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Here's What's Trending for May

10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION - Showcasing Positive Actions

Over the past 10 years, more than 100 Eco-Schools across the U.S. have earned the prestigious Green Flag Award - meeting specific criteria as they implemented at least three Eco-Schools pathways. As part of the process, schools are required to renew their Green Flag status every two years. We are excited to announce that 2 schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, Lanier Middle School and Centreville Elementary School recently became the first schools in the nation to earn permanent Eco-School’s Green Flag recognition upon receipt of their 4th Green Flag. Our team was honored to participate in their special ceremonies which included school-wide celebration ceremonies and student-led tours of both school’s grounds. Congratulations! Follow #EcoSchoolsUSA10 on social media for all the latest as we continue our 10-year anniversary celebration!


TEACHERS, YOU ARE LOVED!

Teacher Appreciation

Every week should be teacher appreciation week, but during this particular week, the Eco-Schools USA team wanted to take a moment to give you all a special shout out. We thank you not only for using your expertise to develop the minds of those you teach, but more so for the lives you have changed as the result of your kindness, empathy, compassion, and passion. We are thankful for all you do to facilitate learning in natural spaces, inspiring and motivating students to be change makers and developing pathways for our next generation of civically engaged environmental stewards.


SCHOOLYARD HABITATS®

Garden for Wildlife Month

It’s May, and here at the National Wildlife Federation that means it’s Garden for Wildlife month! As part of the celebration, we wanted to share some of the many colorful photos submitted as part of the 1st annual Garden for Wildlife Photo Contest.  Browse through the gallery to see the entire collection, or use the filters to find beautiful shots of monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Learn more about creating and certifying a Schoolyard Habitat, and ways that you can attract birds, pollinators and other wildlife to your garden. 

May is also the month where we celebrate Endangered Species Day, along with the International Day for Biological Diversity. Find Endangered Species Day resources here, and learn how students can take action at school. Increase biodiversity in your Schoolyard Habitat while engaging students in outdoor learning opportunities with these ideas.


FROM THE WILDLIFE GUIDE

Deer

Depending on where you live in the country, many of us will often find deer grazing around our homes, schools, and parks. The May issue of Ranger Rick® magazine includes a heartwarming story, Saving Baby Deer, detailing how some young fawns in California who became separated from their mother are rescued and cared for until they are able to be released back in the wild. The story shows the important role rescue organizations play in working with injured wildlife. Learn more about deer and other mammals in the National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Guide.

As you begin to think about planning for the 2019-2020 school year, explore the classroom resources that are available to complement Ranger Rick® magazine. Special pricing is available for classrooms.

ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS AREAS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION

WOW: Watersheds, Oceans & Wetlands
SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation | SDG 14 Life Below Water | SDG 15 Life on Land

With World Oceans Day fast approaching on June 8th, it’s a good time to focus on water through the WOW: Watersheds, Oceans & Wetlands Pathways and related Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 14 (SDG14) Life Below Water and Goal 15 (SDG15), Life on Land. These pathways help students to better understand how actions taken at the local community level can adversely impact their watersheds, which in turn ultimately filter through wetlands and to the ocean. Related Sustainable Development Goal 14 addresses the global issues and the management of the world’s oceans, targeting issues such as the reduction of marine pollution, while SDG 6 focuses on issues like improving water quality and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and other toxic materials into our waterways. Some Eco-Schools teachers have engaged students in learning about their local fish species, like salmon in Oregon, through the context of the Watersheds Pathway. Student activities include actions to protect storm drains from pollution and water quality testing. Some of the targets of the SDGs include conservation of coastal marine areas, along with the protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems.  

Follow @EcoSchoolsUSA on Facebook and Twitter to get more tips and information related to this pathway and the Global Goals. Remind students to share our tips and information during morning announcements, news programming and/or monthly communications. #GlobalGoal6 #GlobalGoal14 #GlobalGoal15 #WatershedsOceansWetlandsPathways 

ON THE BLOG

Earth Day Lessons: 6 Ways Your School Can Become a Community Hub for People and Wildlife

Although we celebrated Earth Month in April, our Eco-Schools are taking action for the earth all year round! The latest story on the blog highlights Brooke Elementary in Austin, Texas, who recently became just the 6th school in Texas to earn a Green Flag for their sustainability efforts!  Among other things, they were one of the first schools in Austin to use produce grown in the school garden in their cafeteria as part of the Austin ISD Garden to Café program. The produce includes 10 different types of vegetables now found in the school salad bar! In addition, working closely with the Travis County Beekeepers Association, students learned how to care for bees and harvest the honey, which is then sold at a school farmers market. Read the full story on the blog and get inspired!



REMINDERS

End of Year School Garden Activities

  1. It’s a good time to start thinking about summer garden maintenance; recruit family volunteers using an online volunteering tool, such as signupgenius.com to ensure your school garden is maintained during the summer months.
  2. Discuss summer watering options with school facilities personnel
       

Website Redesign

  • It’s getting closer to the early summer launch of the newly-designed Eco-Schools USA website; we look forward to sharing it with you as you begin your planning for the 2019-2020 school year. 

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