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Earth Month

The Earth is an exceptional place. It’s our home, and as such, it deserves more than just one day of celebration!

That’s why each April the National Wildlife Federation and its programs celebrate the diversity, complexity, and joy the natural world has to offer. Help us celebrate this extra special time by planning fun, exciting, and meaningful learning experiences for your students. Here are 10 ways to take action for the planet.

Schoolyard Habitat Sign1. Certify and celebrate your Schoolyard Habitat®.

By providing the ingredients necessary to certify your Schoolyard Habitat®—food, water, cover, places to raise young, and sustainable practices—students are creating a place for wildlife to thrive. Certification doesn’t just benefit wildlife—it also provides access to special resources and information from the National Wildlife Federation. Celebrate your status as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by holding an event at your school.

2. Design and plant a Monarch Recovery Garden. 

The monarch butterfly population is facing severe decline. The National Wildlife Federation and its partner organizations are working to reverse this decline through campaigns and programs such as the Million Pollinator Challenge, Butterfly Heroes, and the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. The keys to reversing the trend? Education and planting of Monarch Recovery Gardens, which allow students to help monarchs in meaningful ways at a critical time for the species. This long-term learning experience allows students to create habitat(s) for monarchs and engage and build community around this national environmental issue.

3. Coordinate a litter cleanup. 

Plan a cleanup on your school grounds, or at a local park, waterway, or adjacent neighborhood. While learning about various environmental issues, a litter cleanup is a great way to bring the school community together and make a direct impact for wildlife and the local watershed.

Child in water, Shutterstock4. Conduct field investigations.

Through the GLOBE program, a partner of Eco-Schools USA, learn to conduct numerous measurements and have students analyze and synthesize the data to draw conclusions about wildlife migrations and local habitat. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with other students and create visualizations based on data from all over the world.

5. Organize a campaign.

Campaigns create excitement and anticipation, can help improve knowledge retention, and get everyone involved. Single-use plastic straws spell trouble for our environment, so start a OneLessStraw campaign at your school to help students raise awareness and drive change around single-use straws and their ill effects on our waterways and aquatic wildlife.

6. Learn more about the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

On September 25, 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goals has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. Determine how these goals—including Zero Hunger, Climate Action, and Affordable and Clean Energy—can be used to deepen student learning and provide students with a global perspective on environmental issues.

7. Conduct an audit.

Learning About Forests (LEAF) aims to increase knowledge about the key role forests play in sustaining life on our planet through outdoor and classroom learning. The LEAF audit is a fantastic way to introduce students to urban, suburban, and rural forest systems. The LEAF audit process can culminate in a tree planting through the National Wildlife Federation’s Trees for Wildlife program.

8. Plan a garden cleanup day.

Every garden needs TLC throughout the year. Work with the Eco-Action Team to plan a spring and fall garden cleanups. These cleanups should focus on removing weeds and invasive species, adding organic amendments if necessary, and removing dead plants or obstacles for the next growing season. This can also be a time to brainstorm and develop plans to expand the current garden. On your cleanup days be sure to provide tools and lunch or snacks and water, inviting students, families, and community members.

9. Create a collage.

The arts and STEM go hand in hand. Fundamental understanding of a concept drives artistic and scientific creativity. Throughout history, there are examples of how science has used nature to create something new to benefit our society. Work with your art teacher(s) to design a project where students use the natural world to design art. Showcase their work in a display case, on hallway walls, or in the library. Visit Pinterest to discover ideas for getting started.

Grizzly Bear, Jim Peaco10. Adopt an animal.

Visit the National Wildlife Federation’s adoption center to symbolically adopt a wildlife species. Research and study ways to improve the adoptee’s habitat. Find members of the community who work to support local habitat. How could you work together? Identify citizen science projects around the adopted species and have students contribute their data to scientists who are working to improve habitat and population health.

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