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Here's What's Trending in February


National Wildlife Week

Save the date for National Wildlife Week, coming March 12-16. Travel the road to the Final Fur, as all our favorite wildlife species compete for the top honor. Along the way, learn about wildlife and actions to take to conserve habitat and protect wildlife for future generations. National Wildlife Week is a good time to discuss the importance of biodiversity and local wildlife, focusing on actions that can be implemented at school. Look for updates on social media @NWF and @EcoSchoolsUSA, and check the website periodically for new educational resources.


Educational Camp Opportunity for Youth

girl with binoculars, Family Nature Summit, Helen SteussyDo you know someone age 8-18 with an interest in the natural world and the environment? Applications are now being accepted for the Craig Tufts Educational Scholarship, which will award one winner, along with a parent or guardian, the opportunity to attend a week-long outdoor educational camp. The 2018 Family Nature Summit is being held in the White Mountains of Maine June 30 through July 6. The scholarship carries on the legacy of Craig Tufts, who was Chief Naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation for 33 years. Learn more and apply by March 23, 2018.


Using the LEAF Pathway for Outside Learning

There may be snow on the ground in many parts of the country, but it’s never too early to start mapping out spring planting and/or other ways to use your Schoolyard Habitat for outdoor learning. Take a minute to get to know the new Learning About Forests (LEAF) Pathway, which focuses on the key role trees play in sustaining life. While the LEAF program focuses on tree-based ecosystems, students will be able to apply their newly acquired skills to any environment on Earth. Implementation of the LEAF pathway provides numerous opportunities to utilize a Schoolyard Habitat for outdoor exploration. This includes hands-on activities such as participation in forestry citizen science projects or a nature walk to identify invasive species on school grounds. If spring tree planting is on the schedule, be sure to work with your local garden center or naturalist to determine which native trees work best for your site.


Polar Bears

Polar bear cub, Michael Henry

The cold winter months are the perfect time to focus on animals like the polar bear that live in harsh conditions. Mostly found north of the Arctic Circle, a large male polar bear can weigh in at more than 1,700 pounds, while the females are about half of that size. Polar bears feast mainly on ringed seals, which they hunt as the seal comes to the surface of the sea ice to breathe.

Visit the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Guide to learn all about polar bears and other wildlife. For additional educational resources, visit Polar Bears International, where you can learn more about topics such as behavior, life cycle, and diet as well as track the travels of actual polar bears in the wild. 

Be sure to check out the February issue of Ranger Rick® magazine to learn more about other animals that enjoy living in some of the coldest places on earth. Download the free Educator’s Guide where you will find extension activities, including February’s Cool Stuff lesson.


Students Taking Action Through Journalism

Have you heard the news? The Young Reporters for the Environment competition is now open to students 11-19. Students tackle important local environmental issues and come up with real world solutions. Entries can be submitted in the writing, photography or videography category. Teachers can use the opportunity to introduce one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Developments Goals, such as Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities or Goal 13, Climate Action. Submissions are due by March 15, 2018.



Most students probably don’t think twice about the amount of water that is used in a school building throughout the day. But it’s a focus area that can yield big dollar savings for both the school and district. From reporting and repairing leaky faucets, to water-efficient landscaping on school grounds, there are plenty of ways to make changes that can impact the bottom line. Conducting the Water Pathway audit will arm students with knowledge regarding their local water source, water habits, and school water usage. Teachers can start with this easy activity from Project WET to promote awareness of water usage as students calculate their water footprint. Also check out our Top 10 Tips to Conserve Water, and start implementing water saving measures today.


New Resources in the Eco-Leaders Career Center

EcoCareer Conference

Have you seen the post on the National Wildlife Federation blog about the new resources in the EcoLeaders Career Center? Launched in 2015, the Career Center helps students and young professionals research options for a sustainable career. The newly enhanced Career Sector Outlooks contain relevant information for 13 sectors in the green workforce, including Sustainable Energy, Green Building, and Outdoor Recreation. Registration for the EcoLeaders Community is required to gain access, and students under 18 will need parental permission to sign up. Check out the full blog to learn more. High school students are also welcome to sign up for the online EcoCareers Conference 2018: Focus on the Future of Sustainability, February 21–22. Conference registration is free for registered EcoLeaders.


Getting the Local Community Involved

Tip of the Month icon

Involving the wider community in diverse sustainability initiatives means the Eco-Action Team will be engaging even more people in the learning and practices of sustainability. Here are five ways to get started:

  1. Invite Community Members to Join the Eco-Action Team
  2. Plan a Community Action Day
  3. Invite Parents and Community Members to a Poetry Reading Event in your School Garden
  4. Utilize School Bulletin Boards to Display Major Accomplishments
  5. Hold a School-Wide Assembly to Engage the Entire School Community in Sustainability Efforts

Learn more about the Eco-Schools USA Seven Step Framework.


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