Saturday, September 30, 2023

Verizon Innovative Learning HQ

We know about Verizon TV and Internet and Verizon Wireless for phones....but there's more.

Teachers need to be sure to check out Verizon Innovative Learning HQ.

Verizon Innovative Learning HQ is a free, online portal for teachers. There, teachers will find free, standards-aligned lessons and classroom tools centered around innovation. Lesson topics include:
  • African American History
  • Art History
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Arts
  • Augmented Reality
  • Biology
  • Design Thinking
  • Engineering
  • English
  • eSports
  • Game Design
  • Gaming
  • Geography 
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology
  • US History
  • Virtual Reality
Additionally, there are professional development resources that help teachers acquire microcredentials on the following topics:
  • Digital Collaboration
  • Blended Learning
  • Coaching
  • Learner Variability
  • Leadership
  • Augmented Reality
  • Student Engagement
Login is free and the resources are plenty. You can filter by grade level or topics. You can learn more at these two resources:

Video from and logo from

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mapping Out Your Quest for Fall Foliage

No matter what your favorite season is, fall is undeniably one of the most colorful seasons. Daily, the colors of the leaves shift and change and bring on the seasonal beauty.

Given it's Fall Foliage Week (annually, beginning the week starting the last Sunday of September), it's a good time to be investigating when it's time to make a trip to go do some color hunting.

Both of these websites have great visuals to highlight how the foliage is predicted to change. They can help you on your quest to center yourself in the middle of the explosion of nature's colors!

And as an added bonus, I've gotta say, I love The Pioneer Woman's Video "Instagram Captions for Cozy Autumn Vibes." at the start of her Fall Foliage post (which points to the Smokey Mountains map page.) Might get you and your camera geared up to go leaf peeping.

Images from and

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Fall Equinox

This weekend marks the first day of Fall. The Autumnal Equinox.

Derived from the Latin, "equinox" comes from "aequi" and "nox"... meaning "equal" + "night." Based on the tilt of the Earth's axis in relation to its orbiting around the sun, day and night time are equal. That annual event that only happens twice a year--spring and fall. 

So days in the Northern Hemisphere where I am will be getting cooler, getting shorter, and the leaves will start their colorful change.

You can track the daylight hours here to check out the time of sunrise and sunset here at Time & Date

And you can learn more about the science behind the fall equinox here at

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Rethinking Architecture

Up to now, for the most part, building materials for construction projects come in 4 varieties: concrete, steel, brickwork, and wood. In his February 2023 TED Talk, architect Michael Green suggests a fifth, more sustainable material he calls FIVE. By taking the concept of natures structures plus biotechnology plus computerized structural modeling, there's a much more organic, cost-effective method of building.

To find out more, watch Michael's The Natural Building Blocks of Sustainable Architecture.

Then go check out Michael Green's website to learn more about FIVE and his innovative ideas on sustainable architecture.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Zero Waste Week

I'm a week late. 

In part, it's because I didn't know that Zero Waste Week was "a thing." 

It is... and it was last week. 

Having begun in 2008 in the United Kingdom, Zero Waste Week was just a UK Zero Waste initiative but is now a global one. This grassroots movement was started by Rachelle Strauss and it is the first full week (including a Monday) of September. This year, it was last week: Sept 4-8, 2023.

From their website:

“ 'Zero Waste' does not have to apply only to individuals who literally produce no waste. Practicing zero waste can simply mean adopting a lifestyle in support of a circular economy that makes the most sustainable use out of our resources."
Shared on the Zero Waste Week website is this short from Sir David Attenborough:

So yes, we may have missed Zero Waste Week by a half dozen days, but perhaps this is in the category of "it's never too late to start." 

What can you do this week to actively reduce your plastic waste to help make this planet a better one?Celebrate every plastic utensil, straw, or take out cup you save along the way

To learn more, check out the following resources:
And mark your calendar for Zero Waste Week for the next 3 years:
  • September 2-6, 2024
  • September 1-5, 2025
  • September 7-11, 2026

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Grist's 50 Fixers for 2023

Grist has annually been creating a list of the 50 top movers and shakers in the environmental realm and climate leader sphere. It's always a wonderful breath of fresh air to see who they list in their Grist 50!

This year is no different with their 50 leaders falling into these categories:

  • Science & Energy (yellow background pics)
  • Food & Farming (green background pics)
  • Business & Tech (blue background pics)
  • Arts & Media (pink background pics)
  • Policy & Advocacy (purple background pics)
Let's all applaud and thank them for their change maker attitudes and innovative spirit! Definitely go to Grist & read more about each and every one of them!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Wastewater Gets Recycled

I've mentioned before how beneficial I find Richard Byrne as an educator's resources. Not only does he amaze me by the vast amount of free edtech information he puts out for all of us tech-centered teachers with his Free Tech For Teachers website but also his Practical EdTech website...all while keeping his own teaching day job, presenting, and raising his own family. He's a rockstar in so many ways!

In Richard's August 17th, 2023 entitled "How Wastewater Gets Recycled," he discussed just that: bringing together both the environmental and edtech sides here at GTG. He describes the new TED-Ed lesson How the Water You Flush Becomes the Water You Drink. In it, viewers learn the difference between grey, yellow, and black water. The video also differentiates between direct potable reuse wastewater and indirect potable reuse water. He also shared that lessons and resources are available at  the TED-Ed website.

For more information about wastewater, what it is, and how it gets recycled, check out these resources:

Video from, Image from

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Happy Labor Day Weekend

For many of us we are just newly back to school, or maybe starting right after Labor Day. Given that, for many it's our first 3 Day weekend in a while. 3 whole days, 72 hours--what, oh what, to do! 

Here are some ideas, inspired by the WeWork article Eight ways to make the most of your three-day weekend.

Art created at using ideas from

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Greenhushing, Greenlighting, and More Eco-Vocab

I ran across a new-to-me term the other day, scrolling through some of my newsfeeds: greenhushing.

I know what "greenwashing" is. It's when companies tell us their products (or their company itself) is more environmentally friendly than they actually are. It's a misleading marketing ploy, leading us as consumers to feel proud we are shopping greener or doing a great job of "recycling."  Additionally, it can lull us to think we are doing the right thing for the environment, when really, we continue to be part of the problem.

But what is greenhushing? Upon looking, it led me down the rabbit hole of wondering about more new terms. What about greenshifting, greendcrowding, greenlighting, greenlabeling, and greenrinsing?

As you can imagine, they all fall under the larger propaganda umbrella of greenwashing.

According to Euronews' August 14, 2023 article "What is Greenhushing? How to Spot the Sophisticated Greenwashing Tactics Being Used in 2023," by Angela Symons, the non-profit financial think tank Planet Tracker has broken greenwashing into 6 different types, all leading to my new vocabulary. The Euronews article has a lot of details and specific examples worth reading. Here is a quick highlight of the 6 types of greenwashing. Think of it as the hierarchy of "environmental fake news" and all different types of misrepresentation & misinformation about a company's "green-ness" and sustainability practices.
  • Greencrowding--This is overcrowding the industry and hoping that your sustainability practices will be lost in the sea of numbers, preferably at a nice and slow pace.
  • Greenlighting--Much like gaslighting, the product or company highlights one green feature (which may be small) and drawing attention away from their more non-sustainable, anti-eco practices.
  • Greenshifting--This is when companies shift the blame from themselves and pushing it onto the fault of the consumer. Like the consumer should be recycling more, versus the company should be having a turn-in or buy-back center to make it easier for the consumer to do just that.
  • Greenlabeling--This practice is when marketers mislead consumers with labels (either via text, imagery or both), indicating that something is green, sustainable, or organic, when maybe this isn't fully accurate.
  • Greenrinsing--When companies reduce, delay, or change their environmental standards or targets, making it look like their overall recycling or sustainability initiatives are closer than they really are. Bringing the finish line closer does not mean you have achieved full environmental wins. 
  • Greenhushing--This is when companies under-report their sustainability information to avoid investor/public scrutiny.
In the category of "the more you know, the more you know," let's all go forward being critical consumers, keeping our eyes open to being more eco-informed about the products we buy, so that our green consumerism can help shape a greener economy--for both our pockets and our planet!

Image created on

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Nutty About National Parks

Yes, it is back to school season, but just because the books are out and the classes are filled, that doesn't mean we are at the end of outdoor adventures.

Perfect time to plan ahead for local and state parks near you, and maybe even make some longer adventures to nearby National Parks.
Timing is definitely ideal if you have a 4th grader living in your hours, or if you want to share it with a few of your favorite fourth grade classes!

The Every Kid Outdoors Program started in 2015. It grants outdoor passes for free entry to all US National parks, starting September 1 and remains valid through August 31st the following year. The purpose it to stir up excitement and enthusiasm for our public lands. The only way to be a true steward of the Earth is to learn to love it. Through some research, it was found that 4th grade is the optimal time for that stewardship to grow and blossom. Additionally, the program counters the digital draw of devices and the fact that kids younger and younger are getting sucked into the seductiveness of them. Getting them to unplug and get outside exploring has wins on every front.

Some resources affiliated with Every Kids Outdoors:
  • Get your pass here. You can also find educator and parent resources there too. Passes cover all entry and day-use fees/charges and will cover up to 4 adults in the car. (Kids under 15 have free entry to public lands.)
  • Additional resources can be found at Teacher Goal's article.
Other websites regarding the bounty and benefits of National Parks:

Quote image from and Every Kid Outdoors logo from, Nautty about National Parks squirrel image created at Adobe Firefly using thus prompt: cute cartoon squirrel with nut in front of sign that says "national park" advertising the importance of going to national parks with kids.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Contemplating the Complicated Emotions That Come With Back to School Season

Back to School season always hits me with such a myriad of emotions. 

I love teaching and I love my job (especially as it has evolved over the years). I adore my fellow colleagues and always learn so much from them and appreciate how teachers have a wonderfully wicked sense of humor. I thrive on those "ah-ha" moments that my students have when they learn something new or that connection finally clicks for them. I do a silent "yes" (arm & fist "yes" gesture included) when I see student struggle coalesce into confidence and complete understandings. In my role as Tech Specialist, I get the opportunity to experience that with my teachers learners too when they also acquire new tech skills I have taught them. I have a true love of learning, soaking up new trends and seeking to continually becoming wiser within my field.  

BUT...I love my summers!!! They are so hard to say goodbye to. Teachers are blessed with having this 6-12 week block off in the summer to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate between school years. Time to "BE"--off schedule, outside, at the pool, napping, reading, less stressed! In my 30+ years of teaching, I've seen the people who see "teacher summer" as decadent and perhaps like to laugh at the concept of "easy living." But then there are the people I know, love, and live with who see how vital that summer block is for decompressing, reflecting, and reinvigorating to prepare for all the demands that teachers face during the 9-10 month school year. Even moreso, here in the post-Covid world of 2020 and 2021, Many of us still are in recovery mode, warding of the PTSD of pandemic teaching, given the demands of that era of education seems to be the gifts that keep giving.

So now, here we are, at the front end of another school year. 

I have been experimenting a lot lately with ChatGPT. while playing around with it, I fed it the prompt "back to school season" and it spit out 5 paragraphs about what all that 4 word phrase entails. I then typed in the following prompt: 

"Using the information listed above, write a lighthearted, positive welcome back poem to teachers, elevating them for the school year ahead, and paying tribute to all of the things they do for their students and students' families all year long. Honor them as unsung heroes and wish them good tiding for a super year ahead. "

ChatGPT responded with a 7 stanza poem (in less than 60 seconds, of course), showcasing its power and prowess. As one should do when using generative artificial intelligence, I read through it, generated a few versions through the AI, merged a few, then made it my own by sprinkling in a bit of me. Full disclosure, it was a combined work, with ChatGPT getting a bulk of credit for it. (Demonstrating good practice, I've credited it below.). Here's the outcome:

Ode to Back-to-School Season & Our Teachers

Goodbye dear summer and our teacher delight,
The time has come for school to resume its flight.
Adventures lie ahead within classrooms we'll share,
With backpacks and supplies, all readily prepare.

Unsung champions, mentors so true,
Through challenges faced, teachers help us breakthrough.
From numbers and words, to wisdom's embrace, 
Teachers light every paths with knowledge and grace.

Teaching so much more than mere words on a page, 
Cultivating wisdom and hearts that engage,
Teachers do it with patience and care each day,
Providing students a chance to learn, laugh, and play.

So here's to you, Teachers, with hearts of gold, 
As the new school year's story starts to unfold. 
May your classrooms resound with joy and with cheer,
As we wish you super success for a very good year.

Just as each new year is unique and different, teachers need to embrace the changes and challenges that lie ahead. With the growing questions and curiosities and concerns and celebrations of AI, this quote spoke to me. I found in the public AI Classroom Facebook Group. The quote is by author Amanda Fox, coauthor of The AI Classroom: The Ultimate Guide to Artificial Intelligence in Education (and co-written by Dan Fitzpatrick and Brad Weinstein). I like the focus on collaboration and the importance of mixing human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) together to make something better than before. [Vicki Davis, known as "Cool Cat Teacher" and the creator of "The 10 Minute Teacher" podcast has written a lot about the combination of HI + AI.]

Teachers, may your upcoming school year greet you with good energy and adventure for what is ahead. May we all serve as inspiration to each other, lift each other up on the hard days, and make amazing memories during the year ahead.

Poem above modified and shortened from 3 generated poems by Chat GPT on August 19th, 2023 using the prompt listed above, quote image from; back to school image created at and

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Maui's Fires and the Climate Tie-In

Once again, we are seeing devastating news of natural disasters with the wildfires of Maui, where approximately 1/5 of the island is in severe drought. In part, this is due to decreased amounts of rainfall in Hawaii over the last 100 years--90% less, in fact, according to scientists' calculations.

The Maui fires are coming on the heels of the March-Summer 2023 Canadian wildfires which were impacting the air quality with their particulate matter in much of the Eastern US and at times the upper Midwest as well

Just as the Australian wildfires of 2019-2020 caught global headlines, here we are again. Before that in 2018, the Carr & Mendocino fires of California were ripping through headlines. Wildfires and drought conditions are becoming more and more prevalent.

This isn't just a freak of nature--there is a cause. That cause is climate change and the effects of extreme weather. Especially in a year that is proving to be the hottest on record. After 8 of the last 10 years of maintaining this same record-"winning"-title, we keep heating up--landing with the same "Hottest Year Yet" headline. The cause itself isn't climate change, but rather with raised temperatures and an overabundance of heat, everything dries out, intensifying the fire, and ultimately the devastation.

This information from climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe helps shed some light on just how climate change and massive wildfires are related:

The devastation to communities, landmarks, wildlife, and individuals is immense, horrific, and heartbreaking. To learn more about how to help the people of Maui, learn more at this PBS News Hour article about ways to donate.

One can only hope that out of this tragedy, there can come the tiniest sliver of a silver lining. As more global natural events like wildfires, droughts, or hurricanes happen, mainstream media is FINALLY starting to focus more news time on climate news and our human impact. As more and more people get educated about what is happening in the world, human change hopefully will follow. Through more open dialogue and detailed, science-based information, perhaps legislation and policy will also take place--leading to a global community committed to takinge care of our planet and ultimately each other.

Video from, image from

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Barbie Movie & Girls In STEM

If you follow any Hollywood news or social media, you may have heard of a little movie called Barbie, which (at this writing) has made over $1.03 billion in the three weeks since it's July 21st released. For anyone who is unsure--that's a solid win and record breaking indeed.

I have not seen the Barbie movie yet (though we finally made it to Oppenheimer--fantastic!) As for the Barbie movie, I definitely have plans to see it at least once with a friend (who loved it), and hopefully too with my family. My 20-something daughter, who's been pretty anti-pink her entire life, even liked it, so that's strong reviews indeed.

As a product of the '8os, I played Barbies a lot. I had a wooden built Barbie house that friends of the family made (which was way cooler than the more plastic, more expensive variety), and I also had the camper and the corvette. [Also, as a product of the '80s, I also have yet to see Indiana Jones...which is a travesty given the first part of the sentence, but that is indeed another story.]

Given being a Barbie fan growing up, and a female and an elementary tech teacher, I was really drawn to Shannon Buckle's recent blog post on her DT with Mrs. B entitled "Girls Can Code - Barbie Says So!" She too is a an edtech teacher, though she is in New Zealand. She highlighted a lot of her adoration with the movie, and also the importance of needing more women in both coding and technology. I like her lens of looking at the movie with this vantage point, and am eager to do so myself when watching.

It also got me wondering about the tech statistics. I landed at Exploding Topics & Jessica Hubbert's April 25, 2023 post entitled "70+ Women In Tech Statistics (2023)." A very good read, but these highlights stood out:

With 47.7% women in the global work force (which is higher in the US at 57.4%--though even that number is lower than the US high of 60% in 1999), only 26.7% of women are in tech-related fields/jobs. Yes, women are under-represented. And no surprise, women in software engineering still report unequal pay. (Although, I was surprised by how close it was at 93 cents for every dollar men make.) 

So how do you get -- and then keep --girls and women in STEM fields? Here are two good reads with a lot of great answers:

In the meantime, looks like I've got two jobs:

1. Go see the Barbie movie.

2. Serve as a positive role model for the gals in my tech classes, encourage their interest, and provide them with a lot of opportunities to innovate and love it!

Images from and

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Benefits of Blue & Green Spaces

Summer. This time of the year for teachers, it feels like it is dwindling!

It takes purposeful reminders to realize that yes, the back to school season may be getting busier, but it is still summer.

And maybe it's because we are teachers--who tend to jump both feet first into "busy" and who's job it is to educate others--that we really do need to pay attention to the fact that it IS still summer.

That we need to get outdoors.

That we need to get our kids outdoors.

That we need to refresh, restore, recharge, and rejuvenate--especially in the busy season. Especially in a season that can bring anxiety to kids, adults, and teachers alike as our schedules switch and new expectations and levels of busy-ness sets in. 

We all need our blue (water-related) and green (outdoor) spaces. Kids of all ages! We need to get out, near, around, and in water and nature! And here's some proof:
  • Edutopia's Dec. 6, 2022 article by Alissa Alteri Shea: Nature Learning in All Seasons-- here you'll learn some ways to integrate nature into your lessons
Get outside here, even in this busy season. Your mental health will thank you.

Art created at

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Threads for Educators

Threaducators unite!

Have you jumped on the Threads bandwagon yet? 

Threads, Meta's Intstagram-related social media alternative to Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter), hit the world just over a month ago on July 5th, 2023. Since it's roll out, Threads hit record-breaking highs for initial users only 2 days after coming out. Its user numbers surpass 100 million here, a month later. Given those numbers, Threads has a lot of potential as a PLN (Personal Learning Network), which is how many professions have used social media. I've learned a lot by following educators and environmentalists. 

So it's no surprise that "Threaducators" is an actual thing! Merge Threads + educators, and that's what you have. Now all you have to do is find your people.

Lucky for you, Eric Curts from Control Alt Achieve has made that easy for you. Right after Threads release, he created a Google form to collect educator information then published the growing list of educators. At this writing, nearly 1,100 teachers have added themselves to the list (including yours truly). Will you want to follow everyone. Probably not. But you can search the fields to find like-minded educators to find good fits for you and your interests. Let your personal learning begin! Just in time for the new school year to begin!

Image from

Saturday, August 5, 2023

AI Resources For Educators

As a follow up to my last post....

AI is here to stay. Teachers can benefit in a lot of ways...even if it feels a little like opening Pandora's Box sometimes. Change and "new" is scary. But, change--just like AI--also can open new doors, new ideas, new spaces, more time, more energy, and more creativity. 

Along those lines, click here or the picture below to find my Wakelet of a dozen websites I've curated to bring together a slew of AI resources for educators.

Image created at; Wakelet link:

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Ever Growing AI

The explosion of both AI (artificial intelligence) tools and AI counterpoints comes daily like a firestorm. 

This summer I did a one day professional development day, led by a colleague, I've read a book for educators, on it, I've read some articles (and stockpiled some resources), I've written about it a few times, and I've experimented with ChatGPT and Canva's Magic Write

Even after using ChatGPT a bit, every time I go in an play around with prompts, I'm shocked at how freaking fast it is able to compile the response. Even with a prompt as meaty as this:
Create a 40 week technology curriculum for fifth grade using the ISTE standard. Classes run once a week. Lessons should be minutes 45 minutes long. Each lesson will begin with a 10 minute warm up using typing exercises in Please do not create any stand-alone keyboarding lessons in the 40 lessons. Each curricular item can take place over multiple sessions (no more than 4) and can include coding using, 3D printing activities including Tinkercad, high/low/no tech maker activities and design thinking, the Google Suite of tools, LittleBits, Canva, and digital citizenship. Lessons should be hands-on and engaging for fifth graders. Please include any age-appropriate 1-5 minute videos that could be included in the mini lesson presented to the students before individual or group work time. With videos, include the link or the reference where the video titles can be found. 
What it spit out (in record time) was highly impressive. Will I use it exactly like that? No. Not at all. But it gave me a bountiful brainstorm and a good foundation of ideas from which to start creating my 5th grade Tech/Maker Lab lesson flow. Along with some other pointed questions around Tinkercad or LittleBit activity ideas, it has given me a wealth of ideas to pull from. Ideas that are more pointedly directed than a mere Google search or finds over on Pinterest boards. It saved me a huge amount of time here this summer as I did what we teachers do in the summer!

But, I will say, I'm definitely glad I teach at the elementary level. Ramifications for me as a teacher of younger students are certainly different than it is for middle and upper school kids. 

From my reading and self-education, here are some of the biggest take-aways:
  • Explicitly teach students both the merits/downfalls of using AI and how to use it while looking at the response with a critical eye.
  • Highlight to students that AI programs are designed to collect data
  • Provide students opportunities to practice double check sources, identify misinformation, and see bias that may be built into 
  • Discuss ethics & detail what plagiarism looks like in your classroom.
  • Set clear expectations on how to research and cite your sources.
  • Redesign assignments to be more challenging, handwritten, or performance based assessments.
  • Know that tools to identify cheating have mixed success, can be biased against certain cultures, and can be accessed by students as well.
  • Create activities & formative assessments along the way so that you are able to know the voice of your student.
  • Create questions tied to class discussions (no AI can replicate your classroom conversations, nor were "they there.").
  • Check revision history on shared word document assignments (like Google Docs) that have been shared with you--if multiple paragraphs appear all at once, that could be a "cut and paste" copying situation.
Artificial intelligence & websites such as ChatGPT are tools our students may potentially need to know how to use in future jobs. At the end of the day, AI is a tool--just like calculators, encyclopedias, computers, and the internet are tools. You need to know when to use each one and how to use each one appropriately. It is a powerful productivity tool that can jumpstart thinking and potentially free up intellectual space for greater creativity through the extension. For that reason, it is important for educators to teach students how to think critically, to research and cross-check internet "facts," to consider perspective, and to use empathy. These skills also need to be explicitly taught--and those are skills that you can't pop into a search and simply acquire that way.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Ocean Elders

In Native American cultures and tribal communities, the elders are known for their widsom. They are the revered older members of the tribe that brings knowledge, sage advice, patience, honor, and expertise.

It was from that mentality merged with The Seventh Generation Principle (based on the Iroquois Great Law of Peace--which also served as the model for the US Constitution) that the Ocean Elders was created. From their website: 

I view them sort of like the Marvel Marine Superheroes or the Eco Avengers, who are here to help save the oceanic day! At the very least, here to LEAD the way. The list of people involved--the Ocean Elders--reads like a "who's who" of the environmental world... which is where I think I get the superhero vibe. It's an impressive list of likeminded leaders.  You can find links to the bios of each of these elders here.
  • H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco: Explorer, Environmentalist
  • Richard Bailey: Founder, The Brando, Tetiaroa Society, & Blue Climate Initiative
  • Sir Richard Branson: Founder & Chairman, Virgin Group & Founder, Virgin Unite
  • Jackson Browne: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Environmentalist
  • James Cameron: Founder, CAMERON Companies & Founder, Avatar Alliance Foundation
  • Dr. Rita Colwell: Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland & Johns Hopkins University
  • Jean-Michel Cousteau: President & Chairman, Ocean Futures Society, Explorer, Film Producer
  • Dr. Wade Davis: BC Leadership Chair in Cultures & Ecosystems at Risk, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Sylvia A. Earle: President & Chairman, Mission Blue: The Sylvia Earle Alliance, Oceanographer
  • Dr. Jane Goodall: Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace
  • Graeme Kelleher: Former Chairman & CEO, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • Sven Lindblad: Conservationist, Explorer, Founder & Co-Chair, Lindblad Expeditions
  • Gerry Lopez: “Mr. Pipeline,” Surfer, Shaper, Actor, Yogi
  • H.M. Queen Noor of Jordan: International Public Servant, Founder, King Hussein Foundation
  • Catherine A. Novelli: Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, & the Environment
  • Dr. Frederik Paulsen: Explorer & Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • Prof. Bertrand Piccard: Explorer & Chair of the Solar Impulse Foundation
  • President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr.: Former President, Republic of Palau
  • David E. Shaw: Managing Partner, Black Point Group LP & Co-Chair, Aspen Institute High Seas Initiative
  • Nainoa Thompson: Master Navigator & President, Polynesian Voyaging Society
  • Ted Turner: Chairman, Turner Enterprises, Inc. Founding Funder of UN Foundation Founder of CNN & TBS
  • Captain Don Walsh: Oceanographer & President International Maritime Incorporated
  • Bob Weir: Founding Member, Grateful Dead, Environmental Advocate, UN Goodwill Ambassador
  • Ocean Elders Emeritus 
    • Sheila Watt-Cloutier: Environmental, Cultural & Human Rights Advocate
    • Neil Young: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Activist, Humanitarian
    • José María Figueres: Former President, Costa Rica & Co-Chair, Global Ocean Commission
  • In Memoriam
    • Dr. Walter Munk: Emeritus, Institute of Geophysics & Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    • Dr. E.O. Wilson: University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
The inspiration for Ocean Elders began in April 2010 on the Mission Blue voyage. This trip had more than 100 scientists, business and philanthropic leaders and long-time/big-name entertainers going to the Galapagos Islands to support Dr. Sylvia Earle's TED Wish to garner protecting the ocean. By combining both a base of experts in the field along with social and business/governmental leaders, their mission could move farther and faster. These Ocean Elders, much like tribal elders, serve as the voice of ocean and environmental conservation. 

Some of the their big projects include being involved with the following: Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition, Cuba's Marine Ecosystems, Half-Earth Project, Hope Spots, Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Monaco Explorations, Palau Pledge, Roots and Shoots, & 1,000 Solutions to Protect the Planet. You can learn more about each one on their Showcase page.

May we all be the wise ones.
May we listen to these leaders.
May we learn from their voices of advocacy, sustainability, and our future.
May we all learn to be stewards, protecting our oceans.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Cowabunga Creativity Over At Canva

I've been a longtime fan and user of Canva and have written about it a time or two. And I will adamantly say: things are always getting better over there. 

Earlier this summer I took a PD class at my school taught by a colleague all about creating dynamic visual presentations. No surprise: Canva was a featured tool. In addition to discussing Canva's modifiable templates for presentations, graphic organizers and more, there is a bounty for teachers. Their Canva For Education feature is downright amazing for educators.

During the work portion of our PD, I got the opportunity to play around with Canva's AI element "Magic Design." Using this built-in AI tool, presentations nearly write themselves, complete with content and graphics, giving you a few templates from which to choose. Beyond that, you can tweak the verbiage, the font, the images and more. I was able to create this presentation in about 15 minutes for my upper elementary graphic design elective, modifying the text with just a simple AI prompt that I typed in.

The Elements of Design: Funtography by Vicki Dabrowka

Canva has a wealth of design tutorials and tools on their site on all topics. Using Magic Design to Create a Presentation includes a detailed explanation and video on how to use Magic Design.

While Magic Design is pretty darn amazing, there's still so much more you can do using Canva and its latest supercharged elements. 

Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers is one of my go-to websites for the latest in edtech. These are 3 of my many favorite posts of his regarding Canva:

Two other really amazing resources I have found include the following:

Once you discover Canva, you won't be able to stay away!!

Image created at; Presentation created at link:

Saturday, July 22, 2023

World Blue Mind Day: July 23rd

I love days that are dedicated to the environment. I sporadically write about them (you can click my "environmental days" GTG tag). There's even a whole online digital calendar of days dedicated to it at TerGo's Eco Calendar.

One day that didn't make the TerGo eco-calendar is tomorrow/July 23rd (annually)'s World Blue Mind Day. 

World Blue Mind Day....not to be confused with World Water Day--Annually March 22nd--the United Nations observance created in 1993 that raises awareness about the global water and sanitation crisis.

Likewise, not to be confused by World Ocean Day--Annually June 8th--another United Nations designated day (since 2008) which works to enlighten and engage the public and policymakers about the importance of tending our global oceans for a healthier climate.

Obviously, both of these days are important on their own eco-standing!

World Blue Mind Day was created in 2014 by Wallace J. Nichols with the publication of his book "Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do." It is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time, and I am certainly a fan of the philosophy and science and wellbeing behind the book. Likewise, I gravitate toward water and have written about #BlueMind many times.

The point and purpose of World Blue Mind Day annually is to "soak" up the physical, mental, and spirtual benefits of being in and around water. Wallace J. Nichols says it best here in this short video: 

You can find World Blue Mind Day & Wallace J. Nichol's discussion board event here on Facebook.

For a list of "100 Ways to Practice Blue Mind for Life, Wherever You Are," check out this open post on Wallace J. Nichols' Patreon page. Then, indulge in 1 or 99 of them (or somewhere in between). 

What are you going to do this World Blue Mind Day?

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Plastic Free July

It's July. What's your plastic intake looking like?

If you are participating in the Plastic Free July movement/challenge, you numbers are looking low and impressive.

But even if you aren't, today may be a good day to try. 

12 years ago, in 2011, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz started this movement with some colleagues in her local Western Australian Government. Just like Earth Hour, which also began in Australia, this movement has grown through the years as a way to bring about awareness of not only what we use, but also the power of our purchasing dollars and our voice. Change always seems to hit the loudest when it starts hitting companies in their pocketbooks and wallets!! By using less plastic at the front end, we help eliminate it in our waste streams and landscapes. 

In 2017 Rebecca Prince-Ruiz created The Plastic Free Foundation and you can check out her Plastic Free July website.  This video shows the impact of Plastic Free July 2022.

Whether you read about it last year here on GTG, have been a long time pursuer of less plastic, or are just wanting to start today, it certainly is never to late!

Things you can do today:

It doesn't matter that it's the middle of July. What matters is that you start. What's your step towards a plastic free lifestyle?