Friday, February 27, 2015

Eco-Thinking from Room to Room

The winter blues getting you down?  Be excited, it's less than 2 months until Earth Day.  Here's some things (50 in fact) you can start to do around your house to make some changes...especially if you're stuck inside on a snow day! (Click here [twice] to magnify to a larger image.)



Infographic from http://inhabitat.com/infographic-50-ways-your-home-could-help-save-the-planet/ and http://www.anglianhome.co.uk/goodtobehome/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/50-ways-your-home-could-save-the-earth.jpg

Monday, February 23, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside

Living along the East Coast, the last week or so has brought about some frigid Arctic blasts along
with the dumping of inches of "that white stuff."  Depending on where you fall on the map has determined the number of snow days you've encountered.  The public schools in and around our area have also had a number of late starts... largely due to the chill-tonian temperatures upon sunrise. Sometimes there's the fear of melting and then refreeze (creating hazardous driving conditions) and sometimes it's more a matter of not wanting our littlest of ones (or even our walking high schoolers or bus-stop middle schoolers) out facing the frigid temperatures, fraught with extensive wind chill.

Wind chill has been making a name for itself!

(And it's right about here, that noisy naysayer say "Oh, and what's all this about 'global warming?'" 'Climate change' [the better terminology] means that we are in an era of more extreme weather.  Not that there will be no winter. Don't even get me started on this noise!!)

If you are in search and wonder as to what exactly wind chill is, or what kind of activities you can do at school to investigate wind chill, check out these resources.

  • TED-ED's "What is the Wind Chill Index" (A lesson created by Amy Woxland, with a 2 minute video, multiple choice quiz, and further investigation links to determine the day's wind chill factor.)
  • Conduction lesson plan from Climate Education for K-12.  This includes the National Weather Service's Wind Chill chart, which you can also find here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fresh Water For You

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Here in this continuing series on World Water Day 2015, we turn to Christiana Z. Peppard.  In her TED-ED lesson "Where We Get Our Fresh Water" she has a video just over 3.5 minutes that sums up the limited yet valuable resource of water.  She includes some post-video questions for your students to ponder, as well as some additional links in her "Dig Deeper" section.  

Here's the video--which will make you want to head over to TED-ED!




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Living Outside the Landfill

The Green Phone Booth is an environmental blog I like to follow. 

Their tagline is "Where Ordinary People Become Eco-Heroes."

One of their most recent articles this past week was entitled "82 Ways to Avoid the Landfill."  It's a great list of a lot of old, new, and possibly forgotten ways to reduce your planetary impact.  

My top 5 favorites from their amazingly thorough list:
  • Give junk mail the boot.
  • Push away from plastic plates & utensils & make the move to the "real" stuff.
  • Take your own to-go containers for doggie-bag time when dining out.
  • Push for plastic bag bans & take your own bags to the store
  • Take dry cleaning hangers back to the dry cleaner!

Photo from:  http://www.greenphonebooth.com/2015/02/82-ways-to-avoid-landfill.html

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Framing Education Around Population

I'm still flying high after last weekend's MAEOE Conference in Ocean City.  I mentioned it before, but it definitely is worth a re-mention:  my favorite session of the weekend was led by Carol Bliese of Population Education.


On top of being in love with their 7 minute video that I posted last weekend, I'm also in love with the above map (which you can download or buy poster sized on their site). The map shows what the world would look like if the land masses matched the population per country.  Interesting!

I think the study of population relates directly to the planetary problems.  Over-population, over-consumption of static non-renewable resources, and then the over-abundance of landfillling waste (through the crazy idea of planned obsolescence of tech goodies and gadgets)...all of this is directly related to the number of people on the planet.  Add in water pollution, water shortages, availability of healthy food... The study of population can do a lot to open eyes for the amount of planets we are using, and what our planet's carrying capacity looks like!

Carol Bliese wrote a blog post on the Population Education website about the 19 of us and how our 3 hour session played out last Friday.

It was a good day!!  Any day you can go home with a boatload full of exciting hands-on activities is a great day!

Other definite goodies worth checking out can be found on the Population Education website:
Images from:
Carol Bliese's photo from https://www.populationeducation.org/content/meet-our-trainers, map from https://www.populationeducation.org/content/population-map

Friday, February 13, 2015

Send a Little eLove this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is full of hearts, hugs, happiness, red, pink, and love.  It's a prime time to send those you love an eCard to show your eLove.  Not to mention, eCards, along with being quick, can help you save two prime resources:  money and paper.

World Wildlife Fund has a slew of Valentine's eCards, as well as cards filled with adorable endangered animals for other card-giving reasons for other seasons.  What a great way to show the people you care--about them and the things that are important.


Image from http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/PageServer?pagename=WWF_Free_Ecards

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Planting the Seeds of Change

I love how the author of this Mother Natured article decided to post this poster on her fridge in order to make small steps toward bigger action and future change. Every step in the right direction is going the right way!



Poster from http://mothernatured.com/2014/05/29/save-the-environment-poster/

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Superbowl: MAEOE'S Annual Conference


Ahh....one of my favorite weekends of the year is here:  Maryland Association of Environmental & Outdoor Educators' annual conference.  It's always the first weekend of February, and for the bulk of the past 7 years, I have been here.  2 days with like-minded people, going to workshops and educational sessions, soaking up the green scene, and learning new (and being reminded of old) tidbits and trends for the classroom.  It's completely like coming home.

It's my li'l eco-nirvana!!

After 2 days of sessions, my mind is swimming with resources I can't wait to share.  Too much info, too little time!!

Here's where I will end...for now!  With a dynamic 7 minute video from Population Education, my 3-hour morning session yesterday.  I personally love timelines, and it reminds me of my Social Studies curriculum last year, at my former very "green" school that this conference reminds me of so much..  This video shows population growth from 1 AD to the present to the projected 2030.  The last 200 years will blow you away as we make our way to 7.3 billion people planet-wide!  Remember, each dot on the video is 1 million people. It starts with 170.  [Spoiler alert:  The only time the numbers ever decrease is during the Black Plague.]


Image from http://maeoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/conference-banner-2.jpg;
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BbkQiQyaYc

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Story of the Sea Turtle ~ Mathematically Speaking

"A longshot.
The exception not the rule.
A jackpot.
A miracle."

This is the story of the sea turtle.
Mathematically speaking.



This TED-Ed video by Scott Glass does a nice job of showing the math behind the difficulties of being a surviving sea turtle in a human world.  Not only does this 4.5 minute video show the environmental impacts on this species, but there's an interesting secondary mathematical conversation that can be had.  Elementary students would clearly see the power of division, and what that can mean over time to the sea turtle population.

For additional kid-friendly information that will appeal to your students, check out these links:

Sea Turtles from Ranger Rick

Sea Turtles ~ a variety of sea turtles by species with information, photos, videos, and conservation status.

Green Sea Turtles at the National Aquarium

Sea Turtles:  The Kids Times from NOAA Fisheries



Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=t-KmQ6pGxg4
Sea Turtle poster by http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Animals/Amphibians-and-Reptiles/Sea-Turtles.aspx