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Here's What's Trending in April


Spring is here and April means just one thing at the National Wildlife Federation: It’s EARTH MONTH! Engage your districts, schools, and students by celebrating the diversity, complexity, and joy the natural world has to offer by planning fun, exciting, and meaningful learning experiences for your students.

Read more about 10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month All Year Long.


Close your eyes and picture 46,400 school buses filled with plastic straws! That’s the result of 500,000,000 straws used per day in the United States alone. So what can you do? Schools and students can help our environment and wildlife by taking the OneLessStraw pledge and becoming part of the solution. Eco-Schools USA is now a partner in the OneLessStraw pledge campaign, created by the nonprofit organization One More Generation (OMG). Click here to learn more about taking the OneLessStraw pledge, along with helpful resources in both English and Spanish.


Black Beekeepers Are Transforming Detroit's Vacant Lots Into Bee Farm
Bees are the most important pollinators and Detroit Hives has found a unique way to not only support the honeybee, but also the health of their community. Detroit Hives, a nonprofit organization founded by Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey in 2017, purchases vacant properties and remodels them into fully functioning bee farms.

Detroit Hives Motto: "Work hard, stay bumble."

Detroit Hives
Co-Founder Nicole Lindsey of Detroit Hives and her “Nurse Bee” mentee, Skylar Rose Gilliam
Credit: Detroit Hives

Read Timothy and Lindsey's sweet story on how the decline of honeybees and the desire to improve community health in their community came together.

Originally published by the Huffington Post


Our friends at the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are making this year special by coining 2018 the Year of the Bird. According to the National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Guide, more than 800 bird species occur in the United States, with dozens listed on the U.S. endangered species list. The Wildlife Guide is a good resource for students to learn more about the range, diet, and life history of birds, from small perching birds like the American robin and cedar waxwings to large hunting birds like the bald eagle and the great horned owl. Students can learn a fun fact about each of the birds listed and use the Bird Identifier Guide as a handy reference.

Be sure to read "What's Wild in a City?" in the April issue of  Ranger Rick® magazine to learn more about wildlife that dwell and thrive in an urban environment. Download the free monthly Educator’s Guide, which includes an activity sheet with questions where students can think like a bird.


NASA’s Images of Change is a gallery of before-and-after images of locations on planet Earth, showing change over time periods ranging from centuries to days. Some of these effects are related to climate change, some are not. Some document the effects of urbanization, or the ravage of natural hazards such as fires and floods. All show our planet in a state of flux.

The Thomas fire was the largest California fire in modern history and continues to have significant impacts on wildlife, wild places, and most importantly, the communities. Use NASA’s Images of Change to take an aerial view of the fire’s destructive path. Use this satellite imagery in discussions related to climate change, fire seasons, wildlife and community impact, and rebuilding and resiliency project plans.  In addition to using satellite imagery to discuss climate change, fire seasons, wildlife and community impact, and rebuilding and resiliency project ideas, students can become better forest stewards by mastering the LEAF pathway.


Now that Earth Month is here, it’s a good time to focus on biodiversity found from the schoolyard to the backyard and beyond. Teachers can ask driving questions such as, “How can we increase the numbers of native plant species on school grounds?” or “How can we design a habitat that will provide a place for pollinators to flourish and serve as a demonstration pollinator habitat for the community?”

Take advantage of the warmer weather at the end of the school year to conduct a citizen science project or spend time outside with a nature notebook. With so many possibilities, here are our Top 10 Tips to Promote Biodiversity


On a Monarch Mission
A bit of frigid weather didn’t stop a group of over 60 Springfield, Massachusetts, teachers, district staff, and park and recreation staff from braving the elements for a professional development workshop in February. The training kicked off the Monarch Mission program, where 25 schools in Springfield will be developing monarch recovery and pollinator gardens thanks to a sponsorship by the LEGO Community Fund U.S. Teachers learned how to assess the grounds and develop an action plan, along with exploring the Monarch Mission curriculum. Read the full story, On a Monarch Mission. In addition, read what National Wildlife Federation president Collin O’Mara had to say about the decrease in monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico and the efforts of the National Wildlife Federation to protect and expand habitat.


Preparing for Your Award Ceremony
Another school year is winding down and your school has prestigiously earned a Bronze, Silver, or Green Flag Award! Now what? It's time to celebrate!

Tip of the Month icon

  • Conduct a school-wide assembly to showcase student accomplishments
  • Display the results of your sustainability efforts with photos or a collage placed on a prominent bulletin board for students and visitors
  • Invite members of the community to a celebration event such as a school garden tour
  • Use the toolkit found on our website to share the news with local media outlets

Learn more about the Eco-Schools USA Awards.


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