Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Latest Green Team Gazettes

The latest monthly editions (both the Back to School 2010 and the October 2010) of the Green Team Gazette are up and ready to be read and checked out!  Be sure to click the title above or go to to find the latest links!  You won't want to miss it!  Things you'll find....
  • Plastiki 
  • "Sherman's Lagoon"
  • Environmental books for kids
  • How river pollution impacts the oceanic garbage patches
  • The water cycle
  • And new feature--monthly reproducible to link & build your students' creativity, critical thinking skills, and environmental awareness!

Young Voices on Climate Change

 If you're like me, you're always looking for great resources.  Well, here is a super site of environmental gems! 
Called "Young Voices on Climate Change:  Youth Solutions to the Global Warming Crisis" this series of short films was produced & directed by author (and illustrator!) Lynne Cherry.  

You might know of Lynne Cherry from long list of books including  The Great Kapok Tree, A River Ran Wild, and How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming.  The best part about the films too, is that in addition to their tips to reduce your carbon footprints (at home, schools, and beyond), there's the "young voices" part.  Nothing inspires youth to take action other than seeing young people who are taking action!!

Some of the films include:

Team Marine (students from Santa Monica High School work to ban plastic bags.)

Girls Scouts (who deliver CFL door-to-door with the help of the Sierra Club)

Kids -vs- Global Warming (a 12 year old takes action!)

Anya:  Citizen Science in Siberia (with the help of a scientist, Anya teachers her pals about global warming)

Plant for the Planet (a 9 yr old works to plant 500,000 trees in Germany!)

Green Ambassadors (Take a look at life at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, CA)

Dreaming in Green (see how kids in a FL school saved $53,000 on their energy bill)
To check out these films and find out more, click the title above or go to

Don't forget to check out the Teacher links at

Photos from and

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oysters Away!!

They say a picture is worth 1000 words....Add in a press release and an article from The BayNet, that could be worth about 2000 words!  Check out what we had going on at Eagle Cove School on Friday, September 17th, 2010.  Maryland Green School?  I'd say!!

(Of course, with all the paparazzi on the dock, myself included, I thought for sure it was only a matter of time until I went in!! Luckily, I managed to make it out dry--camera and all!)

Citizen Oyster Growing Project Expands from 12 to 19 Rivers

MARYLAND - 9/19/2010      (Reprinted from

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) delivered oyster cages and spat Sept. 17 at two points along the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County as part of  the State’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program. The Magothy River oyster growers, lead by the Magothy River Association, are beginning their second year as participants in the project. The thriving program launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2008, expanded by seven new rivers this summer to a total of 19 Chesapeake Bay tributaries.  

“I am very pleased the Marylanders Grow Oysters program has continued to grow and additional citizens are taking an interest in restoring our oyster population while taking an active role in stewardship of our Bay,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “With the support of these new organizations, we can continue the successes of this citizen-based program.” 
Early this morning, a delivery was made to Cape St. Claire, followed by a drop-off at Eagle Cove School in Pasadena. The distributions cover both the northern and southern shores of the Magothy River. 

Chosen as a distribution point, Eagle Cove School promotes and supports programs and initiatives in Environmental Studies. At all grade levels, ECS students are involved in environmental learning and projects that increase their awareness of environmental issues, their partnering skills, and their confidence in people’s ability to effect positive change in the world.  
"Eagle Cove School is proud to be an oyster spat distribution point for the Marylanders Grow Oysters program,” said Laura Kang, Head of School. “We are a Maryland Green School, and all students receive hands-on environmental learning. The kids are really looking forward to helping move spat bags to the water, and learning about the oyster recovery efforts here in our own Magothy River. " 
Marylanders Grow Oysters began with one river in Talbot County in 2008. During its second year, a total of 12 rivers were participating.  

“Stewardship of a diminished resource such as the Bay’s oyster population is vital for its long-term recovery,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director for the Oyster Recovery Partnership. 

“Having Marylanders actively caring for these oysters will increase the public’s awareness and understanding of this keystone species and all that is involved to bring them back. The Bay’s recovery is dependent upon everyone doing their part.” 

Under the program, which is run by DNR with assistance from the ORP, more than 1,000 citizens now participate in Marylanders Grow Oysters. Last year the 12 rivers were stocked with spat in 6,123 cages. By the end of October this year, approximately 8,000 cages and spat will have been delivered to new rivers and those already participating. 

“To implement the program, the river coordinator is essential,” said Chris Judy, shellfish biologist with DNR’s Fisheries Service. “Without our local coordinators, the program wouldn’t work.”

DNR and the ORP will work with the seven new local coordinators that have volunteered to support the program’s expansion. These volunteers will identify waterfront property owners willing to become oyster growers, and deliver oyster cages and young oysters to growers in their respective tributaries.

The oyster cages for the program are constructed by inmates under the supervision of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The spat come from University of Maryland Center For Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge. Marylanders Grow Oysters, a program under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative, Program, is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. For more information about Marylanders Grow Oysters visit

Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspiring action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
 Pictures from my camera.  To learn more about Eagle Cove School & our environmental program, click on the link above or go to .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Titanic" and "Plastic" Almost Rhyme

Okay, I'll admit it...I'm a Titanic junkie.

It's true.  There's something about the whole phenomenon that captures me.  I know all about the White Star Line.  I've seen the movie a gazillion times (I always seem to forget that 1/2 way in, there's a major tragedy and the movie's a downer.)  

I know all about how it set sail on April 10th, 1912.  I know about the semi-creepy, ominous, superstitious, history of it nearly crashing upon it's dock departure from Southampton, England (where it nearly crashed the dock and another ship before leaving harbor).  I know all about it's "unsinkable-ness."  I know all about it's commentary on the classist society of 1912. I know about the disregard to the ice warnings the night of it's demise.  I most certainly know ALLL about it's fateful day (or night rather) April 14th, 1912 when it scraped an iceberg and riddled it's holding tanks, making it bottom heavy.  I know about it's half-filled life boats, and it's enormous loss.  Thus said, I know all about it's sinking, and splitting in half, April 15th at approximately  2:20 am. 

I know about The California and how it missed the S.O.S. messages of the Titanic.  I know about The Carpathia, and how it came to the "rescue" (tho late due to distance).  And I know about all about it's findings in 1985 by Robert Ballard with the help of robotic submarines Alvin & Jason Jr.

Therefore, I find the article posted under the title "Plastic Bag Found Floating Near Titanic Shipwreck:  Trash is Evidence of a Different Kind of Tragedy on the Ocean"(at ) particularly bothersome.

As stated int he article by David Gallo, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts:
"We look at Titanic as the greatest disaster at sea, but the Titanic was a single tragic event. What we are doing to the sea on an everyday basis is one of the great untold tragedies," Gallo told OurAmazingPlanet.
So to see a near-100-year old tragedy flanked with a modern-day plastic infraction...incorrigible.  It's a definite head-shake-worthy, "You are kidding me!" event.  Let's just add insult to what point is everything on the ocean bottom just going to be buried under a big pile o'plastic? 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Park Quest 2010 Grand Finale

Maryland Park Quest's 2010 motto was: "Where family becomes a team."  After taking part in yesterday's Park Quest Grand Finale (which, to take part in, you had to complete a minimum of 10 of the 24 Maryland State Park Quests from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2010 to qualify), there could be some other mottos as well. "MD State Parks:  Where a family finds fun!" or "Maryland:  Where a State Builds Outdoor Adventures & A Community!"  On virtually no budget, Maryland Department of Natural Resources did an amazing job! Not only did "Team Dabrowka" (who was decked out in our FL Gator Gear yesterday) have a good time with the 13 Quests we nailed out...but we found the Grand Finale to be totally top notch!!  Add to it, Park Quest 2010 filled our summer with some great local getaways, and some super summer memories and unique outdoor adventures that we wouldn't have had without the guidance of the Park Quest.  Double thumbs up from us!!

It probably didn't hurt that yesterday at Maryland's Gunpowder Falls State Park  we had idyllic weather.  You couldn't ask for anything better!!  But to have a 4-hour window of time in the great outdoors with 20 mini-quests ahead of us, our day was filled...and fun-filled, at that!!  

We geocached...we identified photos of the Maryland Parks and also flora and fauna....we had an adventure in letterboxing...we investigated our carbon footprint...we determined what was wrong with a camping area given the "Leave No Trace" philosophy....we played frisbee disk golf (not necessarily well, I might add)....we saw birds of prey and reptiles at the Scales & Tales table....we bungled along with orienteering while trying to figure out how to read a compass....we awkwardly & unsuccessfully crab walked during the Crab Trap Relay (well, okay, the over 30 set had trouble with that!)....we practiced casting a fishing rod.... we used an Indian tank to put out campfires (yes, pretend ones!)....we played Colonial games & learned some Maryland History along the way....we met and chatted with both park rangers and the Volunteer Mounted Patrol....and we conquered the Outdoor Team Challenge and got our team to the otherside of a rope spider web.  WE HAD FUN FUN a family, as a team, in the great outdoors!
Yes...Thank you Governor Martin O'Malley for your support in this activity and for your Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights (from
• Discover & connect with their natural world.
• Play & learn outdoors.
• Splash & swim in the water.
• Camp under the stars.
• Follow a trail.
• Catch a fish.
• Watch wildlife.
• Explore wild places close to home.
• Celebrate their culture & heritage.
• Share nature with a great mentor or teacher.
Candus Thomson looking on with pride.

At the wrap up ceremony, as trips, camping equipment, and even a family-foursome of bikes were given away to 10 of the 100-ish qualifying families (from the 750 families that originally started up), Candus Thomson looked on.  For those of you who remember,  Candus (of the Baltimore Sun's Outdoor Section's fame,) did the Park Quest 24/7 personal quest to do all 24 Park Quests in 7 days.  To see her final story of both the Park Quest Grand Finale and Maryland's "Diamond Jim" fishing tournament, go to,0,4780654.story?track=rss

To learn more about 2010's Maryland Park Quest Grand Finale, click the title above, or go to And for those of you who are local, be on the lookout come spring for the sign up for Park Quest 2011.  Team Dabrowka, for one, will be there!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Darkening Our Shade of Green: Juice Pouch Recycling


Nope...not a batting average or an address.  259 = the number of Capri Sun Juice Pouches we collected at school this past week (as saved by many over the summer since this is now our 3rd year of collecting pouches for  Yes, I know it's back to school season when I have a boatload of pouches in my sink on a Saturday morning.  I find it my "Zen" part of the weekend. 

As part of being a 3rd grader at Eagle Cove School (, Capri Suns comes with it.  We are the collectors & counters of the juice pouch.  As part of their indoctrination, before our first outting to go collect the classroom juice pouch containers, third graders watched this powerpoint I created and the video links associated.  (With SlideShare, the videos embedded in the Powerpoint don't seem to be live--hence the rectangles with X's, but you can get there by clicking the links.) 

If you are looking to earn a little extra money for your school--2 cents per pouch--check out to sign up.  You might also find this presentation helpful in educating your youngsters as you embark on Terracycle's Juice Pouch Brigade.

You'll also find other curriculum at Terracycle's site created by the Cloud Institute of Sustainability.  To check out more, go to .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Great New Find: SlideShare

The Internet is a a massive, wonderful thing...I am continuously amazed at the wealth that is available out there. 

A new find of mine is SlideShare (  Upon landing on it, you can either create a free account and upload PowerPoint presentations of your own, or put any topic of your choice in the "search" bar and voila!  A plethora of PowerPoints at your fingertips.  Being a teacher, I'm giddy at the thought of the free, available content that could be out there for my classroom--good stuff that's already been created and shared so that I do not have to reinvent the wheel! 

"Nature Matters," above, was one of the 276,000 they had for "environment."  Wow!  I feel like I've hit the motherload!  Great stuff out there by creative people!  Definitely a resource worth bookmarking and revisiting!!

Nature Matters Presentation from

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fighting Obesity: Jamie Oliver's Partner in Crime

Jamie Oliver isn't fighting the good fight alone.  Chef Ann Cooper is American's version of Jamie Oliver.  Author of books and seen as "the Renagade Lunch Lady," Chef Ann might mince onions, but she'll never mince words! Especially not when it comes to school lunches and her view that it's a social justice issue.

As another guest speaker of TED Talks (lectures by inspirational leaders out there on "Technology, Entertainment, and Design"), Chef Ann believes in the idea of a salad bar in every school.  Author of Lunch Lessons and keeper of both and, Chef Ann has created some wonderful resources to spread her vision.  In fact, check out the resouce page of The Lunch Box at  You'll find a wealth of curriculum and inspriation at that site! 

Another great tool is American Chef Ann Cooper's "The Lunchbox: Healthy Tools to Help All Schools."  Regardless of weather it's for curriculum or your family's health, the resources are immense.  If you couldn't watch the video above, click on the link below.