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Here's What's Trending in October

An Inconvenient Sequel

Celebrate National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School Week logo

Designated in 2010 to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food, everyone can celebrate National Farm to School Month! The National Farm to School Network has developed resources and activities to promote Farm to School Month in schools and early care and education settings. Be sure to check out our Sustainable Food pathway to support Farm to School month all year long.


Earth Science Week 2017 (October 8-14)

Earth Science Week logo

This year's Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme "Earth and Human Activity." This year’s event, the 20th annual Earth Science Week celebration, promotes awareness of what geoscience tells us about human interaction with the planet’s natural systems and processes.

Earth Science Week 2017 learning resources and activities are engaging young people and others in exploring the relationship between human activity and the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life). This year’s theme promotes public understanding and stewardship of the planet, especially in terms of the ways people affect and are affected by these Earth systems.

Earth Science Week is a great time to kick-off GLOBE investigations with your students. Students can define their study site and begin their 2017-2018 field work by gathering and uploading data on any number of GLOBE’s Earth Science protocols, such as, clouds, precipitation, pH, macroinvertebrates, or green-up/green-down. Looking to integrate your Eco-Schools work with GLOBE field investigations? Take our GLOBE Training for Eco-Schools course that starts 10/9/17 and concludes 12/4/17. Learn more about the course and our GLOBE partnership.


Schoolyard Habitat News – Plant a Food Garden (Discovery Elementary)

Discovery Elementary

With this month’s celebration of National Farm to School Month, it’s the perfect time to explore the option of growing food in your school garden. Many of our schools across the country have been successful in growing vegetables and fruit for use either in the cafeteria or for donation to those in need. At Discovery Elementary School, one of our Green Flag Schools in Virginia, students have grown vegetables, much of which was donated to the local community. Programs like the Edible Schoolyard Network offer resources and curriculum for K-12, along with ways for teachers to connect with others around the country.


Wildlife Guide: Chipmunks

Chipmunk photo via USFWS

If you step outside at school or in your own backyard, one of the creatures you may have a good chance of seeing is the small chipmunk. Their size is often measured in ounces, and you will often find them stuffing food inside their cheek pouches.

Learn more about life of chipmunks in the October issue of Ranger Rick Magazine. And don’t forget to download the free Educator’s Guide that provides extension activities for each edition, including a graphic organizer to Plan a Chipmunk Poem. Finally, check out the monthly Nature Notebook page, which can be printed and used for outdoor investigation.


International Walk to School Day

Walk to School Day logo

Did you know that there are over 2,300 schools registered for International Walk to School Day on October 4th? It’s a day focusing on the benefits of walking to school, such as teaching students the importance of regular physical activity and connecting them with their community. This event has gone global since its inception in 1997, and now includes participation from communities in over 40 countries. The Walk to School website is filled with event ideas, planning tips and downloadable resources. In fact, they even have a timeline for planning an event in just one week. Register your school through the end of October to be counted for 2017.


Pathway Spotlight: Schoolyard Habitat

Schoolyard Habitats Icon

You’ve created a beautiful Schoolyard Habitat – now what? Many of our Eco-Schools have created monarch habitats, engaging students while teaching about the importance of pollinators. The Eco-Schools USA website has several resources that can help. Our Monarch Recovery Resources are varied, and include curriculum like The Monarch Mission, with grade-based lesson plans, along with links to native plant resources and more. Other schools have become a National Wildlife Federation Certified Schoolyard Habitat®. Requirements include providing food, water, cover and a place to raise young along with using your site as an outdoor teaching space. The certification is free, and can be done on line. Other educator resources include our Schoolyard Habitats® How-To Guide, and in particular Part 3 - Teaching with Schoolyard Habitats Sites.


Take the Zero Waste Challenge

Are you looking for inspiration to help reduce waste at your school? A California middle school teacher, Rebecca Newburn, was inspired to help others get involved, and is now leading a month long challenge with her school district, proclaiming October Zero Waste Month. Want to get your school involved? Find resources and tips at ZeroWasteChallenge.org, along with a Zero Waste Proclamation template and a 31 Day Challenge. Be sure to send us photos and stories of your success, because we love to share all the great work you do!

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