework for teaching sustainability and social justice across any discipline. Participants will receive resources describing activities and strategies to leverage the More and Better narratives as teaching tools. Learn more and register.
September 4, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT
Social justice and equity are prominent dimensions of sustainability that can be overlooked or under-taught across the curriculum. Well-meaning instructors may focus on “celebrating diversity” or exception individuals rather than a critical examination of social structures. This webinar will show ways to move toward a social justice perspective in teaching. Topics will include critical inquiry, culturally responsive teaching, and ways to introduce institutional discrimination and social change. Participants will receive sample rubrics to assess and strengthen their courses.
Learning about sustainability is easier than ever thanks to “Introduction to Sustainability,” a free online course developed by Kappa Delta Pi in partnership with Creative Change Educational Solutions. The self-paced course introduces sustainability as a context for learning, highlights connections across grades and disciplines, and provides strategies for reframing curriculum to emphasize these connections. With activities, videos, discussions, off-line projects, and guided curriculum design, the course engages adult learners in an integrative and reflective learning experience that emphasizes practical applications. The course is based upon (and includes excerpts from) Susan Santone’s book, Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability.
Introduction to Social Justice introduces the notion of social justice and guides teachers in the development of awareness and skills needed to reframe lessons and units to have a social justice lens. This micro-course is a follow up to Susan Santone’s Intro to Sustainability Online Course. Cost: $49 for members and $74 for non-members.
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.
Place-, Project-, Problem-, and Phenomenon-Based Learning Related Resources
This educator’s guide provides background on community-based education, an overview of the community-based educational process, and lesson plans and resources for educators to use in their classrooms.
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.
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.
The Our Curriculum Matters website is designed to provide inspiration and practical ideas for K-12 teachers who seek meaningful and authentic ways to embed learning in local places. The site highlights the work of Amy Demarest, a former classroom teacher who now works as a curriculum coach. She facilitates a process with teachers to articulate and design curriculum that means more to their students, themselves, and the communities in which they teach. The website offers a wealth of information and resources on place-based education as well as professional development opportunities and examples of student work.
Formerly known as the Buck Institute for Education, PBLWorks offers services, tools, and research that are designed to build the capacity of K-12 teachers to design and facilitate quality project-based learning, and the capacity of school and system leaders to create a culture for teachers to implement great projects with all students.
From Amazon.com: Place-based Curriculum Design provides pre-service and practicing teachers both the rationale and tools to create and integrate meaningful, place-based learning experiences for students. Practical, classroom-based curricular examples illustrate how teachers can engage the local and still be accountable to the existing demands of federal, state, and district mandates. Coverage includes connecting the curriculum to students’ outside-of-school lives; using local phenomena or issues to enhance students’ understanding of discipline-based questions; engaging in in-depth explorations of local issues and events to create cross-disciplinary learning experiences, and creating units or sustained learning experiences aimed at engendering social and environmental renewal. An on-line resource provides supplementary materials, including curricular templates, tools for reflective practice, and additional materials for instructors and students.
From Amazon.com: In Placed-Based Education, David Sobel, the author of the highly influential book Beyond Ecophobia, details and celebrates an approach to teaching that emphasizes connections among school, community, and environment. Through academic research, practical examples, and insightful strategies drawn from classrooms throughout the United States, Sobel outlines the practice and pedagogy of this transformative philosophy of education.
PEEC is a unique partnership of several nonprofit organizations and projects from New England and beyond whose aim is to strengthen and deepen the practice of place-based education through program evaluation. PEEC’s website is a one-stop shop for place-based education tools, resources, research, and reports.
This white paper, jointly released by Getting Smart and Buck Institute for Education, explores equity, economic realities, student engagement, and instructional and school design in the preparation of all students for college, career, and citizenship. Featuring blogs, podcasts, and videos with students, teachers, and leaders in the United States and internationally, as well as insights from people in the business community, this publication makes the case for high-quality, project-based learning as a way to optimally prepare students for the project-based world they are inheriting.
In this white paper, Emily Liebtag and Tom Vander Ark explore how teacher preparation and professional learning can be aligned to – and modeled after – the types of deeper learning environments we seek to create for students. They share a vision for preparation and beginning teacher professional development that embraces the opportunity of personalized project-based learning (PBL) for all students, focusing on what a well-prepared PBL teacher should know and be able to do. Drawing upon the expertise and leadership of PBL educators from across the country, the authors share what an ideal preparation program and early career professional learning for teachers ought to look like if we want to develop high-quality PBL teachers.
Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Hero is a tool and framework that offers a turn-key, place-based, standards-oriented, and authentic project-based learning experience for students. Educators can choose between different Quests – unique learning and activation journeys – focused on locally relevant environmental issues and ecosystems. Each Quest includes multimedia content, lessons, and activities for exploring and understanding threats to species and ecosystems. Quests culminate in hands-on projects that empower students to make meaningful impacts in their environment, which are supported by small grants to cover material expenses.
The Promise of Place website is a project of the Center for Place-Based Learning and Community Engagement, a unique public-private partnership that works to advance the state-of-the-art in place-based education by facilitating collaborative efforts in research, program design, technical assistance, resource development, and dissemination. The website is a treasure trove of research, curriculum, planning tools, case studies, and news. You can also find a calendar of courses, workshops, and conferences on place-based education and information on joining the Promise of Place Network, a grassroots effort to build support for people, schools, and organizations that use natural and cultural contexts to help people learn how to care for the places where they live.
This guide, developed by Getting Smart in partnership with eduInnovation and Teton Science Schools, translates educator insights into an actionable guide for implementing place-based education in classrooms and communities. Actionable examples and tips are shared throughout to inform and inspire place-based opportunities across the curriculum.
This guide, developed by Getting Smart in partnership with eduInnovation and Teton Science Schools, makes the case for place-based professional learning that can benefit teachers in the same way that it benefits students. As educators consider how the community can be a classroom for students, it’s important for them to develop their own sense of place, student ownership, and a long-term strategy to ensure effective implementation. The process can be transformative not only for students, but for those educators who are participating in the journey.
This guide, developed by Getting Smart in partnership with eduInnovation and Teton Science Schools, offer an overview of place-based education including definitions, benefits, and examples of place-based education in practice submitted by educators from all over the world.
Grants and Awards
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 September 15, 2019.
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 September 15, 2019.
Constellation E2 Energy to Educate grants inspire students to think differently about energy. Through this unique grant program, Constellation has offered over 100,000 students in grades 6-12 and college opportunities to enhance their understanding of science and technology, and experience problem-solving today’s and tomorrow’s energy challenges.
Constellation is seeking proposals for hands-on projects which engage 100 or more students, within the following themes:
- Energy in Transportation
- Backyard Generation
- Zero Waste
Grant awards are up to $25,000 for grades 6-12 and up to $50,000 for colleges and universities. Applications must be submitted online by October 1, 2019. Grant awards will be announced in November 2019 during American Education Week.
FirstEnergy proudly supports classroom projects and teacher professional development initiatives focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). One of the ways they support these activities is by offering STEM education grants of up to $1,000 to educators at schools and youth groups in communities served by its electric operating companies, other areas where they have facilities, and where they do business. More than 1,000 educators and youth group leaders have received classroom grants since the program began during the 1986-87 school year. Applications for the 2019-2020 school year are now available and must be submitted by September 20, 2019.
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.
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.
A partnership between Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), this award recognizes one outstanding classroom teacher (grades K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and the community through exemplary science teaching. The recipient of the Shell Science Teaching Award will receive $10,000, as well as an all-expense-paid trip (along with the two finalists) to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. All three will be honored at the Awards Banquet. The recipient will also be recognized at the Teacher Awards Banquet. The 10 semifinalists will receive certificates of distinction. Completed applications must be received by December 18, 2019.
K-5 teachers are invited to apply online for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their classroom. With a Toshiba America Foundation grant, elementary teachers can bring their best new teaching ideas to life.
Grant applications are due on October 1 each year. Grants are also available for teachers in grades 6-12 who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Applications for grants less than $5,000 are accepted at any time. For grant requests of more than $5,000, deadlines are May 1 and November 1.
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.