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Forest and Nature Schools
A message from our friends north of the border:
A year ago three partner organizations, (Forest School Canada, Child and Nature Alliance, and Focus on Forests), one funder (TD Friends of the Environment Foundation), one editor, as well as sixteen educators from across Canada all set out to develop a Forest and Nature School Guide. After many months of collaboration, dialogue, debate, writing and editing we’re happy to launch “FOREST AND NATURE SCHOOL IN CANADA: A Head, Heart, Hands Approach to Outdoor Learning.”
 
In these pages, you will find out more on the ethos of Forest and Nature School as it relates to a Canadian context, as well as what it looks like in practice. We weave together principles, storytelling, place-based learning, play, and notions of risk like you’ve never seen it before! I’m confident this guide will be relevant to your work, and that together we’re all making a difference at connecting children to the natural world!
Please share this widely in your networks, and a big thank you to everyone involved in creating something magical. Also, we’re very grateful to David Sobel for writing the preface to this guide, as well as Robert Bateman who opened up the discussion on our blog today on the importance of Forest and Nature School in Canada! To see the blog post, click here: http://www.forestschoolcanada.ca/uncategorized/forest-and-nature-school-by-robert-bateman.
Kindest, Marlene Power
1. Link to Share on Social Media:

http://www.forestschoolcanada.ca/forest-and-nature-school-in-canada

2. PDF of Guide:

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.45.59 AMThe Green School National Network seeks presenters for the 5th annual Green Schools National Conference, set for March 4-7, 2015 in Virginia Beach, VA.

We are pleased to spread the word about this conference. Sponsored by the Green Schools National Network, the conference is a gathering place where K-12 school personnel, government entities, non-profit organizations and businesses dedicated to sustainability in K-12 schools can meet and discover ways to work together to make schools greener. Antioch University New England faculty and students have presented and attended this conference each year since it started, and this year Antioch alumna Jenny Seydel is conference coordinator

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Here are links to the network’s request for proposals:

  • We are seeking Conference Presentations for breakout sessions, speed greening sessions and poster sessions. The deadline to submit presentations is June 30Call for Presenters

See you in Virgina Beach, March 4-7, 2015!

Educating for Sustainability reminds us that a healthy, sustainable school experience includes matters of environment, economics and equity, also known as: place, productivity, and people.

Here’s a wonderful story from the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper of a 5th grade in Guilford, VT that took a week of school to visit local farms, make a community video, map a forest trail, cook locally sourced meals, and create a theatrical performance about Guilford during the Civil War.

Guilford takes classroom into community

Teacher, Jen Kramer described as one of the most profound teaching experience of her career. And it’s not just a one off week of activity, Kramer’s classroom regularly includes place-based curriculum from mini-activites to multi-week units and year-long themes.

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The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes, the country’s first sustainability-themed public, elementary, magnet school, has an opening for a Sustainability Coach.  The job description can be found on SchoolSpring.
Sustainability Academy at Lawrence BarnesThe Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes, which opened in September of 2009, is the result of a five-year collaboration between the Burlington, VT School District and the Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project. This is an ideal job for someone with a passion for sustainability, a background in education, and a love for elementary school-aged children.  There is a lot of creativity and innovation in the job which is part coach, part facilitator, part collaborator, part dreamer and part hands-on do’er! And, tell them you read about it on the Antioch EFS blog!

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 12.38.35 PMThe US Green Building Council (USGBC), the folks who inspire beautifully sustainable buildings with their LEED certification program, have done it again!

This time with the help of Antioch’s David Sobel, Sue Gentile, and Paul Bocko they’ve entered into the Educating for Sustainability movement in a big way.

USGBC Center for Green Schools brought together stakeholders from academic, corporate, and nonprofit sectors to envision a future where schools support thriving, healthy, and regenerative communities. Then they created a timeline that gets us there by 2040.

It’s all in the National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability. Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 12.22.00 PMGet the Executive Summary and read the full text at centerforgreenschools.org/nationalactionplan.

USGBC already demonstrated its ability to have an impact on the entire building construction industry, and all the related fields connected to and nested within it, such as architecture, energy, waste, and transportation.

The National Action Plan for EfS takes a similarly ecological approach examining the curriculum, assessment, teacher preparation, professional development, and leadership necessary to drive change in the complex system of American education.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 1.07.11 PMWe are not alone. Australia published its first National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability in 2000 and updated it in 2009 setting out a framework for local, regional and national action. Australia’s plan envisions reorienting educational systems, fostering sustainability in business, and harnessing the burgeoning community spirit to collaborate for sustainability.

This is all very encouraging, as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) draws to close, organizations like the USGBC Center for Green Schools are taking the baton.

 

4th Annual Green Schools National Conference

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March 26-29, 2014

Sacramento, CA

Green Schools National Network

Join Antioch University New England’s David Sobel and many others for one of the largest national gatherings of ‘green school’ administrators, advocates, designers, operations managers, teachers, students and parents.

David Sobel will be presenting in the workshops:sobeldavid

  • Curriculum that Advances a Sustainable Future
  • From Here to There…Place-Based Education in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities
  • Bringing Sustainabilty Education Home

Visit the conference website for a complete listing of

workshops and registration.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 10.42.37 PMMichael Hershiser, Grades 5 and 6
Prairie Crossing Charter School, Prairie Crossing School District, Illinois

Antioch University New England alum, Michael Hirshiser’s students examine the food system and its impacts on the environment, learn about water resources and conservation, study sustainability and their own environmental impact, and explore local habitats and ecosystems through outdoor field studies. Students engage in research and problem-solving around real-world environmental issues, such as stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflow. When they discovered the effect of runoff on their community, Michael helped the students formulate a plan to raise money to purchase rain gutters and barrels while at the same time helping others to limit their runoff. They raised just over $3000 through the sale of painted rainbarrels, and the school board matched the funds. Students in Michael’s food system unit participate in sustainable food production on campus and eat local, healthy options. He created backpack lessons to help other teachers use the outdoors as a classroom as well. Through his work, he aims to help students realize the interconnectedness of life and how their own choices impact the greater world.

Check out Michael and other USGBC Trailblazer Teachers here:

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Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 12.08.57 PMHere’s more ore evidence that Nature-based Education is catching on as an organizing theme for pre-schools and early elementary classrooms! Kaitlin Mulhere recently wrote about Nature-based Programs in the Keene Sentinel newspaper:

Four-year-old Myles Alderfer waddles in his snow pants from the goats’ pen toward the trickling creek. In his small hands he holds a yellow bucket, as tall as his knees and half-filled with water. A little bit sloshes out of the bucket with each step he takes…

Read the whole article by Kaitlin Mulhere about Nature -based Education in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire here:

Nature-based Education Programs Gaining Popularity in Area

111_webIN THE BACK OF THE FARMHOUSE at Drumlin Farm Community Preschool in Lincoln sit five chickens surrounded by a gaggle of preschoolers — eyes wide, waiting. The teacher opens the egg box door, and the students, staying slow and small like they were taught, peer in…

Click here to read the whole October 6 article by Melinda Penda as it appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine featuring Antioch’s David Sobel and the new  Nature-Based Early Childhood Program.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.45.57 PM Laura White fosters a sustainable learning environment in her Stoddard, New Hampshire classroom by connecting with families and students before school starts.

Laura recognizes that meeting students’ developmental needs requires a systems way of thinking and connecting. By visiting families in their homes prior to school starting she honors how students are nested in multiple communities of home, classroom, school, and town.

Read the whole story in this feature article from the Keene Sentinel newspaper:

Stoddard teacher meets her students on their own turf

 

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