Professional Development

Be a Catalyst for Change…Become a Green Schools National Network Member

The green schools movement is the most critical education reform initiative of our time. Through the Green Schools National Network (GSNN) membership program, you can show your support and become a catalyst for change for green schools everywhere.

GSNN’s membership program is designed for leaders (like you!) who use sustainability to drive innovation in their classrooms, schools, or school districts. As a member of the program, you will learn from and be inspired by the people who are transforming schools across the country.

Choose from five different levels of membership: Individual, Nonprofit, preK-12 School, School District, or Corporate. Each level comes with its own set of benefits and discounts, some of which include: professional publications, a subscription to Green Teacher Magazine, discounted Green Schools Conference and Expo registration, discounted and free professional development opportunities, networking opportunities, and discounted fees for GSNN school and district coaching.

Visit GSNN’s membership website to learn more and sign up.


2018 BirdSleuth Summer Educator Retreat

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York is opening its doors to educators for a one-of-a-kind program, July 18 – 21, 2018. This year’s retreat focuses on using citizen science and inquiry in the classroom. Participants will experience four days of activities, guest speakers, and field trips highlighting best practices and the latest resources, learning about citizen science, inquiry-based projects, Lab resources, and BirdSleuth curricula. Registration costs $495 (not including lodging). Visit the website to register and learn more about the program and lodging options.


2018 CELF Summer Institute: Education for Sustainability

The Annual CELF Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability (July 9 – 12, 2018, Manhattanville College, New York) is an intensive four-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 education for sustainability – 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.

The Institute begins by building a learning community and a common vocabulary around sustainability, and progresses with hands-on activities, case studies, special guest presentations, and fieldwork. The schedule includes supported planning time so that participants will have tangible materials to bring back to their classrooms.

Benefits and Resources:

  • Gain access to CELF’s online resource library.
  • Align curriculum projects with national education for sustainability standards and performance indicators.
  • Learn from and share best practices with Institute facilitators and peers from across the region and around the world.
  • Access post-Institute support for on-going education for sustainability implementation.

Learn more about registration and credit options here.


Aldo Leopold Foundation Land Ethic Leader Workshop

August 9 – 10, 2018

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. Leopold’s land ethic idea is extremely relevant in today’s society, but it can be difficult to define, discuss, and implement. To even begin that monumental task, we need leaders who are deeply committed to rolling up their sleeves and building a land ethic at the grassroots level in communities everywhere.

During the two-day Land Ethic Leaders workshop, 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.

The 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 is on your own.


The Biomimicry Institute

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.


Veracruz Biomimicry & Design Expedition
July 12 – July 21, 2018

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Veracruz State while learning about biomimicry—the practice of developing sustainable technologies inspired by ideas from nature—with peers from all over the world.

This event is designed for teachers, faculty, students, and professionals seeking an intensive, interdisciplinary, and experiential introduction to biomimicry in a vibrant natural setting. The ten-day expeditionary workshop will open your eyes, your brain, and your heart to new ways of engaging in the world around you. Along with international colleagues from a variety of disciplines, you will explore ten different ecosystems in Mexico’s beautiful Veracruz State as you learn to see nature differently and work your way through the biomimicry methodology to solve a design challenge.

Cost: The cost of the workshop is $1,950 and includes all meals and accommodations for the seven-day journey and stay in Veracruz. Tuition does not include travel costs to and from Mexico City or food and lodging costs while in the City.

Teacher CEUs: Up to 6 CEUs will be available for educators who complete all sections of the course. CEUs are offered through San José State University at $60 per CEU.

Learn more at


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.


Summer Curriculum Design Studio: Educating for a Sustainable Future

August 6 – 10, 2018

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!

Held at the beautiful Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, you will get access to expertise, resources, and tools to reorient and enrich curricula. Through working sessions, learning circles, coaching, peer review, and optional mini-sessions, you will create and develop units and protocols that educate for sustainability.

Come yourself or bring a team! Space is limited. Register today.


Community Works Institute

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.

See below and visit the website to learn more about these professional development opportunities and to register.


2018 Summer WEST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability

July 23 – 27, 2018

Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California

An immersion for K-16 educators in CWI’s acclaimed learning lab, using one of the world’s most vibrant and culturally rich urban settings as our classroom. An exceptional week of transformative professional development, program design, and networking.


Creative Change

Creative Change is a national educational consulting firm based in southeast Michigan. Districts and universities turn to us when their curriculum isn’t working – when achievement is low, inequalities persist, or it’s time for fresh thinking. We provide professional development, curriculum, and consulting to help educators across grades and disciplines reframe instruction around sustainability and social justice.

Our work integrates project- and place-based learning and culturally responsive instruction. Topics include food systems, ecological economics, and multiculturalism. Evaluations show consistent gains in student achievement, especially in underserved communities. Grounded in scholarship, our approach will be published by Routledge in 2018.

Creative Change offers:

  • On-site and hybrid professional development combining interdisciplinary content and effective pedagogy.
  • Ongoing support and one-on-one coaching for educators.
  • A curriculum library featuring exemplary lessons, frameworks, and complete course modules.



At EcoRise, we believe in the power of teachers to ignite innovation and the potential of students to design a sustainable future for all. Our school-based program empowers youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities by teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Over 350 schools have implemented our full program and 1,800 teachers in 26 countries have accessed our educational materials. 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.

We offer:

  • Online and in-person professional development, curriculum, and self-paced resources for green industry connections to K–12 educators, STEM educators, and Project-Based Learning teachers.
  • For U.S.-based schools, we award micro grants to student-designed sustainability projects.
  • Our committed partnership with like-minded institutions and corporate supporters to expand reach and impact.

Visit to learn more.


Green Schools Alliance

Green Schools Alliance is an international organization that advances student success and saves schools resources by fostering whole school sustainability. Originally developed as a network created by schools for schools, the Alliance has evolved to provide integrated and organized support to students, school professionals, schools, and districts to foster sustainability work.

Alliance programs are scaled and developed from member ideas to make them more accessible for other member schools. The Alliance conducts work via its international coalition of schools, rooted in the idea that collaboration among schools brings the greatest change for sustainable learning environments and communities. They:

  • promote student success through leadership training, project-based learning, and a support system.
  • inspire school professionals through access to training, resources, and a community of fellow sustainability champions.
  • provide schools with tools to accelerate whole school sustainability efforts through collective purchasing power, access to resources, and reporting and recognition systems.
  • offer districts the programs to leverage high-volume purchasing power, foster collaborative communication, and gather systemwide information on school efforts.

Learn more about upcoming events.


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.


North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference

The 48th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held in Spokane, Washington from October 9 – 13, 2018. The theme for this year’s conference is EE: A Force for the Future.

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.

More information on registration and travel will be coming soon!


Shelburne Farms 

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 both student learning and professional development for educators. The ideas of place and sustainability are at the heart of its work. Shelburne Farms offers a variety of experiences that inspire deep connections to community and a commitment to a healthy future.


Upcoming Programming

Project Seasons for Young Learners: Cultivating Joy & Wonder

July 9 – 13, 2018

Are you looking for new ways to connect your program to the community outside of your classroom? Join us at the Farm for hands-on, interdisciplinary activities and explore ways in which these can be adapted to your own learning community. Connect with other early childhood professionals to share best practices over these four days in a picturesque setting, leaving you energized and inspired to create even more meaningful opportunities and experiences within your program.

Cost $575. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes accommodations and graduate credit. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Learn more and register here.


The Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability

July 23 – 27, 2018

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 2018 Summer Institute will draw upon the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for inspiration, connecting you and your students to a global movement.

Cost $600. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes travel and graduate credit. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Learn more and register here.


General Resources

Experiential Tools: Resources for Teaching and Group Facilitation

Experiential Tools was founded by author and educator Jennifer Stanchfield to provide educators with quality, unique, and user-friendly methods to enhance learning, increase engagement, build community, facilitate group development, and engage learners in meaningful reflection and dialogue.  Resources offered include consulting, professional development programs, workshops, books, and teaching and facilitation tools. Visit the website for a list of upcoming workshops.


Facing the Future 

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
  • 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.


Generation 180 Student Intern Program

Generation 180 is committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original, engaging content, digitally-enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network. Their online internship program teaches high school students about changes in the energy industry and innovations that are enabling individuals to choose clean energy for the first time. Interns will receive online training consisting of educational materials, a series of live training webinars, and opportunities for peer feedback and support. With this training, students will be equipped to complete assignments and self-directed projects spanning the areas of community research, outreach, and engagement—all designed to result in direct, measurable carbon emissions reductions.

Participants must b­e rising high school juniors or seniors and will need a computer and internet connection to attend webinars and complete assignments. Due to its online format, the program can be completed from anywhere in the United States. Participants can choose from one of two sessions scheduled for summer 2018: July 9–27 and July 30–August 17.


Green Schoolyards America’s 2018 School Ground Activity Guide Set

Green Schoolyards America has updated its popular Living Schoolyard Activity Guides for 2018. Together, the Living Schoolyard Activity Guide – United States Edition and International School Grounds Month Activity Guide contain 235 activities contributed by 187 schools, agencies, nonprofits, museums, universities, businesses, and utilities across the U.S. and 27 countries around the world. Both guides are available for free online and contain a wide range of ideas for use by PreK-12 schools before, during, and after school.


Learning Lab

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.


NEEF’s Get Dirty! Learning Expedition Toolkit

The National Environmental Education Foundation 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.


Siemens STEM Day

Siemens STEM Day is a refreshed and expanded version of the beloved Siemens Science Day, now intended to span the whole K-12 STEM experience. Siemens STEM Day offers a variety of tools and resources that will help you reinvent your STEM curriculum, including original hands-on activities for grades K-12 and a teacher support center.



TeachEngineering is a searchable, web-based digital library collection comprised of standards-based engineering curricula for use by K-12 educators to make applied science and math come alive through engineering design in K-12 settings. The TeachEngineering collection provides educators with free access to a growing curricular resource of activities, lessons, units, maker challenges, and sprinkles for use in informal education settings. Every lesson and activity is explicitly aligned to the science and/or math educational standards of the state in which it was first developed and classroom tested, as well as to the Common Core Math, Next-Gen Science and ITEEA standards, if they apply.


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.


Environmental and Sustainability Education Related Resources

Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators

Environmental educators work in a variety of places to design, deliver, and evaluate programs that inform, motivate, and empower learners of all ages. This collection of resources, perspectives, and examples will help nonformal environmental educators learn more about the field of environmental education, access resources and gain skills to improve their practice, and over time, build a community of practitioners to advance the field. The third edition (2016) of this e-book has ten chapters that can be viewed or downloaded at no charge.


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.


California Education and the Environment Initiative

The California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) is a statewide effort to make environmental literacy an integral part of K-12 instruction in California. EEI provides educators with professional learning and instructional materials that demonstrate how to blend the environment into the teaching of traditional academic subjects like science, history, and English language arts.

EEI’s groundbreaking, first-in-the nation K-12 environmental education curriculum uses the environment as a context to help students learn science and history-social science. It is California State Board of Education-approved, supports state and national standards, and is considered a model that demonstrates how to integrate environmental literacy into classroom instruction. Although developed to meet California standards, some lessons may be adapted for use by educators in other states.


California’s Blueprint for Environmental Literacy

On September 15, 2015, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. The blueprint lays out six guiding principles and six key strategies that support the goal of increasing environmental literacy for all California schools. Among these principles and strategies is the recommendation to integrate environmental education into subjects educators are already required to cover. Upon full implementation, the blueprint will ensure all California students receive high quality instruction.


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.


Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

From Amazon: In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.

Visit Drawdown’s companion website, where you can learn more about Project Drawdown and the solutions proposed in the book.


Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect

From Amazon: In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical; deadens the sense of wonder for the created world.

The crisis we face, Orr explains, is one of mind, perception, and values. It is, first and foremost, an educational challenge. The author begins by establishing the grounds for a debate about education and knowledge. He describes the problems of education from an ecological perspective and challenges the “terrible simplifiers” who wish to substitute numbers for values. He follows with a presentation of principles for re-creating education in the broadest way possible, discussing topics such as biophilia, the disciplinary structure of knowledge, the architecture of educational buildings, and the idea of ecological intelligence. Orr concludes by presenting concrete proposals for reorganizing the curriculum to draw out our affinity for life.


Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence

From Amazon: Hopeful, eloquent, and bold, Ecoliterate offers inspiring stories, practical guidance, and an exciting new model of education that builds – in vitally important ways – on the success of social and emotional learning by addressing today’s most important ecological issues.

This book shares stories of pioneering educators, students, and activists engaged in issues related to food, water, oil, and coal in communities from the mountains of Appalachia to a small village in the Arctic; the deserts of New Mexico to the coast of New Orleans; and the streets of Oakland, California to the hills of South Carolina. 

Ecoliterate marks a rich collaboration between Daniel Goleman and the Center for Ecoliteracy, an organization best known for its pioneering work with school gardens, school lunches, and integrating ecological principles and sustainability into school curricula. For nearly twenty years the Center has worked with schools and organizations in more than 400 communities across the United States and numerous other countries. 

Ecoliterate also presents five core practices of emotionally and socially engaged ecoliteracy and a professional development guide.


The Edible Schoolyard Project

The mission of the Edible Schoolyard Project is to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-K through high school. The Project’s website offers an array of curricular resources to empower students of all grade levels with the knowledge and values to make food choices that are healthy for them, their communities, and the environment. All lessons are fully integrated into academic subjects and support content standards, Common Core State Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. The website also provides information on training opportunities and programs around the country that are implementing edible education at their schools and in their communities.


Educating for Sustainability: Principles and Practices for Teachers

From Amazon: Educating for Sustainability presents fundamental principles, theoretical foundations, and practical suggestions for integrating education for sustainability into existing schoolwide systems and programs, organized in three sections: Principles of Education for Sustainability; Fostering a Sustainability Worldview; Learning and Thinking for Sustainability.

Designed for teachers and teachers-to-be at all grade levels and across the content areas, the focus is on professional practices and pedagogical approaches rather than specific topics often associated with sustainability. Each chapter includes a number of supports to help readers monitor and improve their own professional practice and to deepen their own sustainability wordview, including textboxes in most chapters that provide more detailed or specialized information and a range of application exercises. All chapters include several “Consider This” activities and an “Extend Your Professional Knowledge” feature. Directly grounded in K-12 classroom practice, this book presents useful and realistic information for teachers looking to reorient their work toward sustainability and help their students develop new thinking and problem-solving abilities.


Education and the Environment: Creating Standards-Based Programs in Schools and Districts

From Harvard Education Press: In this timely book, curriculum expert Gerald A. Lieberman provides an innovative guide to creating and implementing a new type of environmental education that combines standards-based lessons on English language arts, math, history, and science with community investigations and service learning projects.

By connecting academic content with local investigations, environmental study becomes not simply another thing added to the classroom schedule but an engaging, thought-provoking context for learning multiple subjects.

The projects outlined in the book further students’ understanding of the way human and natural “systems” interact locally and globally and provide the next generation with the knowledge necessary for making decisions that will be critical to their future—and ours.


Education for a Sustainable Future Benchmarks: For Individual and Social Learning

Education for a Sustainable Future: Benchmarks for Individual and Social Learning was released by The Journal of Sustainability Education in 2017. This 70-page account is authored by, and represents the current and best thinking of, forty-two scholars and practitioners of the field of Education for Sustainability (EfS). The Benchmarks include the Big Ideas, Thinking Skills, Applied Knowledge, Dispositions, Actions, and Community Connections that define Education for Sustainability. They embody essential elements that administrators, curriculum professionals, faculty, board and community members may adopt: to align goals; to self-assess performance; and to intentionally and effectively educate for the future we want by design. In addition, the Benchmarks embody the consensus that our field needs to demonstrate the impact of EfS and to catalyze wide-spread implementation.


Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit

The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Toolkit can help schools and communities develop a process for creating locally relevant and culturally appropriate education. The ESD Toolkit is an easy-to-use manual for beginning the process of combining education and sustainability. It has eight major components:

  • An introduction to sustainability.
  • A description of the major thrusts and components of ESD and a method of bringing ESD to the school level.
  • A discussion of 12 major issues that have slowed the progress of ESD.
  • A case study of the Toronto Board of Education’s community consultation and subsequent curriculum revision that indirectly addressed ESD as a result of the citizens’ visions and desires.
  • A description of management techniques for initiating change in schools.
  • A brief description of public participation methods for including the citizenry in community decisions regarding sustainability and ESD.
  • Exercises to help schools and communities to understand sustainability, create sustainability goals, reorient the curriculum to address sustainability, and initiate change within an educational system.
  • Links to other websites on sustainability, education for sustainability, historic United Nations documents, and communities that have developed sustainability plans.


Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

From Amazon: Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help book designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.


Integrating Sustainability Science into the Classroom

An Arizona State University Professional Development course, Integrating Sustainability Science into the Classroom aims to cultivate the skills and strategies necessary for incorporating sustainability science topics across common K-12 curricula. The goal is to create crosswalk opportunities for making sustainability science relevant in subjects such as English Language Arts, Literacy, History, Social Studies, Science, Art, Drama, and Mathematics. Offered as an introduction into the topic of sustainability, educators will learn about the history of sustainability, what sustainability is, explore sustainability topics, learn how to mobilize the Four Ways of Thinking framework, and how to connect sustainability to their curriculum.

This fully online course takes roughly four to six hours to complete. Course cost is $200.


Leading Culture and Systems Change: How to Develop Network Leadership and Support Emerging Networks

Leading Culture and Systems Change: How to Develop Network Leadership and Support Emerging Networks examines why people and organizations working on complex systemic problems (like climate change and structural racism) are using network approaches to make more progress. Network leadership requires a shift away from the dominant thinking that sees leadership as the achievements of exceptional individuals rather than the collective efforts of people working together around commonly held goals and aspirations. This publication is a guide with very practical ideas about how to make network principles a way of working and leading.


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.


Project BudBurst

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 WET

Project WET’s mission is to reach children, parents, teachers, and community members of the world with water education that promotes awareness of water and empowers community action to solve complex water issues. Project WET:

  • Publishes water resource education materials that are appropriate for many different age groups and cultures and offer comprehensive coverage of the broad topic of water.
  • Provides training workshops to educators at all levels, formal and non-formal, on diverse water topics so that those educators can reach children with objective, experiential, science-based water education.
  • Organizes and inspires community water events, including water festivals and ActionEducation™ projects.
  • Builds a worldwide network of educators, water resource professionals, NGOs, water scientists, and other experts to advocate for the role of water education in solving complex water issues.


Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability

From Routledge: Reframing the Curriculum is a practical, hands-on guide to weaving the concepts of healthy communities, democratic societies, and social justice into academic disciplines. Developed for future and practicing teachers, this volume is perfect for teacher education courses in instructional design, social foundations, and general education, as well as for study in professional learning communities. The author outlines the philosophies, movements, and narratives shaping the future, both in and out of classrooms, and then challenges readers to consider the larger story and respond with curriculum makeovers that engage students in solving problems in their schools, communities, and the larger world. The book’s proven method for designing units gives educators across grades and disciplines the tools to bring sustainability and social justice into experiential, project-based instructional approaches.

Pedagogical features include:

  • Specific examples and templates that offer readers a framework for reworking their units and courses while meeting required standards and incorporating innovative classroom practices.
  • Activities and discussion questions that bring to life and establish ties with the curriculum.
  • eResources, including a facilitator’s guide, offering examples of fully developed units created with this model and an editable template for redesigning existing units.


Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning: Using the Outdoors as an Instructional Tool, K – 8

From Amazon: Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning shows how the school grounds—regardless of whether your school is in an urban, suburban, or rural setting—can become an enriching extension of the classroom. In this comprehensive handbook, Herb Broda blends theory and practice, providing readers with practical suggestions and teacher-tested activities for using the most powerful audio-visual tool available—the outdoors.

Emphasizing the practical, this innovative book offers teachers step-by-step guidance to help ensure success when they take a class outside. It provides:

  • Background that helps present the case for outdoor learning: educational theory that supports the concept; overview of the terminology; research on the benefits related to student achievement; alignment of outdoor learning with current teaching practices.
  • Ideas for making the schoolyard an effective outdoor classroom: the planning process; enhancing and maintaining the site; developing gardens and attracting wildlife; finding community resources and funding.
  • Advice on working with a class outdoors: garnering administrative and parental support; considerations before going out; making the most of your outdoor time; using GPS as an educational tool; building on the outdoor experience back in the classroom.
  • An array of proven activities that utilize the schoolyard: activities related to specific subject areas; activities that teach process skills; activities that encourage initiative and build community.

At a time when children’s natural curiosity about the outdoors is eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools may be the only place where they are encouraged to interact with nature. Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning can help teachers unlock the powerful learning experiences that exist just beyond the classroom door.


Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide

The Center for Ecoliteracy’s Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide uses text, video, photography, and interactive experiences to help educators, students, and advocates learn how food and climate interact and how personal choices can make a difference. Ideal for grades 6-12 and general audiences and connected to Next Generation Science Standards and the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies themes, the guide offers activities for student research and provides extensive resources for further investigation.


World’s Largest Lesson

The World’s Largest Lesson was developed by Project Everyone to introduce the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development to children and young people and unite them in action to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. Visit the website to learn more about this project, find resources and lesson plans for teaching each of the 17 goals, and learn how you can join this global effort.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by world leaders in September 2015. The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals and are intended to bring an end to poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. On this website, you can learn more about each goal and what actions you can take in your everyday life to contribute to a sustainable future.

For resources, lesson plans, and global projects aligned to the SDGs, visit TeachSDGs.


Grants and Awards

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 deadline for applications is July 15, 2018.


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 up to $2,500 and support the purchase of materials and other project implementation expenses. Deadline to submit an application is July 15, 2018.


EDspaces Educational Facility Grant Program

The EDspaces Educational Facility Grant program funds high-quality professional development for education-based facility planners, superintendents, purchasing officers, and related staff, introducing them to innovative solutions and best practices assisting effective decision-making about upcoming educational construction or renovation projects.

  • Experience innovative products that support the creation of effective learning environments
  • Participate in educational sessions led by nationally recognized speakers
  • Engage in conversations with peers in the educational facility planning environment
  • Learn more about innovative approaches in practice for planning, designing, and equipping facilities
  • Connect with the vendors that will support your next design project
  • Evaluate the latest in school equipment, fixtures, and furniture

The EDspaces Educational Facilities Grant includes hotel accommodations for up to three nights at an official EDspaces host hotel and full conference registration with enriching educational sessions, exhibits, and networking events. The 2018 grant program will open in spring 2018.


FirstEnergy STEM Classroom Grants

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 2018-2019 school year are now available and must be submitted by September 21, 2018.



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.


Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! Grants

Project Learning Tree® (PLT), a national environmental education program for PreK-12 educators, offers GreenWorks! grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment. Projects partner students with their whole school, local businesses, and/or community organizations, and provide opportunities for student leadership. Funds can be used by students for a variety of projects, such as implementing recycling programs at their school, conserving water and energy, or establishing school gardens and outdoor classrooms. To be eligible to apply, an educator must have attended a PLT training, either in-person or online, that also provides them with PLT lesson plans and other resources to help integrate these projects and environmental education into their curriculum. Apply by September 30, 2018.


The Shell Science Teaching Award

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 17, 2018.