Author Archives: Tom Julius

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


How wonderful that we have such an articulate example of educating for sustainability from Antioch EFS alumna Mona Dalmia! Check out Mona’s classroom at the Green School, Bali, in the video below.

Mona’s classroom illustrates several aspects of organizing a classroom in ways that honor principles of sustainability.

  • The curriculum takes advantage of the community the school is nested in.
  • Her animal unit interconnects across content areas.
  • She honors student development through multiple assessments
  • And Mona fosters a flow of critical dialogue in the classroom that inspires and challenges her students.

Nestedness, interconnectedness, development, and flow, these are elements of sustainable natural systems. Mona’s attentiveness to these principles is an acknowledgement that a classroom is a natural living system, an ecology. An ecological system where the interactions the students, the teacher, and the whole learning environment come together to form a dynamic, sustainable learning environment in the classroom.

Check out Mona’s EFS blog here Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 3.33.58 PM



And many thanks to Make Change TV for producing this video.

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Wondering how to educate for sustainability in an urban school? How to garden in an asphalt playground? Or how to foster a commitment to sustainability in your school whether urban, suburban, or rural? You need to check out the video and links below.

education outside

Education Outside educates for sustainability in San Francisco schools. They do more than make school gardens, they connect students, teachers, parents, and administrators to nature and to the principles of sustainability that govern our world.

Get inspired! Check out their new video below and visit them at Education Outside.

Mona Dalmiaworld bamboo

World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation. The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world, as well as promote traditional uses locally for community economic development. World Bamboo Day started from very humble beginnings in 2009, with a couple hundred people raising their arms and hearts for bamboo during the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok.  Kamesh Salam successfully convinced the Royal Forest Department of Thailand and the Thai government to declare September 18 as World Bamboo Day.

Since then World Bamboo Day has been gathering energy and coalition, as the subsequent years gave birth to marvelous celebrations in various countries around the world. In 2012 World Bamboo Day was a huge success, bringing forth far-reaching organized celebrations, ceremonies, events, competitions, festivals, training seminars, and music shared by thousands of people!

We at Green School had many reasons to celebrate World bamboo Day. All the desks, chairs, buildings, student cubbies, lunch tables etc are all made with bamboo. We live in bamboo literally. To raise awareness and to celebrate this day my students extended their connection to the place by making play resources out of bamboo for the younger children in the school. My students knew that younger years did not have many resources in their class and interestingly neither did my students. But when I presented the idea of using the day to create something meaningful several children in my class opted for this project because we are reading buddies with Kindergarten and PreK. I realized that when children connect to a place they can take proactive measures in finding solutions to issues out of love and compassion for the place. This type of contextualized learning and creative participation in the school can provide opportunities for students to investigate and deepen their relationship to their environment. I term this as innovation in service learning.

The engagement of students and teachers participating in designing, and creating bamboo toys for early years is evident in the video below:

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 10.30.51 AMFollowing this we made our weekly visits to the kindergarten and PreK classroom, where grade 2 students sang a song and presented the toys to the younger students. There was much excitement in the air that day as grade 2, K & preK students played together with the new toys, building bridges and towers and many other things that were only limited by their imagination.

Mona Dalmia, Antioch University New England Educating For Sustainability MEd Program Alumna and an independent education consultant based in Pune, India. Contact Mona at: and follow her blog at:

Just as there is a flow of seasons in the natural worlds there is a flow to our school year. seasons_of_tree_picturesSummer is a time of renewal when there are opportunities that nurture us personally and professionally, connects us to the greater network of educators, and resets our commitment to sustainability. So get out there and connect with other EFS teachers this summer!

Here’s a sampling of opportunities:

~ Antioch University New England summer graduate courses, Keene, NH: Sustainable School Leadership and Real World Sustainability (July 8-19).

~ Community Works Institutes on Service Learning, Los Angeles, CA (July 29-Aug 2) and Shelburne, VT  (July 15-19).

~ Sustainable Schools Collaborative, Sustainable Schools – Sustainable Solutions Conference, West Linn, OR (June 24-25).

~ Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, Summer Institute: Educating for Sustainability K-12 Educators, Purchase, NY (July 15-17).

~ Center for Ecoliteracy, Becoming Ecoliterate: A New Integration of Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intellignece, San Anslemo, CA (June 24).

~ Sustainable Schools Project, Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability, Shelburne Farms, VT (July 31-Aug 2).

And a shout out to Green the Next Gen, the EcoLiteracy Curriculum division of the San Francisco Unified School District. Check out their website and see how a public school district networks with local partners to provide Educating for Sustainability professional development for their teachers!

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Schools must strive to develop systems that serve the needs of all students.

Join us for a conference day highlighting Holistic Special Education.

Wednesday, May 22, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

Featuring keynote speaker Kim John Payne, Director of the Center for Social Sustainability.

Followed by workshops and a panel discussion with leaders and practitioners in the field.

Topics will include:

  • the changing landscape of special education
  • what we know–mining our cognitive capital
  • benefits and challenges of collaborative models
  • transformative teaching and leading–from ablesim to inclusion
  • creating holistic and healthy classrooms–holding space for diversity

See the complete schedule here.

To Register: visit our website at: or call Peg Smeltz: 603.283.2301



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